What an Experience! Getting Facedown
I was recently in a Bible Study by Beth Moore on the Psalms of Ascent (120-134). At the outset, we were given an exercise. When we came to our time of study we were to get down, prone, with our face to the floor. The main idea of ascent is that we are on a journey UP so to begin we would need to get DOWN. I Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves therefore under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time” (NIV). As Beth Moore said, “In God’s economy, the way up is down” (Stepping Up, p.12).
The first time I tried this, I found it affected me much more than I expected it to. Aside from the part where the carpet itched my nose and I kept thinking “Allergy Alert!” the thoughts that came to me from the Lord were profound. I felt that everything in the world around me, every concern, and every control issue over my family was finally, totally in His hands. The vision was like those time-enhanced images of clouds speeding by overhead. I saw the activities of daily life speeding by above me--going on without me--accomplished and carried out by God. This was so freeing.
So many times in my life since my three children have been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I have felt that “If I don’t do it, it just won’t get done.” In even harder times that complaint coming out of my mouth sounded like “Why does it always have to be me that remembers to bring the extra candy for when they are low or the pack of testing strips and supplies, etc.? Do I have to do everything?” But the beauty of getting prone before God was that I could see how He was bearing the burden. I was not “having to do everything” for I was on the ground, on my face. What could I do? He must do all. Yes.
Then I took it a step further and realized that it is always true that God carries out His plans to fruition. Even when I am on my feet and participating in my daily life, I can remember as I bow before Him in submission everything will be accomplished as He desires. Psalm 123 talks about lifting our eyes to our master and it is in anticipation of His mercy, approval, and action. He will lift us up.
The second time I approached the act it was more the aspect of exercise that came to me. Like Dallas Willard (Spirit of the Disciplines) and others before me I have always agreed that spiritual discipline is just like the discipline of sports training. You drill and practice so that when you’re in the “Big Game” everything comes to you like second nature, with muscle memory, you almost don’t even have to think and your body does the work. So also when we pray, kneel, study and memorize Scripture it becomes second nature so that in life when we are called upon to use those spiritual muscles we will be ready.
I found the same principle in effect here with bowing down and humbling myself. As I grew more comfortable with getting on my face, I found that it was more natural as well for me to be submissive to the Lord and others in my daily life. Here in I Peter 5:5 it says to “clothe yourselves in humility one with another.” (NIV) I thought, “It will not be so hard to have humility in this or that situation, I have already been on my face!”
The third picture that bowing down brought to mind was the Spiritual warfare that goes on above us as we are facedown. It is always there, always raging, but as I got down I saw it more clearly. By getting down on my face I am affirming my faith that God will prevail and I am inviting Him to do so. Verse 8 of this passage says "...the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour..." Our hidden enemy cannot use us against ourselves when we are choosing to submit to what God will do. We are getting ourselves out of the way and letting God vanquish our foe. When we lay down in submission to God we deny the devil another chance at a foothold in our lives. It is far from passive. It is a choice and when we make it we can see how powerful a move it is. “The way up is down!” Indeed.
Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.
Moore, Beth. Stepping Up,
LifeWay Press, 2008 Nashville TN
Willard, Dallas. The Spirit of the Disciplines,
, Harper Collins, 1988. San Francisco, CA