It all began about three years ago, when a question popped into my mind, and I had no idea where to find the answer. Do things like that bother you? Today, three years later, we all have a standard comment to anything like that: “Google it.” In fact, I’ve gotten so used to writing ‘google’ that I recently tried to write a listing to sell some goggles, and misspelled it about 5 times. Eventually it came out right. But things have changed in the past three years, so the question continued to nag me. Can you think of something similar? Really drives you nuts, doesn’t it?
Mine wasn’t even a life or death question. Just curiosity. It reminded me of my mom, who was filled with an insatiable appetite to voice curious questions: we would drive by men working in a ditch; “what do you think they’re doing?” she would ask. I could list fifty pages of examples. Finally, I would just say, “Would you like me to stop and ask?” She didn’t recognize loving sarcasm. Too bad. The questions drove me crazy. (Now, I’d love to hear her ask one–so watch what you wish for).
As I was reading the New Testament those three years ago, suddenly I wondered, Why did the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray? It’s not as if praying was a unique once-in-a-lifetime happening! It had been going on since the beginning of time. But why did they ask that? I turned to a few learned men. One answer was “Well, they were with the Son of God! Wouldn’t you want to know His thoughts on what constitutes a pray that satisfies Him?” That was in mid-summer of last year. I had been dealing with it about a year and half.
Finally I knew what I wanted to do! Each year as I read the Bible through, I try to do so with a central goal, so that the chapters do not get tedious. But when the idea came to me, I could hardly wait for the year to end, so that I could begin again at Genesis and write down every prayer or reference to praying that was in the Old Testament. Since there was no “New Testament” when the disciples asked, there was no need to go further at that point. Eventually January came, and I got my notebook out! It was amazing. There were prayers that were heartfelt, some that were mundane, but there were also long periods when men did not seem to commune with God. When I got to the Psalms, although I haven’t documented this yet, there seemed to be a prayer for every emotion man feels, or any need he has! All the disciples had to do, I thought, was go back to the scrolls in the temple, and they could have at their fingertips the greatest and least of all the prayers recorded in Scripture. So I still didn’t have the answer to my question.
Okay, it’s now the end of September. I’m finishing the major prophets, so I won’t be done by December. But suddenly, last night, I knew why it had been bothering me, and why–after immersing myself in the OT prayers–I was trying to quench this thirst. It wasn’t about the disciples at all: it was about me.
A month ago War Room, the movie, came out. It hit me between the eyes. In the mirror of the faith portrayed by the character Clara, my prayer life was worse than wood, hay and stubble! I was able to identify with the main character like she was my sister. Ouch! Afterwards, I wanted to see it again–and again. I bought the novel, the journal, the Bible Study book, and the personal study book. But it wasn’t until I saw it again that I realized, God wants me to make a War Room. I’ve been, as Clara says, fighting the wrong enemy! I’ve been lax and unfaithful in my prayers, and God was preparing my heart for this moment. He was paving the ground, building a foundation of the OT saints who sought Him in prayer, and at the same time men–the Kendrick Brothers–were making a movie that would stir my heart to surrender my prayer life to Him completely. It was an awesome, God-struck moment, and the wonder of it has stayed with me. That I am able to look back for nearly three years, seeing Him calling my heart toward fervent prayer, is incredible. Do you understand why? Because He wants me to deepen the relationship with Him; to trust Him to the point that whatever the trial, He’s got it; that the problems that come–and they will come–can be carried to Him and I can KNOW He has my back, my good, and is working His purpose out. It’s not just coincidence despite what man may say, but the Creator of the universe who wants a relationship with His child.
How humbling! My first thoughts, after realizing what I had seen, were “where in my house can I have a War Room”? I would go claustrophobic in my closet (we don’t have walk-in’s). And then last night it hit me, and I have a perfect small room, a perfect old desk, even a matching chair that I almost threw out! He has prepared the table before me, and it is in the presence of my enemy–and your enemy–Satan! The real enemy of our soul who has come to kill, steal, and destroy. Kill our relationships, steal our joy, and destroy our homes and children! It hasn’t been any other enemy, and yet I have fought battles uselessly. Christ has been the Lord of our home, but I tried to help Him manage. He doesn’t want or need my help, He only wants my prayers.
I pray I can let Him do it all now. What an awesome, amazing God we serve!