‘And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he’s listening. And if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours.’
1 John 5: 14 – 15
This review is five weeks late. It should have been uploaded since. That said, this movie by the Kendrick brothers is timely. I remember saying to my friends after watching the movie that so much prayer had gone ahead of the production of the movie. I remember reading a movie review where the critique had mentioned something about domestic violence and how the movie was wrong for encouraging women to stay in marriages where they are being abused and instead fight for marriages and pray for their husbands. I think one of the reasons Christian movies generally don’t do well in the hands of critics because they feel that they are ‘preachy’. This movie is actually not even targeted at the conversion of non-believers to Christians. Rather, it is for Christians who are yet to recognise the potency of prayers.
As usual, I don’t do spoilers, and I am not going to start now. A young couple are experiencing a rough patch in their marriage. They merely tolerate each other. The wife meets an older woman who has gone through a similar experience and wishes to teach her how to fight the right way – praying – so that she can win and save her marriage.
So I put together a number of bullet points capturing the major issues I feel were being addressed.
- The fragility of the institution of Marriage and Family: Why do we get married? Love? Status? Connection? Religion? In this part of the world, if at a particular age, you are yet to be married, you would be an object of pity. ‘Do you know that X works for XYZ oil Company. He is not married yet. It is a shame and he is such a good man!’ When we then get married, do we just walk out of the marriage because we just can’t deal anymore? Or do we wait till the other person beats us six feet under? What is important? Spending time with the kids or spending money on the kids?
- Prayer: Well, this was the major theme of the movie. Prayer is communication. It is never about making requests alone, it is also about listening to God as well. It is about enjoying his presence. It is about the Word. If you pray outside the Word, you are praying amiss. God acts based on the Word. For you to communicate effectively with God, you need to align yourself with his Word, dwell in it, and study it. If you look carefully at the notes the Wife pasted on her closet, you would see that for every prayer sheet she pasted, there was a bible verse. You would also notice that when she was making her prayer list, she made notes from the bible. Agreed, sometimes, God does answer two sentences of prayers, but there are prayers that need more than two sentences. Ask Hannah – Samuel’s mother, ask King Hezekiah – even though Prophet Isaiah had prophesied his victory in battle, he prayed again, ask Jesus who prayed until he was bleed – sweating. There is so much that we can do when we seek God’s face and listen to what he has to say. That doesn’t come from just saying two sentences before dashing out of the house. It comes from studying the Word and letting the Holy Spirit teach us and guide us and baring it all to us. God is very much interested in talking to you.
- The Name of Jesus: Really, it is a matter of your faith. There was a scene where there was a robbery and the older woman, Miss Clara, asked the robber to drop the gun in the name of Jesus. Well, I have heard testimonies of how people had been extricated from deathly accidents or occurrences by just calling on the name of Jesus. After all, the Bible tells us that at the name of Jesus every knee must bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord. Prayer based on the Word builds your faith.
I feel like I have not done justice to the movie in this review. It is a good movie. The plot is not exactly unique – a woman fighting to save her marriage. It is just a two – hour movie. Praying is for a life time. You don’t expect a two-hour movie to teach you everything on a matter that would take a whole life time. I forgot to mention that you can’t spend time praying – communicating with God – and still find time to cheat or gossip or use abusive words. Those things become foreign to you by default because you have been keeping good company.
If you have been having troubles praying, I encourage you to watch this movie. It is a good place to start. But I will like to leave you with this.
If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jer 29:13 NLT