Are We Experiencing a National Interest in Prayer?

What’s up with prayer being such a hot topic at the box office this weekend?  War Room, the latest movie from Alex Kendrick, focuses on prayer as an ultimate weapon, no matter what the battle. “The Christian drama topped the four-day Labor Day weekend with $12.6 million in just over 1,500 theaters, according to box-office tracking firm Rentrak. Made on a budget of just $3.5 million, the PG-rated film has earned $27.9 million in just two weekends of release.” (Patrick Ryan in USA, September 7, 2015)

The burning question is why?  Amidst the shouting of “no prayer in school or public places” people in droves are now buying tickets to a movie about prayer? Sure, many of those are Christians who already believe in prayer. They want to support and celebrate prayer coming to the big screen.  But that doesn’t explain it all.  

Almost daily, the news tells us of yet another murder.  Police are being gunned down. They’re not in the line of duty. They die only because they are police. Our nation is carrying a threatening debt.  Shifting values have created a confusing instability. What is a family? Why are marriages in such a struggle? How can ISIS recruit young people so easily? There’s no place like home has a hollow ring to it. Are we scared? Overwhelmed?

Or, could we be waking up? We have a natural tendency to think we can do anything. We can solve any problem. We are equal to any challenge. Self-sufficiency, rooted in sin’s misguided security, fertilizes thinking like that. But some of the brightest minds and those most blindly convinced we can handle it, are likely beginning to wonder if that’s clearly not true. 

Could these lines at the theater indicate many are beginning to see their need of God? Is there an awakening that we need someone bigger than ourselves? War Room does not present prayer as a empty spiritual exercise. It demonstrates prayer as talking with the mighty God who is able to do things we never imagined possible. Are more and more people grasping their need to join that conversation? If so, I am hopeful.  

Underused Resources

This past weekend we joined some friends to see the new movie War Room. How many times I have heard, “There’s nothing we can do but pray”?  Like it’s better than nothing. War Room reminds viewers that prayer is not the last resort but the foundation, the ultimate resource, for dealing with any challenge, unsolvable problem or stubborn issue. We left the theater thinking of difficult decisions or situations in our lives, among friends or family. 
I’m a fixer by nature.  My daughters tell me I am resourceful. I love a challenge.   I enjoy envisioning multiple ways to approach a problem. But could my fixer nature be a hindrance?  Yes, it could be. One of life’s joys is that God invites us to be involved in what he is doing in the world. But do our strategies slight our most fundamental way to be involved?  War Room spotlights prayer as a consequential weapon in whatever we face. I needed to hear that again. Perhaps you do too.  
For a $10 movie ticket you will be summoned to a new perspective on whatever weighs you down, or backs you into a corner of discouragement. What are you doing this Friday or Saturday night?  Do something that could change your life. See War Room!
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