There are five occasions on which Dr. Luke, the beloved physician, refers to people who kneeled. Viewed in their context, these occasions have many lessons for us as the people of God.
The Lord Kneeling in the Garden Luke 22:41
When our blessed Lord entered the garden of Gethsemane, He knew what lay before Him (John 18:4). Luke tells us in very graphic language of the sorrows of our Lord in the garden. The word, “agony” is used to describe His experience as He sweat as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. The inspired writer to the Hebrews refers to this solemn incident: “Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard for His godly fear.” (Heb 5:7 Newberry)
Stephen Kneeling at Scene of Execution. Acts 7:60
In this moving chapter (Acts 7) there is a man preaching his last message. The message begins with “The God of glory” (verse 2) and closes with “The glory of God” (verse 55). In a masterly way Stephen traces the history of the nation of Israel and sums up the message powerfully with the words, “Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye”. (verse 51). These words had a strong effect on his enraged audience as indicated in the words of verse 54: “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.” Soon the faithful preacher was stoned to death, but before he departed this life, he kneeled and prayed for those who stoned him. In his closing prayer, we can see that he had drunk deeply of the spirit of his Master (Luke 23:34).
Peter Kneeling in the Death Chamber. Acts 9:40
There is always much grief and sense of loss when a believer of good caliber departs this life. In the case of Stephen to which we referred, “Devout men carried him to his burial, and made great lamentation over him” (Acts 8:2). It was the same with those who mourned the loss of Dorcas, and showed tokens of her labors after she died. Peter was requested to make the journey from Lydda to Joppa. When he arrived he put all the mourners out and kneeled to pray. The Lord graciously intervened, and Dorcas was restored to life. Peter presented her to the saints and widows and great their joy must have been. That reunion is a little picture of what will happen when we meet with loved ones gone before when “we all gather Home in the morning.”
Paul Kneeling to Pray After an Elders’ Meeting. Acts 20:36
Paul’s meeting with the elders from the assembly at Ephesus has many important lessons for us. Here is a man speaking from his heart to the heart of his hearers. After bringing many important truths before them he sums up his discourse beautifully with the words of verse 32, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace.” After referring to his godly example among them he knelt to pray with them all. Thinking they would see his face nor more, there was much sorrow and many tears.
Paul Kneeling at a Farewell Meeting. Acts 21:5
When Paul arrived at Tyre, he sought out disciples and spent 7 days with them before he went on his journey again. We see men, women and children going with him to the shore. Here he kneeled to pray. After this they said their farewells. Paul and his friends went to their ship and the rest went back to their homes, but no doubt that farewell meeting would be in their memory for a long time.