Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 15 April 2015

Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.  Mark 6, verses 45-46

You have seen my write here that I like movies.   I have a fairly extensive collection of them, in fact; my wife says I have a DVD obsession (and she has a point). There’s a movie due out this summer that I want to see because I think it will make a point with which I agree.   The Kendrick Brothers are releasing another Christian movie called “War Room.”   From the previews I’ve seen, the theme seems to be how prayer is a powerful tool for us to be actively engaged in fighting for what God believes in. That theme matters in today’s verses.

Keep in mind what has just happened.   Jesus just fed the 5000. Prior to that the Disciples had spent several weeks on their own, ministering and healing.   They were all spent.   They were exhausted, even Jesus (who was fully God but also fully man all the time).   They needed the power of God to recharge them.   And they needed God’s holy weapons in their hands to ward off the temptations and desires that creep up on us when we are vulnerable (such as when we are exhausted).

So Jesus modeled the example (and did it for Himself as well) and went off to a quiet, private place to pray.   Jesus knew better than anyone how prayer is a two-way activity.   Putting our thoughts, concerns, feelings, actions, everything in front of God is our part, as is opening our hearts to His answer.   And God does routinely answer prayers, actively putting real tools in our hands with which to engage in spiritual combat here and now. The weapons He places in our hands are faith, love, tolerance, listening, wisdom, and all those fruits of the Spirit mentioned in 1st Corinthians 13. Even more, however, is how God actively intercedes in the world through and around us in ways we can’t even predict (and may not even know are happening).

The way to “get on God’s level” in all this starts with prayer. While it’s good and powerful to pray in public (before meals, with others, routinely, etc) it is equally important that we each make regular private prayer in our own ‘war room’ an important part of our lives.   Please understand:   I’m not trying to guilt you into doing this.   I’m simply repeating a fact and urging you to do something about it in your own way. Public prayer matters and publicly standing up for your faith with others matters, especially in 2015 America.   Yet private prayer in your own ‘war room’ also matters deeply.   It matters because it’s the time when God can personally recharge you, and when you can take your own private matters to Him to let Him begin to work them.   God isn’t a magic genie; prayer isn’t a wishing well.   The answers and solutions He gives may not be immediately apparent (or they may) and they almost certainly won’t be easy.   Yet sin is never easy and its consequences are always much more serious than we expect.   Because of that, we need to arm ourselves with the full armor of God (see Ephesians 6) and get battle ready in our own war rooms.  We are all warriors.   Suit up and engage.

“War Room” hits theaters this August.

Lord, I take my all to you.   Equip me to fight in the war for You.

Read Mark 6, verses 45-56.

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