Da’wah to Christians: The Biblical concept of Prayer and Worship
by James Randall
According to the Bible, as mentioned in numerous passages, the method of prayer between the prophets has remained nearly unaltered and identical, from the time of Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him), then known as Abram, leading to final Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). During street missions I have mentioned this often to Christians during our dialogues, but they refute this by asking, why didn’t I see the worshippers kneeling and prostrating during Sunday prayer, during my time as a Christian? I have yet to find a reason for this, as have they, but my reply is always that I am baffled why they don’t worship as their Messiah did equally as much as I am with the fact they continue to worship him as a man-god instead.
Getting back to the point, the Bible refers to this common method of prayer through kneeling and lowering one’s face to the ground in humility, or “prostration”, beginning from Abraham (pbuh):
“And Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.” Genesis 17:3.
It is continued through the legacy of Moses and his brother Aaron, who both in several occasions during the narration of the Torah, pray with their faces to the ground in submission before their Lord:
Numbers 14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
Numbers 20:6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tent of meeting, and fell upon their faces; and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.
Leviticus 9:24 And there came forth fire from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt-offering and the fat; and when all the people saw it, they shouted, and fell on their faces.
The Prophet Joshua (Peace Be Upon Him):
Joshua 5:14 And he said: ‘Nay, but I am captain of the host of the LORD; I am now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said unto him: ‘What saith my lord unto his servant?’
Joshua 7:6 And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust upon their heads.
The Prophet David (Peace Be Upon Him):
1 Chronicles 21:16 And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD standing between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces.
The Prophet Ezekiel (P.B.U.H.):
Ezekiel 1:28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.
Ezekiel 3:23 And I rise and go forth unto the valley, and lo, there the honour of Jehovah is standing as the honour that I had seen by the river Chebar, and I fall on my face.
Ezekiel 44:4 And he bringeth me in the way of the north gate unto the front of the house, and I look, and lo, filled hath the honour of Jehovah the house of Jehovah, and I fall on my face.
Finally, the Prophet Jesus (P.B.U.H.) also prayed in such a manner, also referenced in the Scripture in numerous places.
Matthew 26:39 “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will,, but as thou wilt.” (also Mark 14:35)
Luke 22:41 “He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed.”
On a similar note, when I discuss the Prophethood of Jesus and the lack of proof and self-witness of his divinity, Christians will tell me that his followers ‘worshipped’ him after his so-called Resurrection. However, after the reading the Bible in its entirety it becomes obvious that the translations use the phrases “fell”, “kneeled” or “prostrated before” alternatively and interchangeably with the word “worship”. So while the King James Version will say his followers worshipped Jesus, the Revised Standard Version will narrate that they kneeled before him as his disciples. An obvious evidence of this error of interpretation is found in the Book of Acts, when Peter, the most well known disciple, entered the home of Cornelius, a devout early Christian, and his reaction was one of reverence and submission. Several translations narrate:
Acts 10:25 “When Peter entered, Cornelius fell at his feet and worshipped him.”
I ask the Christians, if we were to accept the Bible in its entirety as the word of God, are we to bow and worship Simon Peter, son of Jonah, as a god, simply because the same translation narrates the disciples worshipped Jesus in the same way?