Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hezekiah's War Room

I'm reading through the book of Isaiah and it is, for me, both an encouragement and challenge. Parts of it have stuck with me for days. I've written verses on index cards so I could look at them and ponder them over and over again. It's like it's a message just for me - something that I needed to read, to hear God speak into my soul.

Then there's those times when what I am reading in Scripture intersects with other messages I'm hearing from other sources: a sermon, a Bible study, or even, in this case, a movie. Johnny and I recently went to see the movie "War Room." (**spoiler alert**) It's a movie about prayer where the main character is challenged by an older woman to take seriously - to pray earnestly - about her marriage. The woman is instructed to go to battle for her family by writing her prayers and set aside a place of prayer to verbalize those prayers to the One who is able to do the miraculous. Even if you haven't seen the movie, surely you've seen the trailers with pieces of paper and sticky notes attached to the wall.

Sometimes life is just like that - we feel like we're in a battle. We actually are according to the apostle Paul. Why would we need armor if we weren't in a battle? (see Ephesians 6:10-17) Paul writes that our battle is not against flesh and blood - even though it certainly seems like it at times - but it's a spiritual battle. After we've put on the armor of God we are instructed to pray. (Ephesians 6:18)

Starting in chapter 36 of Isaiah, Judah is threatened by a real-life, flesh and blood enemy, the Assyrians. The Jews were mocked and ridiculed. By outward appearances, the Assyrian army was more powerful than the one protecting Jerusalem. When King Hezekiah got the message from the Assyrians about their treaty offer and the consequences of refusing it, he took the threat seriously. He took the letter and went to the house of the Lord and spread it out there. (Isaiah 37:14) He then prayed - his prayer is recorded in just 5 verses (verses 16-20). He spoke words of truth about the character and nature of God. He spoke about his situation and the threat against Jerusalem. He asked for deliverance SO THAT people would know that the Lord alone is God.

Isaiah, the prophet, the spokesman for God, sent a message to Hezekiah that because he prayed, Jerusalem would be saved from the Assyrians.

I've been guilty plenty of times of taking my prayer life too lightly. I've been guilty of making my prayers all about me or the things on my list. I've been guilty of not taking the holiness of God seriously. I've been guilty of making God small in my own estimation by the way I've prayed or failed to pray.

Then those things come up that remind me about the battle. The enemy is threatening. I'm reminded to go to the war room. For Hezekiah, the war room was the house of the Lord. For the Jews, the temple represented the presence of God. For the follower of Jesus, we are ushered in, brought into the presence of God by the Holy Spirit. I don't want to take that lightly. My prayer place is where I go so that I'm not distracted, so I take seriously the enemy, so I recognize the power of the only One who is able to do the miraculous.

I write my prayers out and present them before the Lord because I need to. I need to recognize the challenge so I know how to pray. I write Scripture because I want to recite God's powerful Word back to Him as a promise for my own life. I write my prayers out so I can rejoice and offer praise and thanksgiving in the answering.

A movie and a text of Scripture intersected with my life and where I am right at this moment. If the message is for me then I get it. And I move forward from this moment with my battle plan, headed to my own war room.

Serving the King,


1 comment:

Unknown said...

My prayer life has taken on many forms and locales. Instead of cleaning out the closet, I have often ran to the wild...nature. My first year in college, a Bible major (at the time) and not having a car that first semester, I walked to the City Park, climbed the highest hill, pulled out my pocket New Testament and would read, pray, and listen. At another life changing moment when I lost my job/career, I "escaped" to Glen Rose, away from distractions...I prayed, cried unto the Lord and yes, even did some REAL crying. I sense God closest to me in His creation...Nature. At a dark time in my life in recent years, I would rise before the Sun drive to this pond at the church...watch a new day begin, I would pull out my cellphone and play my Bible App on audio and hear Scripture being read. Whether a War Room, prayer closet, prayer or meditation garden or even a place by the bedside all can be places where we meet God and cry, pray, and listen.