My wife and I went with almost 200 people from our church and watched the new movie “War Room” this weekend, helping to make it the second highest grossing film of the weekend in America. It was most of what I expected it to be and a little bit more.
You’ve probably seen the trailers by now. They feature a little old lady who uses a closet in her house as her own private place for prayer: her War Room. The movies that have come out over the past ten years from the Kendrick brothers have given rise to the growing trend of “faith-based” films. It seems to me that with each successive film they are getting better (at least those put forth by the Kendrick Brothers are). This latest release was filmed with all of the prowess and expertise of any major Hollywood movie. The script was good, and even had me laughing out loud and wanting to remember lines to tell people later. The plot was good and didn’t rely on the traditional stiff, corny lines that usually get associated with movies in this genre. With that being said, I still do not see any Oscar nods coming it’s way.
I took a glance at the chatter on imdb.com this morning before writing this. It did not shock me. What did shock me was the amount of negativity being posted on their message boards and user generated blogs. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with someone disliking a film and posting their negative thoughts. The problem I see is the overwhelming number of people who have bashed this film (and others in the conversation that were not “faith based”) without having seen it yet. There was also an alarming number of people who didn’t even know the general premise of the film that they were posting about. These entries generally begin with the disclaimer “Now granted, I have not seen the movie, nor will I, but…”
So now I have the moral dilemma: do I post back and engage in the flame wars or do I follow the lead of the movie that got me there in the first place and begin to pray?
I’ve never seen greater spiritual and relationship growth than when I have prayed with diligence and specificity for and about someone with whom I was at odds. It is not easy to bend the knee and get down to pray for such people, but the rewards can be simply miraculous.
Your methods may vary, but what has worked for me is similar to the approach used in the movie: I try to find out as much as I can about the person or situation and treat it as though I was going to war. Yet instead of praying for their annihilation, I try to discover exactly, specifically what would bring them the greatest joy and pray only for those things. I feel that a general prayer yields general results, yet specific prayer garners the things of heaven. This is in direct conflict with the short piece by Mark Twain entitled “The War Prayer” (read it here warprayer.org). Sadly, Twain’s scathing brush paints a picture that reflects more of what might be a “typical” prayer stance than does the War Room.
My prayer is that we will all be a greater reflection of Miss Clara than of Clarence….