Last Thursday, I shared a devotional at an early morning women's group I attend once a month. Two friends of mine formed the group several years ago, reaching out primarily to business women, looking for an opportunity to share faith and life together before the start of the work day. From the very first meeting, these women were open, authentic, trust worthy, and intent about living a life that reflects faith in Jesus Christ.
For some reason, the Lord had been impressing on me the picture of being a prayer warrior...someone who battled in prayer. In a book group I belong to, we read, Carry On, Warrior, by Glennon Doyle Melton, encouraging us as women and mothers to be strong, to be mighty, as we go about our daily lives, with all the challenges that come.
Though I would not say that I agreed with her stance on some issues, the book was a picture of a life with a strong redemptive thread running through it. I appreciated her candor and humor, and authentic voice, even in prayer.
Not long after reading this book, I went to see the movie, The War Room, directed and produced by Stephen and Alex Kendrick. God again seemed to be affirming this picture of battle...fighting in prayer for our loved ones or issues we are facing.
In light of these things God was impressing upon me, I shared the following devotional with our women's group.
The movie, The War Room, really resonated with me. Though I pray daily, I would not have considered myself a “prayer warrior.” Did you all see the movie? The seasoned prayer warrior, Clara, teaches Elizabeth how to do battle in prayer for her marriage, her family. Her prayers are not sweet, quiet, or timid. No, Clara coaches Elizabeth to cry out to God, using the “sword of the Spirit” (the Word of God - Eph 6:17) and the “shield of faith" (Eph 6:16).
As Clara says, “The real enemy is Satan. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy – stealing your joy, killing your faith, and trying to destroy your family. It’s time for you to fight, Elizabeth!” The fighting she has in mind for Elizabeth involves:
· Being thankful for what she does have
· Confessing her sin to God
· Praying, crying out to God, using the Word of God
· Asking forgiveness for her part in marital conflict
Clara goes on to say, in regard to Elizabeth’s husband, “You can’t fix him, and it’s not your responsibility to fix him…You got to plead with God so that He can do what only He can do and then you got to get out of the way and let Him do it.” I know I fall into that trap…of trying to “fix” my sons, fix my husband, fix certain situations that are beyond my control. What I took away from the movie was the concept of doing battle in prayer…being a prayer warrior.
What does scripture have to say about this concept?
· Exodus 15:3 says, “The Lord is a warrior, The Lord is his name.”
· Judges 6:12 says, “When the angel appeared to Gideon, he said, The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
· Jeremiah 20:11 says, “But the Lord is with me, like a mighty warrior, so my persecutors will stumble and will not prevail.”
· Deut 20:1 says, “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you. Do Not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.”
· Eph 6:10 – 18 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
So, what does it look like to battle in prayer? There are several pictures of this in the Bible. Jon Bloom, in his article titled, A Picture of Prevailing Prayer, looks at two stories from the Bible that illustrate prayer battles. He first looks at the story of Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46 – 52. Bartimaeus teaches us something very important about prayer. As Jon Blooms says,
“Real prayer begins with real desire, often with real desperation. We cry to God, but he does not seem to respond. We are discouraged by circumstances, and sometimes by people, from continuing to ask. How does God want us to respond to this? He wants us to keep asking and cry out louder!
The second picture of prevailing, battling in prayer comes from Luke 18:1-8. Again, Bloom writes,
Don’t be polite in prayer. God is not looking for polite pray-ers – he is looking for persistent, prevailing pray-ers. The widow’s persistence in Luke 18:1-8, the nagging that irritated the unrighteous judge in to action, is precisely the quality God is encouraging in us. He’s looking for those willing to “cry to him day and night”. He’s looking for desperate Bartimaeus’s who will insist on being heard, who won’t take a non-response for an answer. He’s looking for those who will “always…pray and not lose heart”(Luke 18:1). He’s looking to “find faith on the earth.”
Hear this amazing question from Jesus: “What do you want me to do for you?” Do you know? What are you desperate for? Don’t be vague, be specific. Don’t be reticent, be bold. The Son of David is near. Follow Bartimaeus’s example and do not let him pass without giving you an answer. …God promises to give justice to his prayerfully persistent elect speedily. (Luke 18:8). We’ll let him define what “speedily” is. For our part, let us determine to cry out louder, to cry night and day, to nag him incessantly in faith until he hears us. He loves that kind of faith.
The final thing God helped me stumble across was this music video by Steven Curtis Chapman, singing his song, Warrior. The video actually contains photo clips from the movie, War Room!
So, my question for you is the same one I used as I closed my devotional. I hope this post has resonated with you, as it has with me. "Fall on your knees, fight with me, we are the warriors." Love that we can do faith together! Warmly, Gracia
What do you want Jesus to do for you? What would it look like for us to be prayer warriors…persistent in battle, prevailing in prayer?