Our Bible study groups had a field trip last evening to the local theater to see the much-acclaimed movie, The War Room. Though the movie played to what English teachers use to call sentimentality pushing all the right buttons to evoke emotion, still the concept was right on.

The movie is about life-changing prayer and the need to claim our family and friends in prayer. The point was well taken that often we are content to motor along focusing upon the ups and downs of our life with out paying attention to the spiritual condition of our loved ones. Then when a crisis hits home in desperation we turn to God.

The story plot in the movie could have been based upon the book of Judges. The people are nominal towards God, they spend their time seeking their own idols (in this case money, wealth, and success), and when everything blows up they give God a try.

The difference in the movie and Judges is that the husband and wife team had a genuine conversion and changed their ways. In Judges the cycle for the children of Israel just kept repeating and repeating itself. Both the movie and the book of Judges have a deliverer (judge) to come to their rescue and point the people back to God. In Judges it was a host of warrior leaders who literally led the people into battle against the evil forces that persecuted them. In The War Room it was a good-natured old black woman who led the fight for the soul of her real estate agent and her husband.

My favorite part of the movie was when the real estate agent decided to evict Satan from her life and her home. Her soliloquy was reminiscent of God’s call to the children of Israel to cleanse their lives, leave their idols and get back into relationship with Him. I thought it was a great touch to remind Satan, and us, that he is a defeated foe and has no power over us.

The great take-away I felt from the movie was that no matter how many generations span the time between the people in the time of Judges and our own time, we still face the same challenges and need the same God to lift us up. Prayer is still the weapon of choice for Christians who take seriously the challenge to fight for their family’s spiritual welfare.

Just before the credits 2 Chronicles 7:14 flashed onto the screen. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

To be honest with you I hadn’t thought about this text in years and seeing it illuminated on screen touched my heart. Notice the order in which we are called upon to build a relationship with God. First we are to humble ourselves and then pray, seeking to know His will. It is only as we go through that process that we will turn from our wicked ways and hear God working in our lives. Notice that the climax of the whole text is that God “will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

There are no maybes with God. If we humble ourselves before Him and acknowledge our need of His saving grace He will pour that grace out upon us. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how many trials you’ve gone through it is never too late to begin to pray. There is a power that prayer tunes into and turns the heart towards God. That power is God.

We have been talking about guilt lately and I am convinced that most of those guilt feelings we have are based upon our refusal to believe that God has forgiven us our sins and healed us spiritually. We know that grace is real and we believe in it with all our hearts, but we just don’t believe that it is strong enough to forgive us. I think we hold onto guilt, at times, because we don’t humble ourselves.

It is easy to believe that our sins are so big, so important, and so powerful that God has to turn away from us. That is really pride. We think the spiritual universe rotates around us and our sins are causing God the greatest anxiety. Maybe we need to remember instead that Jesus loves us and reaches out to us across the cross to prove that love. Everyone who lives is a sinner and the only difference between us who follow Jesus and those who don’t, is that we are forgiven sinners.

Yes, The War Room is written to tug at our heart and is a very simple movie with no real drama but it does cause us to rethink our relationships and what it really means to love and pray. The fact that this movie has done so well at the box office is a testament to the longing of Christians to experience spiritual healing that comes in the form of forgiveness and prayer. So leave your guilt at the door, go and enjoy the movie and when you come out of the theater forget to pick that guilt back up.

*  Many people around the globe are experiencing persecution for their faith in God, and many even unto death. They need our support and continuous prayers. Please take the time to read some of their stories at  http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet but you have to search for it