The old adage practice makes perfect is one of the most misleading pieces of advice that you can give a person. It sounds great. It lets you think that the more you do something the better you can become. It lets you think that with a great deal of effort anything can be achieved. This simply is not true. No matter of practice is going to make me tall enough to be a successful NBA center. And what is more alarming than that is the fact that many people are practicing bad habits. If I learn something incorrectly, the only thing I can become perfect at is failing. When I first started preaching I really struggled to pronounce certain names it the bible. I learned many of them wrong. It was a former teacher that let me know that I learned them wrong. And it didn’t matter how much a practiced to pronounce them without stammering, saying them incorrectly did not make me better. But, what does this have to do with the movie War Room?
On Saturday night I had the opportunity to sit down and watch the film, The War Room. My wife and I don’t usually watch movies on Saturday nights (Tuesdays are our movie night after the kids go to bed). However, she insisted that I run down to the local video store and pick up the film. While I am a huge fan of the other films put together by this crew, (Courageous, Fireproof and Facing Giants) I was a bit skeptical about this film. I had a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that you could do a whole movie about the idea of prayer. What I didn’t expect to happen was to have a whole world opened up unto me.
Now, as a preacher, I knew that prayer life was important before going into the film. I knew that trusting in God’s way was important before going into the film. And yet, here I was learning something I had never really considered before. Prayer is something that doesn’t just get better because I pray every day. Yes, the more you pray the more “natural” speaking unto God becomes. But, I have become convinced that prayer practice does not make perfect. If I am praying incorrectly, I am not going to get better. In fact, it will become quite the opposite. I will have to unlearn bad habits before I can begin to pray in such a way to help myself grow as a Christian.
I could probably spend hours writing and talking about the different lessons that can be learned about this film. But, for today, I simply want to encourage you to pray without distraction. The “war room” was a closet that the two female leads would go into to pray. They would shut the door, shut out the world, so that they could pray without the distractions of everyday living. No TV, no phone, no books, no shoes, no clothes. Just a bible and a prayer. For me this was the biggest eye opener. I have a rather busy life. I have four kids. I have several classes I prepare and teach each week, not to mention bulletin articles, this blog, and sermons I prepare. I also have a house to maintain, kids to raise, and I have become a running enthusiast. (I start training for my next ½ marathon next Monday as I hope to break the 2 hour mark this year). So, I started praying whenever I found the time. (This does not mean I prayed rarely). It means that I would pray at dinner, pray while on the treadmill, pray while the kids movie is playing, and pray at the end of the day when I was all but tuckered out. While I made time to pray, what I didn’t do is make a place where I was free from distraction so that my prayer is all that I was thinking upon. Not my pace, not my dinner, not my comfortable bed, etc. I may have had a lot of practice praying. I had a lot of practice praying while distracted. Praying while having my mind on other things. I need to find myself a war room. I need to find myself a place where I can be free from distraction where I can converse with my Father. Only then will I find myself truly opening my whole heart unto him.