Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Kneeling, Standing and other gestures

Shall We Sit, Kneel, or Stand to Pray?

Sitting Prayer    Kneeling PrayerStanding Prayer



Do what is comfortable and meaningful to you and allow others the freedom to do the same.

As a general rule, we stand to sing, sit to listen and kneel to pray.  Throughout the service, there are prayers. Some people stand, some people sit and some people kneel. All are acceptable.

You may also notice that some people bow and some kneel before entering the pews, while others do not. This is called “reverencing the altar” and people have different ways of doing it. Just do what you feel is comfortable, none of these gestures of worship is expected or required.

Another personal worship practice that you will see is called “making the sign of the cross”. This practice is done by touching the forehead, chest, left shoulder and right shoulder to form the sign of the cross. Again, this is a personal choice and is not expected or required.