Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge (Proverbs 22:17).
Bow down is a word used many times in the Old Testament. It is translated incline in the sense of asking God to hear prayer: Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry (Psalm 88:2). God hearing our prayer can be illustrated by other uses of this word. For example, His outstretched arm (Deuteronomy 26:8) or His mercy that extends to us (Ezra 9:9). It is God reaching to man.
Bowing down can be used in the sense of a command to listen and obey: Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live (Isaiah 55:3). Listening to God is an intense exercise. This is illustrated well in the story of Samson as he stood between the pillars in the great Dagon-worship building. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed [or inclined] himself with all his might; and the house fell . . . (Judges 16:29,30).
Whether it is God listening to our prayers or our attempting to obey His commands, there is a distance that must be crossed. There is only One who has bridged that gap, allowing man to communicate with and obey his Creator. God hears our prayers because He heard the cry of His only begotten Son: He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: . . . He delivered me, because He delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness (Psalm 18:16,17,19,20).
That is why we bow down, whether to pray or to obey . . . in Jesus name. CJH