Last night, we watched the movie War Room with our church family and a few guests. Needless to say to those of you who have seen this movie, my thoughts throughout the evening, night, and this morning were on my inadequate prayer life. After the movie, our Student Minister and I were talking, and I asked him, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a prayer warrior like that on our side?” Almost immediately, the thought came to me: that is the wrong question. The right question is, “Why am I not that kind of prayer warrior?” I have been a Christian for 37 years and a pastor almost as long. When I think about my prayer life, my first inclination is that I don’t do too bad. Not that I’m bragging, but I would say that my prayer life is better than most. But is that really good enough?
As I have focused on these thoughts, my mind went back to yesterday morning in our worship service as I led the opening prayer. My eyes were closed, so most of what I am about to describe is completely in my imagination. In my mind’s eye, I can see all of us. Our heads bowed and our eyes closed – at least most of us have our eyes closed because as good Baptists, there are always those who look around even when the pastor promises that no one is – and our hands folded in our laps or covering our mouths to stifle the yawn that inevitably comes at times like this. And as I prayed, I wonder how many are praying with me. How many are voicing their “amens” in agreement? How many are praying their own prayers, calling out to God for the needs of their hearts and for the people around them? And how many are thinking about what they will have for lunch and how long is this pastor going to pray? I know it happens – don’t deny it – because I do the exact same thing at times.
And how does that translate to our prayer times at home – if we have them? How many are like Elizabeth in the movie? We end up asleep, snacking, or checking out our shoes? Is there any wonder that the Enemy is winning victory after victory in our homes, our churches, and our nation? Is there any wonder that Christian families are breaking up at an alarming rate and our college kids are dropping out of church altogether? Is there any wonder that our kinds are cohabiting with their “partners” instead of respecting the sanctity of marriage? Is there any wonder that we find ourselves in the mess that we are in? And in my mind, the answer to these questions is no. We should, in fact, expect things to get much worse unless we are willing to change our prayer lives for it is “the effectual FERVENT prayers” of righteous men and women that avails much. Not the puny, powerless prayers of indifferent churchgoers who cannot even concentrate for more than a few minutes.
So as God spoke to my heart this morning, suddenly I thought that what might be a good first step is to change our posture in prayer. Listen, I know that we have been taught a certain way to pray, and I know that the Bible discusses several postures in prayer. However, I also know that our “body language” reveals and often affects our attitude. So this morning, I want to propose a new posture for prayer: let’s call it “The Warrior’s Stance.”
First, let’s stand tall with our feet shoulder’s width apart balanced so that we can move at a moment’s notice – just like a warrior ready for the attack. We stand with our eyes wide open not in haughtiness of spirit but with an awareness of our surroundings because the Bible tells us that we must be ever alert for our Enemy who is like a roaring lion always on the prowl seeking to destroy those who are unaware. Our left hand is raised over our chest symbolizing that raised shield of faith that will block the fiery darts of confusion, doubt, bitterness and anger hurled towards our hearts and mind by the Enemy. In our right hand, we hold the Sword of the Spirit, the Mighty Word of God that is sharper and more powerful than any physical weapon because it has the power to pierce beyond muscle and bone into the very souls of those deceived by the Evil One. And perhaps both hands need to be raised to the heavens as our mouths speak aloud words of praise and petition as we go on the offensive – taking back the ground that Satan has stolen from our lives and from the lives of those we love who have given him that toehold that turned into a foothold that will eventually become a stronghold that can only be torn down by the spiritual weapons that God has provided.
Listen, Warriors of our Holy God, let’s take a stand! Let’s make a difference!