do non catholics put importance on posture

i just read a book called spirit of the liturgy by the pope and in this he talked about the meaning of kneeling and standing and sitting (along with many many other things), as you may know Catholics put an importance on posture during the mass and i know many of my catholic friends say a good posture during prayer is very important.

just wondering do non Catholics put importance on posture during their services or prayer?

Orthodox, yes.
Traditional Lutherans do, yes.
So do Anglicans, at least of the high church variety.
And Pentecostals know when to stand. :wink:

I am a former Assemblies of God pentecostal, and I can say that pentecostals believe very much in posture – although posture is left to personal discretion.

You stand when you worship – sitting would be disrespectful for whatever reason.

You raise your hands when you worship, if you feel comfortbale (though there is a high emphasis to do so). This posture can indicate many things: raising your heart to God, reaching out for God, lifting up your burdens to the Lord, and so on.

Kneeling/bowing. This is rarely – if ever – done in a pentecostal church. This is a pose reserved for those moments when you feel the spirit has led you to do so. It is the most holy and intimate places you can be. Generally, people on their knees have experienced the Holy Spirit in such a way that they are floored by it, or they are in such despair that all they can do is bend down and cry “Abba! Father!”

The only pose dictated is standing during worship. You don’t worship on your fanny! Everything else is left up to your discretion. There are variations as well. For example, you can raise one hand, both hands, place a hand on your heart, close your eyes, leave them open and so on. Each is welcome, and all are seen as a personal expression of worship.

I am actually very grateful for my experience as a pentecostal before becoming catholic. When you mix the “theology” of the poses in with the mass, it gives the mass a real “pop” as it were. You notice how we kneel during the most holy of times - the eucharist. First time I did so as a catholic I was near tears since being on my knees – as a former pentecostal – meant that I should have been so overwhelmed with God that I couldn’t stand, and indeed I was! I think this every time I go to mass now. I have even taken to sitting in the “cry room” or the very back of the church so I can raise my hands or close my eyes during the gloria or other hymns.

Non-Catholics is a very broad category. As noted, Orthodox certainly emphasize posture, and high church Anglicans, but I’m not very familiar with Lutheran practices.

I grew up going to broadly evangelical/non-denominational and Methodist communities. We would usually stand to sing the hymns, and sit for most everything else. No bowing or genuflecting, people would certainly look at you funny if you did that. Kneeling was only done at the altar rail if an altar call was done - “If you feel the Lord tugging on your heart to rededicate yourself this day, come on forward to the altar!” And then you go up and kneel and pray and some pastor or another comes by and prays with you (usually). Sometimes, if we were to make some big decision without going to the altar rail, they’d ask us to put our heads down and close our eyes, and ask those making decisions to stand in place.

I grew up thinking that the term “altar” referred to the altar rail, what in Catholic Churches would be called the communion rail.

Anyway, I know growing up for the most part not much emphasis was put on posture of worship except at “altar calls.”

The LDS do not put importance on posture during Sunday services.
They do encourage kneeling when saying your daily prayers, etc

Can you summarize the meaning of kneeling, standing and sitting in a Catholic mass? I always found the ritual comforting but never knew the purpose…

One stands when declaring something about God: a belief, His glory, giving thanks, etc. One kneels when showing that one is subject to God: when praying, when asking for help, and when in awe as the Eucharist is brought out. One sits when the mere human powers (priests, deacons, etc.) are explaining things: the homily, and other such things. We stand to show respect, kneel to show reverence/servitude, and sit facing forward to show observance/open ears.

Look at the rites of the entrance of a monarch in a kingdom, and you shall see the same mannerisms. We stand for the king’s entrance, bow to receive his feudal blessing (in servitude), and sit to hear his address. God is worshiped as a king because that is how we lived when solemn Christianity developed. A subject in a kingdom can understand the Mass-gestures more readily than a person who has lived in a republic all his life. :slight_smile:

Moslems (Non-Catholics ;)) are very good with posture, in my opinion. They go right to their knees and bow forward so their head touches the ground. This is absolutely the correct and best way to address our Heavenly Father!

Continuing Anglican, (probably high church) , stand to sing, kneel to pray, sit to listen.

Orthodox do very much, yes. We traditionally stand throughout the liturgy since we’ve entered into the kingdom and the presence of Christ, we cross ourselves often, bow deeply and touch the floor (called a metania), and even prostrate face down. In Lent we say the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, and do so many prostrations that it feels like a good workout!

i guess the better question do Protestant faiths put importance on posture.

Honestly, there is in my experience a discouraging trend in some Lutheran circles away from kneeling in the pew (most still kneel to receive the Eucharist, which whether or not they know it, is a form of Eucharistic adoration). While growing up, the saying I always heard was “stand to praise, kneel to pray, sit to listen”. The last time I was at a Catholic mass, I welcomed the presence and use of kneelers.


Friends tend to all sit the same way…feet on the floor…legs about hip apart…hand resting on the knees…head bowed.

When a Friend is led to offer vocal ministry or prayer, that Friend stands and begins speaking…those of us listening my look at him or her as they offer the vocal ministry or keep our heads bowed. If the Friend is male and he is wearing a hat…he removes his hat prior to speaking and returns it to his head after he is done.

Our worship space is to be reserved for worship. Friends are discouraged very very much to arriving late to Meeting. Those who arrive early take their seats and begin Centering themselves in the Light…those who arrive early are not to “visit” with their neighbors unless it’s done outside of the meeting room.

No one is to leave unless the children are dismissed for First Day School or their own Meeting. No one is to disrupt the Meeting…when the one who is assigned the “Care of the Meeting” that First Day deem it is time to end worship, they turn to the Friend next to them…shake hands…then all Friends turn and shake hands with their neighbor and Meeting is closed…announcements are made and the potluck or coffee 'n snacks follow in the Fellowhsip Hall…no one should stay and “visit” with each other in the Meeting Room…it is reserved for prayer and worship on First Day…except when Meeting for Business and Worship takes place once a month after the morning Meeting for Worship.

And kneel or genuflect to the Presence, bow at the mention of the Holy Name, and at other appropriate places, and when the processional crucifix passes, cross themselves at the Elevations, and kneel to receive, at the rail.

Not to try to generalize about Anglicans, of course.


My first post. Be gentle. :smiley:

Currently, and for most of my life, I have attended a Southern Baptist church.

Standing: while singing hymns and the reading of the scripture before the sermon. To me, the standing during the scripture reading is relatively new: it wasn’t done before I went on my big, long searching period.

Sitting: The rest of the time.

Kneeling: Never. When I was younger, people would go to the front and kneel to pray during the altar call. That doesn’t seem to be done anymore. I honestly miss that.

Well, Muslims obviously put importance on posture during prayer. They are supposed to sit upright and kneel with their face to the ground.


Your experience sounds similiar to my upbringing as an American Baptist, although we never had altar calls. We never stood for the Gospel.

My minimal view, of course. :slight_smile:

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