Why Do People Sometimes Collapse in the Presence of God?
And when I [John] saw him [Christ], I fell at his feet as dead….
— Revelation 1:17
Over my years of serving God, I have noticed that often when people have encounters with God, they physically fall. Sometimes they fall forward, and at other times they fall backward. Still at other times, they simply collapse onto the ground. I have seen this in many meetings — and I experienced it as a young man. I can tell you, the experience was real.
My experience occurred the first time I ventured out from my Baptist church and attended a Pentecostal type of service. Just prior to that, I had been released from the hospital, where I had been diagnosed with a kidney condition — one that I was born with — that was very serious. It was so serious that to try to correct it required surgery that was considered life-threatening. When the man praying for the sick in this Pentecostal meeting invited the sick to come forward, I went to the front to be prayed for, not having any idea what would happen.
When the minister laid his finger on my forehead, I felt the power of God come on me. My legs collapsed out from under me, and I crumpled to the floor. I could feel the power of God radiating from one end of my body to the other end.
When I finally stood to my feet, I had been completely healed of the condition. That healing was later verified by my physician — and in the decades since that event occurred, I have never had a reoccurrence of that medical condition. I was supernaturally and permanently healed by the power of the Holy Spirit when I fell to the floor.
The Old and New Testaments tell of those who fell to the ground when they encountered the strong presence of God.
- Genesis 17:3 records that Abram collapsed when God spoke to him.
- Joshua 5:14,15 tells us that Joshua collapsed when he experienced the presence of the Lord.
- Ezekiel 1:28 and 3:23 say that Ezekiel collapsed when the glory of the Lord appeared to him.
- Daniel 8:17 and 10:15 state that Daniel collapsed on the ground when he encountered the glory of God.
- Matthew 17:6 records that when God’s glory was manifested to Peter, James, and John, all three of these men collapsed to the ground.
- Acts 9:4 and 26:14 reveal that Paul collapsed to the earth when he saw Christ on the road to Damascus.
- Revelation 1:17 tells that the apostle John collapsed at the feet of Jesus at the beginning of his vision on the island of Patmos.
Let’s look at John’s experience on the island of Patmos. Revelation 1:17 says, “And when I [John] saw him [Christ], I fell at his feet as dead….” The word “fell” is from the Greek word pipto, which means to fall from an
upright position. It is used occasionally to describe those who fall in battle — which, of course, could mean a falling forward or backward or a crumpling to the ground. In John’s case, he fell at Jesus’ feet.
Revelation 1:17 says that John fell as one “dead.” The word “dead” is the Greek word nekros, which is the word for a corpse. In other words, in one split second, it seemed that all the life had gone out of him, and he crumpled forward (pipto) at the feet of Jesus. As it is with many cases in which people experience God’s glory, John’s legs buckled under him and the strength was drained from his body as he fell in the presence of God.
So if you hear of someone crumpling to the floor in the presence of God, don’t be too surprised. There are a lot of scriptural examples for people falling or collapsing when they come into contact with God’s supernatural power. I advise you to look at each of the scriptural examples I just shared and search this out for yourself. This “falling” may not be a common event in your church, but it has scriptural precedence, and it still happens. As I noted, it has undeniably happened to me.
If you’re standing in a prayer line to receive prayer, and you feel the strength go from you — surrender to it and let the Holy Spirit perform a divine operation. This may even happen in the privacy of your own home.
For me, the experience of collapsing in God’s presence was real, and it resulted in a permanent healing in my body. God has used such moments in other people’s lives to remove bitterness, hardness of heart, and to perform all kinds of “spiritual surgeries.”
Who can guess what is happening in the heart, soul, or body of a person when he or she experiences this tangible touch of the Holy Spirit? Perhaps it is an operation of God’s power to do something in the person that couldn’t be dealt with any other way.
If this experience has never happened to you, just tell God today that you are willing for Him to work in your life any way He sees fit. And if that means you will one day have a supernatural encounter with His power that is too strong for you to remain upright, just say, “Amen, Lord! I’m hungry to receive more of You — whatever that means and whatever that looks like in every situation!”
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I know that You love me deeply and that Your love for me is not proven by physical manifestations such as falling down under the power of the Holy Spirit. But I want to thank You for the times I have come into contact with Your strong presence to such an extent that I could physically feel the result of it. I open my heart for You to move in my life in any way that You wish — and I ask You to forgive me for being skeptical in the past when I’ve heard of such experiences in others and have doubted it. From this moment onward, I am open for You to make Yourself known to me in any way You desire.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I experience the power of God in my life and that my heart and my mind are open to experiencing His presence in whatever way He wishes to manifest Himself to me. I am willing to be changed by the power of God, regardless of whether I remain on my feet or lie on the floor. I am open to the Holy Spirit, and I desire to yield fully to His divine operation inside me. I long for it; I pray for it; and I claim it!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Have you ever known a person who came into such strong contact with the power of God that he or she crumbled to the floor as a result? Who was that person? Why don’t you ask that individual to tell you about the spiritual significance of his or her experience?
- Can you think of any other examples from the Old or New Testament in which individuals fell when they came into the strong presence of God?
- Has this experience of falling under the power of God ever happened to you? If yes, how did it affect you? Do you know what God imparted to you or said during that encounter with Him?