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JON - Often I have wondered if God hears prayers given in the night of pleading and help through the mind. I know he knows our hearts, is there scriptures that say he can hear a man's cries for help in his mind? Many times these past couple of years I find myself late at night pleading and talking with the Lord. But find a forgetfullness or some sort of opposition that keeps me from the same pleading at my knees in the morning or night. Why. Would the Lord hold back an answer, do you think, because of the lack of showing reverence by kneeling. My prayers of the mind and very deep and very articulate, while those offered on the knees seem hollow, unworthy. What force is in play.
JOEL - There are many scriptures that mention praying to or worshipping God while on bended knee. The Prophet Daniel was a good example of this:
"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did foretime." (Dan. 6: 10)
And the Nephites:
"And the twelve did teach the multitude; and behold, they did cause that the multitude should kneel down upon the face of the earth, and should pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus." (3 Nep 19:6, 16, See also 3 Nephi 17:13-14, Enos 1:4)
And even Christ Himself:
"And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed," (Luke 22: 41)
Such a posture shows humility, submission, reverence, and meekness. Elder Bruce R. McConkie has explained that "our Father is glorified and exalted; he is an omnipotent being. We are as the dust of the earth in comparison, and yet we are his children with access, through prayer, to his presence. . . . Amost by instinct, therefore, we do such things as bow our heads and close our eyes; fold our arms, or kneel, or fall on our faces" (McConkie, Bruce R. "Why the Lord Ordained Prayer." Ensign (Jan 1976) 6:7-12)
In ancient times, when one knelt before a king or conqueror, he placed himself not only at the ruler's disposal, but also at his mercy, for in a kneeling position the petitioner was physically vulnerable and unable to defend himself. When we kneel before God, then, we acknowledge both his greatness and our own helplessness and dependency on him for all we are and all we possess.
However, while praying on bended knee is prefered, it is not a requirement in order for God to hear and answer our prayers. I would guess that most of my prayers are not given while kneeling, including those I say (sometimes in a loud voice) while driving on the California freeways :-)
Consider the prayers Jesus gave to his Father while hanging on the cross; not on bended knee:
"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23: 34, 46)
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34)
God does indeed know our thoughts and hears the prayers we give in our minds. The scriptures tell us:
"there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart." (D&C 6:16)
In a revelation given to Martin Harris God told him:
"And again, I command thee that thou shalt pray vocally as well as in thy heart; yea, before the world as well as in secret, in public as well as in private.(D&C 19:28)
"Yea, and he looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning." (Alma 18:32)
"And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee;" (1 Chr 28:9)
"Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." (Matt 6:8)
Even though God knows what we need before we ask Him, He still wants us to humble ourselves and in faith voice our needs to Him through prayer. We all have different personalities and express reverence and humility in different ways. I would say that whatever position puts your heart, mind and sould in a state of humility and submission to God is the way to go when saying your prayers. Don't ever think that God is withholding answers to prayers simply because of the position your body is in while praying; it's all a matter of whats in your heart and soul that makes the difference and according to what He knows is best for you. I don't know what forces are at play that makes you feel hollow or unworthy on your knees. But if you consider the examples given in the information and scriptures about the act of kneeling and imagine in your mind Jesus Himself kneeling in anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, while giving the most important prayer in the history of the earth; you might be more inclined to follow His example and feel His spirit more as you pray on bended knee.