These days, instead of sending my kids to their rooms for a time out, I send them to their War Rooms to fight out their problems with God’s help.
Lately, when one of my kids seem to be in a bad mood or is throwing a fit, I tell them, “Go to your War Room.” In other words, I’m telling them to “go battle it out” in prayer. Amazingly, this method of prayer has worked really well for us.
If you have seen the movie The War Room, then you already know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should. It’s an excellent movie with an excellent message. And an excellent idea.
A War Room is basically just a prayer room, tied together with the idea of fighting your problems out with God. In the movie, the character’s War Room is a nice walk-in closet. (It doesn’t have to be a walk-in closet, any size will do.) She cleaned it out and brought in a notebook and a Bible. Then she prayed about her problems to God, and once she was done, she took time to listen to His plan of how to handle the problem. She used her Bible to write down verses and her notebook to write out “strategies” to work out her problems for the next time they came up.
I was excited. It was so simple. It was ingenious! But best of all, it was doable! I walked out of that movie theater inspired. I couldn’t wait to get home and implement the idea in our own home. I loved the idea of creating a War Room—but most of all, I loved that there was a method to prayer, a strategy, and a plan.
The Difference between a Prayer Room and a War Room
You might be wondering why we would go to the trouble to create a War Room in the closet when we could just simply send our kids to their room to pray. Well, I have done that. And when I come in, they are lying in their beds, reading a book ( i.e not the Bible), or playing with toys. Bedrooms are distracting with almost too much space, leading them to forget why they were sent to their rooms to begin with.
But the biggest difference between a War Room and praying in their bedroom is that their little closet truly does convert into a “real” War Room. It becomes real to the kids and has meaning to it. They know what the little nook in their closet is and what it’s for. They understand what they are to do. They know they are there to fight their wars.
Sometimes, when my kids are angry about something and they’re at that point where they can’t listen to reason, they are also too angry to pray. I have tried to coax them into prayer in the past—but they’d rather kick the walls. The last thing they want to do is calm down and be reasonable. They are so upset that they can’t even think of prayers to pray. They’d rather fight.
OK, then. You want to fight? Fine. Then let’s get you a War Room.
Planning the Attack
Before I wrote this article, I looked up the phrase “strategic planning.” It is defined as an “organizational management activity, used to focus energy, work toward common goals, and establish agreement.” In other words, it’s the War Room!
This is exactly what the War Room has become for us. When my kids are sent to duke our their battles in the War Room, they are not just sent away to sulk and cry. They are sent away to “battle it out” but also to find a common goal with God. They are sent to find an answer to their problem, whether that problem is simply accepting disappointment or dealing with a difficult sibling that teases too much. Or maybe they just woke up crabby. Whatever it is, they form a plan with God on how to deal with it, and form a plan of attack for how to handle it the next time.
This means they need to learn to listen to what God has to say. It’s not always easy for the kids to be patient enough to listen, because many times it means they have to wait. But in the process, they are learning how to pray. Because prayer is not just a one-sided monologue; it’s a conversation with God.
I always tell my kids that I would like to see their “war plans.” It makes me feel better to know they are using the War Room the way it’s meant to be used, not just sitting there—and they don’t seem to mind sharing their “strategic plan” with me. In fact, they seem rather proud of it. Afterwards, they tape it on their wall (they did this in the movie too) for a reminder of how to handle the problem the next time they run into it.
Sometimes learning this “prayer strategy” comes with practice. While my nine year old daughter latched onto this idea right away, my eight year old son had trouble figuring out how to “listen”. He would come upstairs with frustrated tears, saying that he was listening but God “wasn’t talking”. Now I have him do most of the fighting through prayer on his own and when he’s ready, I come to his war room where we will pray, listen and strategize the battle plan together.
Life is a battle, so know how to fight
As my kids grow older, they’re discovering that life really is a battle—and that’s even more true when it comes to living the Christian life. And if my kids are going to have to fight in life, then I want them to learn how to do it right.
I don’t know if my kids will always keep a War Room and pray in their closet. Most likely, they will eventually grow out of the idea.
But the wonderful thing about the War Room is that it teaches them how to bring their problems to God. To pray about it and to trust. To be involved in making a plan. And to hopefully incorporate a prayer life that will follow them into their adult years.
At least, that is my prayer strategy. And seemingly, God’s battle plan. After all, Mama’s got her own War Room too, you know. 😉