Flat On My Face
Are you sensing a growing burden to pray and intercede for your nation these days? Maybe you’ve been praying faithfully for years, but the intensity is growing? Looking at the world situation, it’s no wonder God is calling us to deeper prayer. The need is clearly severe, and serious circumstances call for a serious response.
Lately, my sense has been that I need regularly to be flat on my face before the Lord, a posture Derek Prince frequently recommended (and assumed himself) in his prayer life. It is the posture in prayer of an intercessor, and if ever there were a time for falling on our faces in prayer, it is now.
Examples from Scripture
As you will see clearly from this letter, Derek was not the only one to exemplify being flat on his face before the Lord. He took his cue from many in the Bible who took that position of absolute humility and intercession.
Just to name a few, Daniel took that posture in the presence of the angel Gabriel (Daniel 8:17) when he was receiving revelation about the future of Israel. Abigail, when trying to expunge the offense her husband had committed against David, rushed to meet him, dismounted quickly from the donkey she was riding, and “…fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground” (1 Samuel 25:23). Verse 24, however, is even more telling of Abigail’s attitude and motivation: “So she fell at his [David’s] feet and said: ‘On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be!’” What an act of humility and intercession! There are probably a number of other Old Testament examples of people in desperate situations taking this position of humility, but let’s turn now to the New Testament.
In the last book of the New Testament, we see John the Revelator falling on his face numerous times as he was confronted with the heavenly vision that overpowered him. But as always, our greatest example is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In His time of intense agony prior to His crucifixion, the Gospels describe His time in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Matthew and Mark, however, carry these descriptions of the intensity of Jesus’ prayer. Matthew 26:39 (NKJV) says: “He [Jesus] went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed….” Mark 14:35 (NKJV) says: “He [Jesus] went a little farther and fell on the ground, and prayed….”
Are you sensing that the Lord Jesus may be calling you to follow His same example of intensity in prayer? I certainly am. And I know for certain that Derek would encourage all of us in that direction at this critical time of history.
Encouragement from Derek’s Teaching
I can recall many times hearing Derek refer to his practice of praying on his face before the Lord, certainly not in a boastful way, but just as a practical matter of encouragement. He probably had little idea how many people like me he had influenced in that direction. As for me, Derek’s example is one I am striving to follow. How about you? Do you have that same desire for increasing intensity, humility and intercession that is moving you to put your face on the floor?
If that is working in you right now, let’s take some further encouragement from a number of segments of teaching by Derek that speak about the need for taking this posture in prayer.
From “When You Fast”:
I don’t know whether you know the following prayer by John Bunyan. (This has been with me for years.)
He that is down need fear no fall. He that is low no pride.
He that is humble ever shall have God to be his guide.
See, when you’re on the floor, you’re safe. There’s no lower you can go. Very rarely do I minister in a large public gathering like this without first taking my place on the floor on my face before God. And I can tell you, before these meetings Ruth and I were there for quite a long while. That’s where I feel really safe is on the floor….
From “The True Heart of Worship”:
There is also one other posture spoken of many times in Scripture: falling on our faces before the Lord. I question whether any man who has never been on his face before God has ever been very close to God.
You would be hard pressed to find any of the really key men of the Bible who had not been on their faces before God. For myself, I practice it not as a matter of legalism or ritual, but from time to time when I feel I need security. The most secure place I know is on my face before God.
John Bunyan said, “He that is down need fear no fall.” When you are on the floor, there is no lower you can go.
From “A Vision of Holiness”:
I’ve examined both in the Old Testament and in the New, every major word for worship. And they all describe a posture of the body….
And finally — this isn’t the end of the list, but it’s where we’ll stop — the Hebrew word for worship means prostrating yourselves on your face on the ground. Wherever Ruth and I go to minister, and that includes this particular conference, before I come out in public, we spend time on our face on the floor.
We did it the day before this conference opened. We said, “Here we are, Lord. We’ve got nothing to give except what You give. We have no strength. We have no power. We belong on the floor and we won’t get up until we’ve made that clear to You. We’re depending on You.”
So that’s worship according to the Bible, not necessarily according to the church. You know that famous hymn, “All hail the power of Jesus’ name, let angels prostrate fall.” What are they doing? Worshiping. Respectable church members will sing this song with gusto, yet it wouldn’t enter their heads to fall prostrate. That’s good enough for angels, not for us respectable church members. Worship is the response to God’s holiness. It’s the response to God’s presence.
From “The Decision Is Yours”:
How often I myself like to take that posture before God. Maybe I’m going to a meeting that I’m not sure just how it will go. I like to cast myself on my face before God and say, “God, here I am. I’m on the floor. I don’t have the answers. I’m totally dependent on You. If You don’t come to my help, the whole thing is going to be a failure.” I feel so safe when I’ve made that decision, when I’ve taken that place.
From “Down Is Up”:
Humility ultimately must come through a decision of our will. And that decision has to be worked out in action, not in words, not in emotions…. Where it says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord,” this is a matter of personal relationship with the Lord. But I find that one of the best things I ever do is get on the floor before the Lord and lie there on my face. And I say to the Lord, “Lord, I want You to know that I know that this is where I belong.” And you wait there until you feel a release in your spirit from the Lord.
From “Intervening by Prayer in National Affairs”:
God says the first thing you have to do is humble yourself. This is not an emotion; it is a decision.
From time to time I explicitly decide to humble myself. I say, “God, I humble myself before You now. I am dust and ashes, I came from the dust, I’m going to the dust.” And if opportunity provides I will cast myself down on my face on the ground or the floor and lie there before God and say, “That’s where I belong.” You know what? It does me a lot of good. And I need to do it at least once a month, because otherwise I begin to forget what I am and where I came from.
Yielding to the Potter
Are you convinced? Why don’t we just make a commitment to the Lord that we will follow the example that Derek has just laid out for us?
Dear Lord, I pledge today that I will spend time on my face before You as a way of humbling myself before You and interceding for my nation. With my face on the carpet, I will cry out to You on behalf of my family, my brothers and sisters in Christ, myself and my nation.
I make this commitment to You in the name of Jesus. Amen.
What Will Result?
We have no idea what may be set in motion as we take this step toward the Lord. It may spark revival and renewal far beyond what we might ever imagine.
As always, we want to partner with you in this step that we are taking together. One life-changing resource that we want to offer is a dynamic message by Derek entitled “God’s Heart for America.” It will add fuel to the fire you have already kindled with the step you have taken today.
As we end this letter, we want to thank you for your willingness to walk win partnership with us in the work the Lord is doing in all of our lives. You have stood with us in your prayers and financial support, and we want you to know that we are standing with you in prayer and encouragement as you go deeper in your relationship with the Lord.
What we have talked about in this letter is really just a warm-up. For one day, we will all be united before Him, with all the saints in glory, falling again on our faces as we declare His Lordship and majesty.
In preparation for that marvelous time, let’s start taking in the here and now to fall on our faces before Him!