Over the holidays Diana and I were able to see three movies, Star Wars The Force Awakens, Ant Man, and War Room. Guess which movie had the most profound effect on our lives? If you have not seen it War Room is worth taking the hour and half of life and watching. As we watch our country have numerous problems and all the while we see things which are divisive we wonder where is our country headed. We see it on the national, state, and local political levels, we see it in our sports, we see it on social media, we see it in worship, we see it in science, we see it everywhere. Let me ask who is behind all this division? Believe it or not it is not mankind, mankind is the pawn used to create the division!
War Room is simply utilizing a tool left to us by our God, a tool that all religions utilize, the act of prayer. Prayer is an act of communication by mankind with the sacred or holy—God, the gods, the transcendent realm, or supernatural powers. Does prayer work, you bet is does! My story, eighteen years old, senior year of high school, and we had a highly respected and loved elder at church who suffered a massive heart attack. The church called a prayer meeting at 7:30 on a non church night and for some reason I elected to attend, normally as a teenager I would have skipped this prayer meeting thinking it was for older adults to participate. There were probably 100 of us there and several men led prayers specifically for the elder, Lowell Massey. The prayers worked and Lowell lived into his 80s, but that is not where this story ends or begins.
You see the previous winter my dad and I helped the North Kansas City High School choir director and church song leader, Jerry Carpenter, change brakes on his car. While we were working on the right front brakes, Jerry asked me, why don’t you and Donnie Henderson try out for the concert choir class. Now as a child I had a beautiful voice, then in 7th grade when my voice changed it went bye bye, could not carry tune, lost all confidence in singing, but what the heck it was our senior year coming up so I called Donnie and told him let’s give it a try. Now after the first quarter of my senior year I thought this was a mistake, I was a straight “A” student, EXCEPT in Mr. Carpenter’s Concert Choir class I received a “C”. I was regretting taking that class at the time, in fact I was a bit angry at Jerry Carpenter and at God, I had been asked to take this class and it was effecting my grade point average. But the grade was not the important thing I learned from this class, ever hear God has a mysterious way of working?
Three weeks after the heart attack, Mr. Carpenter recounted the following in the Concert Choir class, he told of how the family had gathered at his father in laws’ bedside, Lowell was his father in law, how the doctors had told them there was nothing more they could do, it was time to tell Lowell good bye, how they were holding Lowell’s hand, the color had left his body, how he had gone into the death sweat, and how the family was praying for grief relief and a hope for any chance of recovery. I am sitting in this class room, listening to this story, and knowing this was all occurring at the same time we started the prayer meeting at the church building. Coincidence, I do not think so, I accepted that Jesus was my Lord and Savior at 12 years old, but I think this was a clear message to me, the power of prayer and how it works!
What is the one sport left that starts with an invocation and then the playing of our national anthem? You should know it is the sport of auto racing. Most of the local tracks in this area continue this tradition and it continues on the national scene. During the decade of the 1990s the fastest growing sport was our sport. Nationally new tracks were being built, old tracks were adding seats, local tracks had full fields and ran “B” features in almost every class. Over the past few years we have not seen new tracks nationally, we have seen seats eliminated (Daytona the entire back straight grandstands), car counts at local tracks have dropped, and some local tracks have closed (I-70 Speedway, Adrian, Butler). Maybe it is time we pray, we turn to the higher power, we put our issues in God’s hands. The message of the movie War Room is just exactly that let the power of the Lord work for us and through us. Maybe the decline in our sport is so we can restore our country, our divisive issues, through us and our sport.
Father God, today I pray for our country, that we find the leaders to lead us back to you, that we find the leaders to restore our country for our children and grandchildren. Father help us restore prayer in our schools, at all our sporting events, help us to turn to you not away from you. Help us to put aside our differences and learn to accept we are all different and that is what makes us unique to you. Father help our sport to lead the way in this resurgence. Help us to restore the fun in our sport. Help us to invite family and friends to our local tracks. Father we pray for our enemies those who seek to destroy, to kill, to maim, to injure, we pray for a change of heart, for them to realize the errors of their ways. Father help us to realize we are not the judge, you are the judge. We are all striving to reach heaven when we die, help each of us to act accordingly. Father, this is my prayer today, be with each of us in our great sport, thank you for our sport, and most of all thank you for Jesus, it is in his name we pray, Amen.