Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Revolutionary Prayer & Dirty Carpet

"Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted."
~ Matthew 23:12, NASB ~

Prayer.  Is there anyone who thinks they are an expert at it?  Do you know of a single person who prays that doesn't think they could become better at praying?  I know that I personally never shake the feeling of needing to grow deeper in my prayer life, my communication with God.

Prayer is, according to Unger's Bible Dictionary*, "...the expression of man's dependence upon God for all things...  It is a means of grace that has large value, for it affords the privilege of close communion with God, especially when one is alone with Him in its supplications.  Although on the one hand there arises a deep sense of need, helplessness, and unworthiness, there also comes an assurance of the divine fullness and love, which enlarges our petitions and brings confidence of answers to our prayers."

In the "New Barb Translation" (as I often jokingly put it), prayer is the opportunity for intimate community with the divine, available by sharing the deepest thoughts of our hearts with our Maker.

That intimate community grew for me when I took one significant measure.  It all began when my women's Bible study was going through the Book of 1 Peter.  As our instructor, Margo, pulled apart Chapter 4  in her expository teaching, we hung out for awhile on verse 7, "The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray." (1 Peter 4:7, NIV)  She applied it to our living in these times by admonishing us to 1. Live with commitment; 2. Live with wisdom; and 3. Live applying yourself to serious prayer.  For the next 2 weeks, she then went on to detail 10 serious prayers we should be praying.  

What happened after that first week of study was life-changing.  In my early morning quiet time, before the rest of the household awoke and put demands on me, I felt compelled to get face down on my dirty, lived-on carpet and speak my heart to God.  I fell to my knees, slid my hands forward on the worn fibers, and lay my forehead on my folded arms.

At first, my kids thought I was either dead or tremendously upset about something, when they happened to pass through the room while I was literally "on my face" in prayer.  

That was a good thing!  Because they perceived me as being dissolved to tears, they quietly tiptoed through the room rather than launching into their usual morning, "Mom! Mom! Mom!  I need...  Did you...?  Guess what...?".  I got the opportunity to get on solid footing with God before the demands of the day began firing at me.

My mind also tended to wander less when I assumed this position in prayer.  I found that every distraction that stood between the Lord and I was removed when I was face down at His feet.  No more did my mind suddenly begin rabbit trailing over to what was on the day's "To Do" list or that one thing I had better not forget to do.  There was only me and my Savior, in complete unity of heart and mind.

The thing that impressed me as most significant, though, was that I felt like I was in the proper position when I prayed this way.  What I mean is that when I was on my face, on my dirty carpet, I was completely humbled in the presence of our Awesome God.  A common, average, imperfect, sinner like me coming before an unfathomably loving Holy Yahweh has the fullness of the power of prayer when she is on her face.

This became revolutionary prayer for me.  I made it a habit to pray this way from that time forward.  It is not that getting face down on my worn living room rug significantly moved the hand of God, but that my intimacy with Him grew, and my reassurance of His unshakable faithfulness became my undeniable reality.  It changed me.  And isn't that we seek in prayer?  To align ourselves with the will, the power and the plans of God?

The idea of crawling onto your floor to lay prostrate in prayer may sound like a crazy idea to you.  It may not even be something you feel inspired to do.  But there is no doubt what this position of prayer has done in my life over the past couple of years.  I encourage you to try some "face time" if you are looking to take your prayer life to a whole other level.  Who knows...  It might just draw you closer to the heart of God.

PRAY:  Father, we join the faithful of old and the angels around Your throne in humbling our hearts before You.  Thank You that You hear our prayers and allow us to come into loving communion with You.

~ Barb Dittrich

*Unger, Merrill F., R. K. Harrison, Howard F. Vos and Cyril J. Barber (Jun 1, 2009), The New Unger's Bible Dictionary, Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL, pp 1025-1026
 

Photo Image Courtesy of 123RF

2 comments:

  1. Loved the part where you said your kids left you alone because they thought you were really upset or dead! You crack me up and gotta get my face to the floor in prayer more!

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  2. Having my kids think I was in such a precarious state as to be avoided was an extra bonus of learning to pray this way. :-) Glad I could bring a smile to your day, Deb!

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