Violent Prayer

Violent Prayer

Sometimes our prayers are uneventful. More often they are intense communication in the midst of a raging battle. They can take time, energy, and persistence. They can't be tentative or passive. They are meant to be bold contradictions to the kingdom of darkness.

Jesus taught and modeled prayer differently than most of us practice. When we pray for his kingdom to come, we are praying for another kingdom to go, and that can be a process. Violent Prayer offers encouragement to pray assertively, persistently, and even brashly—and to violently say no to anything in our lives that is not from God.

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Multnomah 2006, paperback and e-book 
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Near the beginning oBraveheart, the English king comes up with a strategy to claim for his lords the right of first access to new Scottish brides. At a commoner's wedding, a lord would step in and steal the delight of the groom's eyes for that first night. It was an attempt to conquer the Scots over the course of generations by confusing their bloodlines.

The first time this happened, everyone at the wedding party, even the new husband, stood in silent resignation as the weeping wife rode off with a heavily armed lord. The next time, it happened to William Wallace's new bride, whom he'd married in secret. Wallace defied the injustice. He couldn't watch his beloved in the arms of a man bent on rape. He fought and clawed and scraped and got away. His bride didn't. Her throat was slit by an intrusive overlord. Wallace's rage and vengeance started an uprising, and no one watching would blame him for it. You just don't steal a man's beloved.

That's the theme of Homer's Iliad too. An entire war was fought over the beautiful Helen, a woman loved by a Trojan prince and wanted by a Spartan king. It dramatically illustrates that the power of love is consuming and intense. The Iliad is one of the greatest epics in human history, and it revolves around a romance. There's a reason this sort of story resonates with us: It's the story of the Bible.

Don't you see it? God created human beings for intimate union, the kind illustrated and foreshadowed by husbands and wives every night around this world. An evil overlord, an impostor trespassing on God's land, stole the beloved and defiled her. God's reaction can be described as something akin to the rage of a Scottish rebel, and we can hardly blame him for it. It's a holy rage against the utter violation of his heart's delight.

Passions escalate when an intruder comes between loves. His sovereignty and the ultimate purpose of redemption aside, the rape of humanity was not pleasing to God, and the offense is still felt. As the redeemed bride of Christ, we're not wrong to share God's anger. In fact, it's an honor. We've been called to win more of the beloved ones back, and not to rest until we do.

Our epics are filled with such honor. It doesn't matter if the odds seem overwhelming. That's never the issue in the kingdom of God, or even in our own God-given impulses. Can you imagine William Wallace bowing to the will of a larger army, deciding in the end that the freedom of the Scots really wasn't worth the cost? Or imagine Luke Skywalker coming upon the Death Star, giving it a whack with his light saber, then shrugging his shoulders and drifting away. What if he said, "Wow, it's just too big. Nothing I can do about it. I guess it's meant to be there"? Doesn't that seem ridiculous?

We don't honor heroes who bow to impostors and thieves. In fact, we don't even call them heroes. We honor those who make a stand and will not back down, even if they die in the process. There's a glory in a soul that considers justice and goodness more important than life. There's even more glory in a soul that goes to war for love. And glory is what our God is all about.

That's why our faith is insufficient if it prompts us to pray once, maybe twice, then let the matter drop after a couple of days. That's faith in a magician god, not faith in a warrior God. God told the Israelites he was their Warrior, not their magician, and he empowered them to fight for his kingdom and his righteousness. He told them the battle was his, not theirs, but he never told them there wouldn't be a battle. All of heaven's righteousness is backing us, and we dare not relent. God expects human faith to fix its eyes on the reality behind the scenes and never let go. Never.

© 2006 by Chris Tiegreen

©2013-present by chris tiegreen