This is the blog post where you might just think I’m a fanatical religious nutcase.
Last Friday Matt and I went to see War Room, the #1 movie in the nation the week prior, which was all about our need as Christians to recognize our enemy and engage in the battle of prayer.
Since Friday, I’ve kind of become a War Room junkie. I left the theater ready to do battle for my husband, children, church, friends, and myself. Sunday afternoon I began penning Scriptures to pray over some of my deepest struggles. I found myself recognizing when thoughts were coming from a specific enemy tactic.
Now before you check out at that last statement, let me assure you that I would have probably rolled my eyes, too, as recently as last week. As Priscilla Shirer, the leading actress in War Room and my favorite Bible teacher, says in her book Fervent (the companion book to War Room),
Whenever the conversation of demonic activity comes up…most people scatter to one of two extremes. Either they overestimate Satan’s influence and power, living with an inflated, erroneous perspective of his abilities. Or they underestimate him. They don’t assign him any credit at all for the difficulties he’s stirring up beneath the surface of their lives. One extreme leaves you saddled with undue fear and anxiety; the other just makes you stupid…unaware and completely open to every single attack.
I would have always placed myself in the first extreme. I think many times we go all, “the devil made me do it” without realizing much of the time our struggle with sin is due to the sinful desires raging within us (James 4:1).
Change of Perspective
But I am seeing things differently now. I’m realizing much of my internal struggles are based on lies and accusations — neither of which originate from God.
I’m unloved. I’m not worthy. I’m not a good enough friend. I’m failing as a mom. I’m too much of a mess to be used by God. I’m too much of a mess for anyone to want to get close to me. If they knew what I was really like, they would most certainly reject me. I’m a fraud.
Now I see none of those statements are from any conviction of the Holy Spirit. They are condemning arrows aimed straight to my heart, to the weakest part of my soul. I want with all of my heart to be used by God. And if I were the enemy, that’s where I’d target my attacks to render myself useless. Definitely.
So I’ve started suiting up. Ready to name those arrows the lies they are and not let them gain one foothold in my life.
Why I thought my enemy would take this lying down, I’m not sure.
Because yesterday, I was good. Taking down the little arrows coming my way. Suiting up like Tony Stark’s transformation into Ironman in slow motion, one piece of armor at a time–one prayer at a time, one Scripture at a time.
Then, one quick peek at Facebook, and something completely innocent sent a fiery arrow right to my heart–where the armor hadn’t completely covered yet.
I quickly began fighting back, calling the lies in my heart what they were. But it was too late. I was bleeding. But then the arrows didn’t stop. My children fought all the way from the time I picked up Drew from school to church. What kind of mom are you that your 9 and 5 year olds don’t speak to one another in kindness, even in conflict? What kind of mom are you that you’re raising your voice, AGAIN?
Pelt, pelt, pelt. The whole evening seemed relentless. A fit here. A headache there. An insecurity, a worry, loneliness, exhaustion. All this was on top of my first Wednesday night shuttling children from school to church to dinner to soccer practice, back to church, and home.
I woke up this morning feeling like I had just been pummeled. Why did I want to lie down on the couch and just sleep? Was I getting sick? What was wrong with me?
I felt plain battle-weary.
And that’s what I realized it was. I hadn’t even had a chance to suit up for the fight before the enemy began pelting me.
Driving Alyssa to Mother’s Day Out this morning, I cried to God, “I. Can’t. Do This…. Help.”
He did. He gave me an encouragement that only He and I knew was there. And I knew I was right. I can’t do this. Not in my own strength. So I headed home and began Strategy 1 in the book Fervent. I took Scriptures listed and began crafting my prayers…my battle plan, in this one area of my life:
A Prayer for Passion
Thank you for Your faithfulness, that your compassions and lovingkindness never cease.
(Never cease! How often do I worry that someone will run out of compassion or lovingkindness toward me? How often might I do the same? But my God! His compassions will never cease! I need not worry about Him leaving me!)
Forgive me when I want to give up. May I look to You to clean my heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Remove my heart of stone, and show me where I am hardening.
(Many have a heart of stone based on unbelief in Jesus, but my heart of stone has hardened at my quest for protection. If I harden my heart, I can limit another person’s ability to wound me. But God wants to remove my heart of stone. Ach! Can I honestly pray this?)
Remind me of your unfailing love and give me a heart of flesh.
(A heart of flesh is a vulnerable heart. A heart that might be wounded. But if I trust in God’s unfailing love, I can trust my heart to him. It’s going to be okay if I’m wounded by another because my heart of flesh is in hands that will never leave me or hurt me or reject me. Whew, big step of faith here.)
Give me a new heart, a new spirit to first, love you with all my heart, and know you.
(To love God with all of my heart…that’s to trust Him with my heart. As I love my husband, I trust him to never leave me. I trust him to always be there for me. I’ve given my heart to Matt. In the same way (and more!), my love for God is proven by my ability to give Him my all and trust Him with the deepest, most vulnerable parts of me.)
When I call to you, I know you will listen. When I search for you, I will find you.
(Tears streaming at this point in my prayer. He will always listen! When I search Him with all of my heart, I WILL find Him!)
May my new heart be sparked with a passion to love You and serve You without ceasing. Amen.
(These prayers were all based on Psalm 51:10, Lamentations 3:22-23, Jeremiah 24:7, Jeremiah 29:12-13, Mark 12:30, and Ezekiel 36:26.)
So…whew… how do I end this post?
First, if you haven’t seen War Room, make plans to go. Soon. Second, get a copy of Fervent. It will help you suit up your armor and be ready to do battle in prayer.
And if all this seems a little far-fetched to you, child of God, ask God to give you eyes to see the very real struggle around you, for you, and for those you love. Read Ephesians 6. Get ready to report for duty and gear up. Make no mistake. The war is real.