War Room hit theaters in August 2015 and took the box office by storm. Media outlets were shocked that the low budget film from the Kendrick brothers took in over $11 million in its opening weekend. Ticket sales held strong week after week, and by the end of the year the movie had grossed over 67 million dollars. Clearly, its message struck a chord in our society.
Though the acting was much improved over previous films marketed to the Christian community, and the script was well written, it’s the timeliness of the subject matter that captivated audiences.
Like many modern-day Christ-followers, I have struggled to maintain a “hot” prayer life. Believing prayer to be a duty rather than a privilege, it had received the crumbs of my time too often and for too long.
While a day never goes by without a word of gratitude to my Heavenly Father or a quick request as I move about, the secret place often remains uninhabited. Though not intentional, the demands of daily living scream louder than the intimate voice of my Savior who longs to spend time with me. Additionally, many churches have ceased to emphasize the need and importance of daily prayer. Last year, I read Jim Cymbala’s book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, and though written in the 90s the content is more relevant than ever. Cymbala shares his experience as the pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle and credits fervent, consistent prayer meetings as not only the catalyst but the foundation for the church’s success.
As one who has always been a doer rather than a pray-er, I needed the reminder that so much more can be accomplished in the natural realm when we implore the supernatural realm first. I am saddened by brothers and sisters in Christ who belittle the power of prayer. They focus on getting “boots on the ground” yet miss the importance of the unseen groundwork which ensures the victorious outcome.
Do we not believe the Word in James 5:16 which says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”? The importance of preparing for battle was emphasized in War Room; we see a family transformed by the power of prayer. However, the secret place is designed to be so much more than a war room.
Bob Sorge eloquently states,
“We don’t come to the secret place as a soldier looking for battle plans, even though He will unfold His plans to us while we’re there; nor do we come as laborers looking to gain strength for the day’s labors, even though He will strengthen us for the tasks before us. We come primarily as His bride, to enjoy His embrace and to lavish upon Him our love. The secret place is a celebration of our highest identity—His bride. It’s the place of intimate love exchange.” (Secrets of the Secret Place, p.186)
Too often we retreat to our place of prayer with our own agenda. What would happen if we went to our prayer room seeking only Him and His agenda? I identify with Christ as a warrior, a laborer, a servant, and even at times as a friend; but I am first and foremost His bride, being prepared for our wedding day. I am to seek Him as I would a lost lover, craving His attention and affection, lavishing my love and adoration upon Him. The passionate desire illustrated in Song of Solomon cannot be manufactured. We must ask God to fill us up with that kind of love and teach us how to be submissive lovers (those submitted to His mission) who seek His face and not His hand.
The Word tells us God will supply our needs (Philippians 4:19) and His desire for us is abundant life (John 10:10). Could it be that the more intimate we become with Christ, the more we reach a place in Him where we no longer need to petition Him for our personal needs because He answers before we ask? I want to abide in Him, to be so fully consumed by awareness of Him and connection with His presence that the cares of this life become inconsequential. I long to become so heavenly minded I’m even more earthly good. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”—how are we to duplicate heaven on earth if we do not abide in Him, see heaven, and allow Him to display His glory through us each day?
Intimacy can only be found in the secret place. It cannot be achieved in a group or when surrounded by a dozen distractions. Time must be carved out of our busyness not just when we need a battle won, but long before. The greatest war on evil was won through love.
In all our searching, striving, studying and seeking, we are brought back to love: “Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). The secret place is more than a war room; it’s a bedroom—a place of rest, relaxation and intimacy—an opportunity to enjoy our Creator, to satisfy His desire to truly know us. Perhaps slowing down long enough to love Christ and be loved by Him is the most difficult battle of all, one that requires concentrated effort and determination. Bob Sorge says it this way: “One of the most violent things you’ll ever do is wrestle down all the competing elements in your calendar and consistently carve out the time to shut yourself into the secret place” (p.42). I know he’s right; don’t you?
As 2016 offers us a new year filled with hope and promise, let’s engage daily our Heavenly Father, returning the love He offers so willingly. No other relationship is as important. In shoring up our prayer lives, let us be constantly reminded that the bedroom is equally as important as the war room.
By Lisa Jenkins-Moore
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