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The Right Posture

Published Date: March 25, 2014

by J. Ellsworth Kalas


On a February day in 1996 I treated some black ice without due respect and broke the ball in my right hip.  An excellent orthopedic surgeon treated me very well indeed.  I walk, though not as fast as I used to.  I can‘t play tennis but I couldn’t before the surgery, either, so that was no loss.

The major change came in my prayer life.  For many years I had celebrated my morning devotional time either on my knees or sitting on the floor.  With the new hip I discovered that if I knelt it had better be at a place where I could brace my body to rise again.  Not many chairs served that purpose, so I began sitting in a chair for my time of prayer, reading, and listening.

Now there’s nothing wrong about sitting down to pray.  Praying can be authentic whether one is sitting, kneeling, standing, bowing, or prostrate on the floor.  They’re all scriptural, I’ve tried them all, and I’m convinced that God doesn’t judge our prayers on the basis of our posture.

But a few years ago I concluded that my posture might make a difference to me, even if not to God.  I had two new chairs in my home study, gifts from the seminary’s trustees in appreciation of my work in an administrative position for the seminary.  One was a desk chair, where I spend a good deal of time.  The other was a lovely guest and reading chair.  I discovered that if I knelt at it, it would support me as I rose to my feet.

Since then I’ve begun my morning time with God each day kneeling at this chair.  I repeat, I don’t think the posture matters to God, but it matters to me.  I need, at the beginning of each day, to get on my knees, put my face in my hands or on the seat of the chair, and remind myself that God is God, and I am not.  Kneeling at this chair, I get myself off my hands.  Being rid of myself is a great way to start the day.  The apostle said that we should “lay aside every weight” in order to run God’s race, and the key weight, of course, is self.  Obviously, one act in the morning doesn’t guarantee the day, but it’s the right way to begin.

Posture is important in life.  It’s better if possible to walk erectly than with rounded shoulders, and better to sit up in a chair than to slouch.  And for me, the posture with which I start the day sets the course for the day.  So I consider it a primary achievement when I kneel at that chair for a few moments before moving to another chair to read and listen.  Primary, because it is my first position of the new day, and primary because it is prime, most important.  If I do this rightly, the day is off to a right start.  Not just a good start, but a right one.  I’ve done obeisance to my King, and I’m ready now by His grace to serve Him another day.  I have established my posture for the day, and it makes a difference.

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