I recently had the opportunity to see War Room, the latest offering by the Christian film-making team Alex and Stephen Kendrick. Despite making $11,000,000.00 (in just over 1,000 theatres) on opening weekend and doing quite well since, the film is pretty much getting hammered by movie critics and reviewers. (Here is one of the kinder reviews.)
I, however, am not a movie critic and no one is interested in my amateur opinion of the film’s quality. For the record, I enjoyed the movie just as I have the others produced by this sibling team. I feel that the movie is certainly targeted to an exclusively Christian audience and prioritizes its message above all other considerations. Though this has led to much of the criticism, I think most people who go to see this movie know exactly what they’re going to get and are ok with that.
I, for one, am willing to overlook some of the professional inadequacies and enjoy the movie for what it is – a well made plea for Christians to engage in spiritual warfare through prayer. Though the discipline of prayer is somewhat oversimplified, the movie does a fantastic job of challenging viewers to evaluate their own prayer life.
I am convinced that this movie strikes upon a serious deficiency in the Christian church today. We do not pray as we should. Though we claim to value prayer, we do not put into prayer the time and energy necessary to validate that claim. As I watched this movie, I was deeply challenged about my own personal prayer life. Here are a couple of my personal take-a-ways from War Room.
- Prayer is work. I’m sure there will be a ton of marketing based around the idea of prayer closets and journals, etc., but one thing that this movie conveyed well is that true prayer takes work. It is an intentional effort to remove distraction and approach God. Prayer is also work in the sense that our flesh opposes us as we attempt to pray. We must work to overcome the flesh and we must also work to engage in and overcome the spiritual warfare that is going on around us. Many believers lack a strong prayer life because they just won’t put in the work.
- Prayer works. Another clear truth that War Room will remind you of and hammer home repeatedly is that prayer works. I’m not sure it always works the way it does in the movie, but it does work. Yes, God has a plan and He is sovereignly working that plan, but somehow in his sovereign and infinite power He also allows for our prayers to make a difference. Prayer is not just something we do or talk about doing. Prayer actually works and we need to reclaim our confidence in going before God with our prayers. He wants us to pray and He wants to use prayer to change things in our lives and the world around us. prayer works!
- We don’t pray enough. I am sure that most believers feel as if they do not pray enough. There’s something about prayer that can make even the strongest saint feel inadequate, but for some of us it is actually true. In my opinion and experience, most Christians don’t pray enough. We talk to others far more than we talk to God. We seek help from other sources far more often than we seek it from God. We whine and complain far more often than we pray. If nothing else, this movie challenged me to look at all of life as an opportunity to pray.
Charles Spurgeon once said that “Prayer moves the arm that moves the world.” I don’t exactly know how all of that works itself out theologically, but I do know that God is almighty and all powerful. I also know that He wants me to pray and he uses my prayers to make a difference in my life and in this world. I encourage you to take Him at His Word and begin to pray. Don’t worry about technique or location or verbiage – just pray! Pray and watch what God will do.
Photo credit to navalatanjjnn @ http://fav.me/d2n124t