Scripture: Exodus 33:7-11
"...The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. "
How amazing is it that God is willing to speak to his people face to face? This fact about Moses' prayer life is so notable that it is referenced three other times in Scripture (Numbers 12:8; Deut 5:4; Deut 34:10). Imagine for a moment how incredible it would be to enter into the presence of the Lord, to look into his eyes, and talk, and listen. We are told that what we say represents only a fraction of the meaning. Far more is communicated non-verbally. In looking at the responsibility that Moses faced - leading a rebellious mob through the desert for 40 years, I now understand how valuable this time must have been for him. He not only heard God speak, but he watched his face and his motions for non-verbal clues that others would have missed. I believe that he understood the heart of God because of his face to face communication and his relationship to God as his friend.
Pānı̂m, translated "face" is also the most common word in the OT for “presence.” In Exodus 33:14-15 it is used in this way and could be translated, "My face (or presence) will go with you, and I will give you rest." Moses replies, "If your face (presence) doesn't go with us, do not send us up from here." Obviously, "presence" is a more natural and correct translation, but it does shed light on this play on words from the same chapter. Because Moses spent time face to face with God, the presence of God was with the people.
If I am to follow God and lead his people I must learn to pray "face to face" with God. In a face to face conversation there is no room to hide. There is no place for shallow conversations about trivialities. But at the same time, I do not need to be concerned about inadequacy or measuring up. I am complete in Christ Jesus, who has called me his friend (John 15:15). Therefore, I can enter boldly into his presence (a translation of the Hebrew word "face").
Today, Lord, I come into your presence face to face to talk with you as a friend. This is not something that I take lightly. Indeed, I have no right or authority to address you that way. But I come at your invitation through Christ, my Savior. Meet me today and walk through this day wtih me. Laugh with me when we see things that seem humorous to us. Cry with me over the nation of Japan and the tragic loss of life and livelihood. Today, Lord, I am not content to simply hear your words. I want to see your face and to sense your love, your joy, your tears, and your grace. Speak tenderly to me (Isa. 40:2) and remind me again of the glories of my salvation. I choose this day to walk with you as a man and his friend. I ask this in the name of Jesus, my friend. Amen.