Ellen G. White Writings

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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598], Page 59

MR No. 1510—The Proper Attitude in Prayer

(Portions of this manuscript have appeared in the SDA Bible Commentary, vols. 1 and 3, and Selected Messages, book 2.)

I have received letters questioning me in regard to the proper attitude to be taken by a person offering prayer to the Sovereign of the universe. Where have our brethren obtained the idea that they should stand upon their feet when praying to God? One who has been educated for about five years in Battle Creek was asked to lead in prayer before Sister White should speak to the people. But as I beheld him standing upright upon his feet while his lips were about to open in prayer to God, my soul was stirred within me to give him an open rebuke. Calling him by name, I said, “Get down upon your knees.” This is the proper position always. [Luke 22:41; Acts 9:40; 7:59, 60; 20:36; 21:5; Ezra 9:5, 6; Psalm 95:6; Ephesians 3:14, quoted.] And this whole chapter will, if the heart is receptive, be as precious a lesson as we can learn.

To bow down when in prayer to God is the proper attitude to occupy. This act of worship was required of the three Hebrew captives in Babylon. At the dedication of the golden image, representing the king of Babylon, and which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up, a herald cried aloud, “To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up” [Daniel 3:4-7].

This act of bowing the knees to the great image was understood to be an act of worship. But such an act was homage to be rendered to God alone—the Sovereign of the world, the Ruler of the universe; and these three Hebrews refused to give such honor to any idol even though composed of pure gold. In doing so, they would, to all intents and purposes, be bowing to the king of Babylon. Refusing to do as the king had commanded, they suffered the penalty, and were cast into the burning fiery

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