Monday, March 23, 2015

SPEAK LIFE - LESSON 4: "READY, SET...FALL ON YOUR FACE!"

And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed. Matthew 26:39a

In prayer and pleading, the only practical position is prostrate before the Pillar
(Image courtesy Pinterest)
of Righteousness, the Protector of Humanity and Provider of everything- Abba Father in Heaven. The perfect example of the supreme illustration of submission and obedience to God was God Himself - in the form of the Son, Jesus! Before we got to the point of Matthew 26:39a where the pre-crucified Savior fell on His Magnificent Face, He was already in deep agony. The discourse in the Garden of Gethsemane was full of the pain and burden of what was about to transpire.


Coming off the High Priest of Heaven's Amazingly Unique prayer in John 17, where the Messiah prayed for both His current disciples and those to follow until the end of time, we see a different type of agonizing prayer. The weight of all sin for all time on the shoulders of the God-man had started to take a toll - one which He could bear, yet one which caused Him no end of suffering. The magnitude of that same sin was incredible and as accomplished and trained as His disciples were, we see here in Matthew 26:39 that He went "a little beyond them". This little phrase means a lot. In the original text it reads "proerchomai" or "gone before, advanced, gone ahead of, preceded" and not just in the physical sense that He physically went ahead of the disciples after the Passover dinner (Seder) in the Upper Room, but now as the Ultimate Sacrifice - the Messiah was going ahead of us to take the punishment for us which we deserved.

In a metaphorical sense, the weight of this threw Him to His Face before Holy God - to pray! We can learn from this, as WE go ahead of our families, loved ones and others and intercede. Intercessors and "prayer warriors" are not just few and far between but are only encouraged by church leadership when something has gone wrong, when "so-and-so" is having surgery or "this, that or the other is about to happen for Missy's daughter and she needs prayer" or "Frank's son is about to be deployed for the 6th time by the Army with hardly any time to spend with his now-estranged wife" etc....etc....

FALL ON YOUR FACE
Regardless, we press on. We take the initiative like Jesus. We take the burden of their prayer requests and "pray without ceasing". Who cares if our churches refuse to have prayer services - even once a quarter...once a year - you and go ahead of them and fall flat physically or in essence before the Holiness and Majesty of God. Truthfully, we have no business being in His Presence. The word in this verse "fell" (pipto in Greek) literally means fall under condemnation. When we pray submitted, assuming the proverbial positional prayer as Jesus did here, we acknowledge our sin before Him and accept His Grace before moving on to intercede in prayer. 

Then, the next word "face" has another literal meaning of its own. Again we go to the original textus receptus and see that the Holy Spirit used the original (and pregnant with meaning) "prosópon". Sure, Jesus fell on His literal Face and we should to when we pray, but it also means you and I "fall in the Presence of God" when used in Revelation 22:4  - that SAME word! When approaching God in the manner described above, we are immediately ushered into His Presence so our prayers and supplications can be heard and ministered to!

Basically, it comes down to this - if we wish to have our prayers answered and in real short order, we come to the same realization which George Muller did about the Will and Purposes of God. Muller knew and said that 90% of knowing God's Will, in any circumstance, is to have NO will of our own. This is the essence of falling prostrate and flat on our faces before Him. The great men of the Faith knew this.


D.L. Moody said "The world has yet to see what God can do with one man wholly dedicated to Him. By the grace of God, I will be that man." (James McConkey, The Surrendered Life, (Pittsburgh, PA: Silver Publishing, 1923)
Andrew Murray said "Trust in Jesus....He will guide you; He will teach you; He will work in you; He will keep you; He will be everything to you. What a blessed rest and freedom from responsibility and from care, because it is all in the hands of Jesus! (Andrew Murray, The Master’s Indwelling (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming Revell, 1896).
F.B. Meyer said "As soon as we come to the point of giving ourselves to God, we are almost certain to become aware of the presence of one thing, if not of more, out of harmony with His will; and while we feel able to surrender ourselves in all other points, here we exercise reserve. Every room and cupboard in the house, with the exception of this, is thrown open to the new occupant". (F B Meyer, Secret of Guidance, (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1896).


There it is, All of the above quotes are amazing and true, but F.B. Meyer hit on what happens when we are fully surrendered to God in prayer. Falling flat on our face is more than just this, but it is being in His Presence knowing and/or being aware of the full potential of ALL the resources of Heaven being open and available to us. The thing is - our Heavenly Father DOES want to make all of this available to us, all it takes is a surrendered heart. 


Therefore, "ready, set...fall on your face" (and mine) because we must be about our Father's business, to the Glory of His Name, and the blessings/benefit of others. Amen.  
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