“O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.” (Ezra 6:9)
“If I am guilty, woe to me. Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head, for I am full of shame…” (Job 10:15)
Leviticus 26;13: “I am the Lord your God, … I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.”
John 17:1; “After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:”
Bowing ones head has always been in most cultures significant as an act of reverence and submission. Even my dog lowers his head when I reach down to pet him. Truly as fallen mankind before our creator we bow not only our heads but also our knees. But when I was reading that Jesus lifted his head when he prayed it struck me as significant that Jesus was breaking all our traditions about praying and I had to ask why? My conclusion is that Jesus is the only one truly worthy to lift his head.
So if this is true that Jesus is worthy to lift his head before God then I have one more question, “Does Jesus leave me with my face to the ground?” Colossians 3:1‑4 says; “Since, you have been raised with Christ … when Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” When Jesus identifies himself with us we are worthy before God because of Jesus’ righteousness. Therefore “in Christ” we also lift our heads. As Hebrews puts it, “…we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience…” (10;19‑22).
We sing a song; “Lord you are a shield about me, you’re my glory, you’re the lifter of my head”. I believe that God has always desired to lift man out of shame and guilt and this is fulfilled in Jesus. John says, “For the law was given through Moses; but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (1:17).
It has been a healthy experience for me to lift my head when I pray to remind myself of the acceptance that I have before God in Jesus.