prayer spiritual

The Must See Movie of the Year

10:44 AMHeather

That'll preach. 

Yes, siree. That'll preach.

When you go to a movie and that's your response and you are filled with a fervor that tells you that you are equipped for all the challenges that life may throw at you... well, that was worth the price of admission. And then some.

That's how I felt on Sunday. As my husband and I slipped away for a matinee to see the new Kendrick brothers' film, War Room. I had wanted it to be good. I had heard that it was. I wanted to be a faith based film that wasn't hokey or amateur. I wanted it to be a film that lived up to my high hopes. Something that could say to Hollywood--"hey! There's an audience for this." And something that could say to every viewer-- "Hey! Here's some life changing truth."

And it did. War Room did all that and more.

As we walked into our favorite local theater, we were directed to theater 13. 

The large corner theater.

And it was packed.


That night I heard that War Room surpassed Straight from Compton to be the number one movie of the weekend.

You're welcome, Kendrick brothers. I did my part on that.

Y'all, while the movie rolled, it was like sitting in Sunday church. People were a-mening and telling the characters to "Go on!" as they spoke their dialog and told the story. 

And they told the story well. The story of prayer. The story that turns us all on our heads to remind us how lazy and ignorant we can be about prayer. 

Even if you've heard that message before, this movie drives it home in such a way that it should spur you to action. This movie silences the mentality of "all we have left to do now is pray."

I came out of that theater on Sunday and remembered something. It was like a long refreshing drink of water on a parched summer day. In the deserts of my life where I feel stuck and frustrated and ready to throw in the towel.

I was reminded of the power of prayer. That prayer is a powerful weapon against all that we battle. That when we want to fight each other or against a circumstance, we can do our fighting most effectively in the quiet of honest and fervent and frequent prayers, calling on our Mighty God to move the mountains in our lives.

Prayer seems to be a central theme in my life here lately. Our pastor is taking us through a series on Nehemiah, as is my daily study through IF Equip. And if there is anything Nehemiah can teach us, it's that prayer changes things.

Nehemiah was broken for the ruined state of Jerusalem. So rather than just moan and wail about it, or acknowledge how sad that is and go on with his life, or even run headlong into action, he prayed.

Nehemiah prayed for four months. He wept and mourned and surely was honest and authentic in his pleadings with heaven to help.

Chapter one sets the stage. The rest of Nehemiah shows how brilliantly his prayers were answered. How God leaned in and listened to those heartfelt prayers and he answered them. 

Not only did Nehemiah successfully lead the Israelites in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, but God showed up and it was completed in 52 days. The impossible became the project done. And Nehemiah used prayer to hold off the attacks of his enemies and to secure provisions and protection from the king. 

Prayer took a sad man and a broken wall and ruins and changed it all around in less than two months time.

The thing is that we tend to treat prayer like some magic words we say while we rub the genie's lantern. But prayer is calling out to heaven with our hearts to ask a righteous and powerful God to bend down into our broken world and change it. Prayer is the act of humbling ourselves before him and crying out to him to fight our battle for us. Prayer is saying, "I can't deal with this. But you can. So please take it." Prayer is surrendering our burdens to him. It's casting our cares onto him. It's the sweet incense in heaven...that's what Revelations says about the prayers of the saints. It's a sweet perfume that rises to heaven.

Prayer is not a last resort, rather it should be our first resort. It is our battle plan, our strategy. I loved that the film showed how people can pray specific Scripture about the things we are facing. If you've never incorporated praying Scripture into your life, then you should. Because he promises that his word doesn't return void. 

When you are facing something, dig for Scripture that speak to your battles. Then pray them back to God. Say them out loud, post them on your walls, and stand firm on them. This practice tells your feelings who is boss. Because Truth wins out. 

Oh, yes. I was raised to pray. I saw it modeled in our home. Perhaps not as specifically as I would like. I can't recall my parents often praying with us or out loud over us or praying Scriptures for us. But my parents were praying people. 

Yet, when I look back, I see that I had my own Miss Clara in my life. My own prayer warrior who reminded me often of the power of prayer.

My Granny was a prayer warrior. She had more than her fair share of personal issues that I've come to see must have come from some deep wounds. But that lady knew how to pray for others. I remember calling her once after moving into my first home. I had called for a specific purpose. But Granny took control of the conversation (taking control was her forte), and asked how our move was going. I had been running fever and was terribly ill on moving day, so I had to sit back and point our friends and family in the right directions. I told her all was well, but casually mentioned that all my belts were missing.

Not such a big deal, really.

But Granny got to preaching right then and there, asking me if I'd prayed about it. I sputtered out a no. I mean, we were talking belts, nothing life threatening. But she wouldn't haven it. She said boldly and with great conviction, "Now, Heather. God knows everything. Nothing slips by his observations. So you just go on and ask him to give you ideas where to look. No detail is too small to take to him."

Since she was often the boss of me, I did just what Granny said. And my belts turned up. When I mentioned it later, she unsuccessfully suppressed a smug smile and then said, "I told you. Now, you go on and run to him with every concern."

Prayer. It's not a last ditch effort. It's not a magic spell. It's not a Christmas wish list. 

It's storming the Throne Room of heaven with the burdens of your heart and begging your Father to intercede. It's remembering that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf, and Jesus lives to intercede for us. It's the power of inviting and pleading with heaven to meet us here on earth. It's the joy of running to God with our problems more than complaining about them. It's the truth of being a world changer. Because people are not moved by our social media status. We don't change people's minds or effect change in our world by what we write in 140 characters. 

But by going to a quiet place, with Scripture written and on our lips, pounding on the doors of heaven, we can be world changers. We are in a battle every day. And we can sharpen our weapons and do our fighting through prayer.

So if you haven't seen the movie War Room, then go.

And then create your own war room. Clear out a spot in your closet or a quiet corner in your favorite chair. Put together a binder or journal with the things you are praying about and the Scripture you are praying over those concerns. Post photos of the people you are praying for or the situations for which you are praying. And visit your war room regularly. It might feel silly at first. But remember how we can fight most effectively by surrendering our concerns to the Most High God and thereby allowing him to change us and to change our situations. 

Which of us would sit idly on a lingering problem and not talk it over with a mentor whom we knew had the wisdom and ability to help?

So, let us run to our Father. Let us fight it out through prayer, in the quiet of our own war rooms. Pleading with heaven to intervene here on earth. Knowing that our prayers are filling the Throne Room with a sweet aroma and our Father not only delights but he longs for us to draw near in prayer.

War Room

There is indeed plenty of wars going on here. Wars within our home. Wars with each other. Wars against horrible things happening in the world.

And we don't have to sit idly by and bemoan our fate.

We can fight by dropping to our knees and throwing all our weight behind the power of prayer. 

Raise 'em up, Lord. Raise 'em up. A whole army of believers who fight through prayer. 

May we each take up our weapons and do our fighting. 

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