With buttery fingers and cups of soda, our family spent the last hours of 2014 in the theater watching The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Typically, I don’t care for movies of this genre, but J.R.R. Tolkien’s work allures me. Beyond the dwarves and elves, I am drawn to the spiritual significance contained within each of Tolkien’s stories.
As the name implies, this Hobbit film was full of battle scenes. My favorite battle scene (I can’t believe I even have a favorite battle scene) was when Dain II Ironfoot, Thorin Oakenshield’s cousin, led an army of five hundred dwarves from the Iron Hills to aid in the protection of the Lonely Mountain of Erebor. Dain Ironfoot and his armored soldiers arrive for battle prepared to fight. At Dain’s command all the warriors knelt in sequence. Their armored shields formed a solid impenetrable wall of iron. Their iron swords ready to pierce anything fired in their direction. (Click here to view this online image: http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20150109152027/lotr/images/0/0a/BOTFA_HD_-_Dain_arrives.jpg)
We watched this movie during a time of significant spiritual battle for our son. I shared last month in War of Words (click here for that post: http://redchairmoments.blogspot.com/2015/01/war-of-words.html) the spiritual battle Andrew was experiencing. After weeks of keeping this battle between God and our family, I reached out to my prayer warriors. To tell you the truth, I should have reached out to them earlier, but I had no idea his battle would last that long. Six weeks is a long time to see your middle school child struggle with a battle of the mind. I will never forget being pulled aside one Sunday and a dear friend and prayer warrior said, “April, you should have reached out earlier.”
Go to the throne before you go to the phone.
A friend and prayer warrior once told me “make sure you go to the throne before you go to the phone.” Sometimes, it’s difficult to discern when to keep a burden between you and God and when to invite others in to intercede in prayer. The Bible is full of stories illustrating God’s desire for His people to stand still while He does all the fighting as with Moses. “The Lordwill fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14 NIV). But other times, as in the story of Moses, God uses friends and prayer warriors to aid in the battle. Exodus 17 details a battle against the Amalekite army. Moses’ army was victorious only when his arms were raised. When Moses became tired and his arms dropped, the opposing Amalekite army gained the advantage. Finally, Moses friends Aaron and Hur, stood beside Moses and they physically held up his arms. “Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset” (Exodus 17:12 NLT).
Last Sunday our pastor spoke on another favorite story of Moses from Numbers chapter eleven. To summarize the chapter, Moses was facing an impossible situation. He cried out to God and the Lord spoke back. The conversation went something like this:
Moses: “I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.”
(Numbers 11:14 NIV)
God: “Is the Lord’s arm too short?” (Numbers 11:23 NIV)
Of course the answer to God’s rhetorical question is an emphatic “NO! God is the God of the impossible.” To prove the point, He gave Moses a team of seventy men who became his prayer warriors in the battle. We all need prayer warriors —Godly people on our side when we are faced with impossible situations. Our pastor reminded us that even Christ Himself had prayer warriors. He had the twelve disciples and his closer friends, Peter, James, and John. If Christ Himself had prayer warriors, we certainly do too!
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV).
Initially, I wrote this piece last week as an expression of thanks to my prayer warriors who prayed us though a tough battle of the mind with Andrew. However, I had no idea of what was to come. I had to call out to my prayer warriors again this week. A beloved family member is currently hospitalized and unresponsive. I am comforted in the knowledge that I am not in this alone. Our family is surrounded by a team of prayer warriors going to God’s throne on our behalf. Yesterday, our pastor reminded me of the power of prayer with this quote:
“When man works, man works;
But when man prays, God works.”
-Hans Von Straden, Missionary
The battle scene of Dain Ironfoot and his armored soldiers is forever burned into my mind. As crazy as it sounds, this image provides me peace. I have peace because I know not only do I have prayer warriors ready to hold up my arms in the midst of a battle, but I also have a God who tells me to stand still and I will fight for you.