Prayer as war: the correlation of combat with happiness has long been one which applies to my life. Therefore, a movie about prayer and war was one I knew I wanted to see when my sister Lee told me about it. Fitting, because the spiritual life is fundamentally a battle.
While in southern California a couple of days ago, I saw that the new movie, War Room, was playing and talked my husband John into going. Despite heavy competition like Johnny Depp’s new movie, we saw War Room Friday night before heading back home on Saturday.
Immediately, I was reminded by a book I read during my first year of marriage: The Power of the Praying Wife. A brand new Christian Catholic and a brand new wife, I felt as if I had moved to a different universe from the one I had inhabited for many years before making these dual vows, those years of making only professional commitments.
There is nothing new in this story. We see a 21st century young couple the instant the movie begins. He a successful drug rep, she a successful real estate broker with one lonely ten year old child. Their home is beautiful. Their clothes are expensive and look it. The little girl, her mother and father each lives alone on a planet with everything each could want within easy reach. But they are joyless.
Enter Miss Clara, brilliantly played by Karen Ambercrombie, prayer warrior extraordinaire. Deftly, Miss Clare teaches her unwitting young real estate agent about the long suppressed secrets to a happy marriage. I say suppressed because it took me far too long to figure out some basics. And my experience is far from unique. When I use the word basics, I mean things like these:
“Your husband is not your enemy,” Miss Clara exclaims to her young protege. Suddenly this sounds like a new story at least to some of us, like me a couple of years after I married my husband. As a brand new Christian and wife, the realization that there were other Christian women who felt the same as me was a revelation. When Stormie Omartian wrote about the hurt she felt because of words her husband did or didn’t say and her anger at his thoughtlessness and abusiveness, I felt relief. The relief was as tangible as a cool breeze on a hot summer day. And I began to learn a new habit that she taught me. When my feelings were hurt by my husband, slowly I learned to pray for him. When something he said or did angered me, I prayed rather than reacted.
Miss Clara renewed the wisdom learned in the book I read over fifteen years ago. In deceptively simple language, this powerful character demonstrates practical techniques essential in a marriage. A few of my favorites: