Musings from a promise-collector

Worship Postures


Our women’s small group has regrouped for the semester after taking a little winter break. It was so good to be back amongst my girls!

Part of our evening always includes worshiping together. And we felt that God was leading us to learn more about being physically engaged in worship. So I put together a little handout lesson for the group about some of the postures of worship that are in the Bible. Most of us are comfortable with a few of these, but some may be just outside our bubble of comfortably. I challenged them to ask the Lord how He wanted them to worship. Here’s what we learned:

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

The following words are often translated as “worship” in various English translations of the Bible:

  • Hebrew, ‘shaha’ and ‘shahah’: ‘to bow down’, ‘to lie down’, or ‘to be brought low.’
  • Hebrew, ‘hishtahawa’: ‘to prostrate oneself.’
  • Greek, ‘proskuneo’: ‘to prostrate oneself in homage’, ‘to reverence’, and ‘to adore.’

Standing – a sign of giving your full attention to the Lord

  • Exodus 33:10 – Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent.
  • See 1 Kings 8:22-54; 2 Chronicles 20:19; 2 Chronicles 29:25-30; Luke 18:13-14; Luke 19:29-40; Revelation 7:9-10.

Raising Hands – symbolic of asking with outstretched hands with the expectation of receiving what is asked for, or of presenting something to God with the expectation of God accepting what is presented

  • Exodus 9:33 – So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and stretched out his hands to the Lord.
  • See 1 Kings 8:54; 2 Chronicles 6:13-42; Nehemiah 8:6; Psalms 28:2; Psalm 63:4; Psalms 134:2; Psalm 143:5-6; Lamentations 2:19; Luke 24:50; 1 Timothy 2:8.

Kneeling/Bowing – reverence, submitting to the Lord’s leadership and guidance

  • Genesis 18:2-3 – He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.
  • Psalm 95:6 – Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
  • See Genesis 24:25-27; 2 Chronicles 6:13; Psalm 2:9-11; Daniel 6:10; Matthew 2:11; Acts 20:28-38; Acts 21:3-5.

Sitting – receiving from the Lord, resting in His presence, waiting on the Lord, receiving teaching or instruction from the Lord, posture of mourning, showing repentance

  • Acts 2:2 – Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
  • Luke 10: 39 – And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.
  • See Psalm 23; Psalm 137:1; Isaiah 52:2; Jonah 4:5; Matthew 13:1; Ephesians 2:6.

Laying prostrate – total submission and respect to the Lord

  • Genesis 17:3 – Abram fell facedown, and God said to him….
  • Revelation 4:10 – The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever.
  • See Joshua 5:14; 1 Kings 18:39; 2 Chronicles 7:3; Nehemiah 8:6; Revelation 11:16.

Dancing – joyful worship

  • Exodus 15:20 – Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.
  • 2 Samuel 6:14 – And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod.
  • See Psalm 30:11; Psalm 149:3; Psalm 150:4; Jeremiah 31:13.

Waving a banner – warfare before the Lord, statement of position, covering of the Lord, a rallying point

  • Jeremiah 50:2 – Declare among the nations and proclaim, set up a banner and proclaim, conceal it not….
  • See Exodus 17:15; Numbers 2:2; Psalm 20:5; Psalm 60:4; Song of Solomon 2:4.

Clapping – expression of joy

  • Psalm 47:1 – Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
  • See Psalm 98:8; Isaiah 55:12.

Now, I did mention that we really didn’t have room for dancing or banners in our little room, plus I don’t know many people that feel comfortable dancing in front of others. So I encouraged that as a private act of worship before the Lord.

Then as kind of a tongue-in-cheek reference, I gave the girls this chart. Worship is reverent, but it can also be fun because we serve a creative God!

tim_hawkins_worship_signalsThe girls loved the chart. So I shared with them the video routine that it was designed from. You can check it out here:

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