Many of you may not of yet seen the new film “War Room” from the Kendrick brothers. These men have made some of the best contemporary religious films I have seen. No they are not in the Catholic tradition and I am certainly not saying that there are not some great Catholic movies out there, but I really like the work that they do. This newest film again really spoke to my heart because unwittingly I had already made a “War Room”in my home. Now for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about let me explain. A war room is that little place that you can go to when you want to take time out and spend some time in prayer in your home. It’s that place where we do battle for the lives of our loved ones.
In the film, which is set in America, the “War Room” is set in a closet. Now here in the U.K we don’t seem to build houses with closets big enough to fit our clothes in let alone put in a chair and possibly a table. So it’s about creating that private space that you can retreat into. It may be a favourite chair or a certain room that appeals to you. But wherever it is it needs to be somewhere where you will be free from unnecessary distractions.
I was once feeling very stressed and needed sometime with the Lord. While I was sitting at the kitchen table crying out to God that I just needed some space to be with him I had a very strong image come into my mind of creating a “sanctuary.” The space that came to mind was in a corner of my dining room. I placed a rocking chair there with a little table to hold my books, a lamp and some pens and pencils. I already had a sideboard which has some statues on (and if you know me you know I like a statue or two or three!)
It is very simple but it was just what I needed. I try and commit to getting up each morning and going to have some quiet time with the Lord (don’t get me wrong it doesn’t always happen but the hope is one day I’ll be really good at it.) But it is here that I read the daily readings of the day, I journal any thoughts I may have about them, and I pray. I pray for my husband and our marriage. I pray for my kids and grandchildren; for their marriages. I pray for future spouses, jobs, relationships, finances, health etc. – the list is endless. A mother never runs short of prayers!
I have to admit I do love it when I make the time to go there and spend some time in silence. Do I get distracted? Yes, I’m very easily distracted. I’m a mother of quite a large family so to try and counter this I aim to get up earlier than the family so that the house is quiet and I can start my day trying to place God in his rightful place.
Journaling is another project that I enjoy. This allows me to contemplate what I have read in God’s Word and make notes and comments on it. I write down any piece of Scripture that spoke to my heart.
I may look up on the internet what it might mean if I’m not sure I understand the passage (which is fairly often.) I also record any prayers or intentions I’ve been asked to pray for. This also allows me to see when God answers my prayers, which increases my trust and hope in him. It also gives me something to look back on and to see how God is working in my life.
I’m learning that things will often pop into my mind. I believe these are not random thoughts but are placed there by God – so I try to pray for these things as well. It’s bizarre how often it happens. Sometimes I find it’s easier to write my thoughts down than to try and speak them. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to pray, but each of us has to find something that suits us.
The important thing is to pray, to come closer to the Father who is just longing to lean in closer to us and hear our thoughts and concerns so that he can speak richly into our hearts and draw us all closer to him. An answer to my prayer for space in my life was my sanctuary, which I have now made into my “war room” – where I know the fight for my loved ones is. It is the place I do battle, raising my arms and crying out to the Lord for those that I love.