In 2015 the movie “War Room” was released. The movie is about a couple who are having marriage problems. The wife meets a woman named Miss Clara, who is the epitome of a prayer warrior. Miss Clara has a prayer closet in her house that she calls the War Room. Miss Clara says, “In order to stand up and fight the enemy, you need to get on your knees and pray.” I won’t spoil the ending of the movie, but check it out; it’s worth watching. The concept of a War Room inspired Pete Walmsley. Pete’s had his fair share of difficulties the last few years. He says, “I’ve made some mistakes and I knew I needed to change some things. That movie showed me the power of prayer. The Lord put that movie in my life at just the right time. I don’t believe that things happen by happenstance. God puts people in our lives and gives us experiences so that we can grow from it.” Watching the War Room was one of those God-given experiences. Pete says, “The actress that played Miss Clara put on such a strong performance I said to myself, ‘I want the peace that she’s got.’ I thought, ‘If Miss Clara can do it, I figured I can do it.’ So I put up a bulletin board in my bedroom and made it my War Room. Every night before I go to bed, I put on my pj’s, brush my teeth, and then I go to the corner of my bed and get on my knees, face the board and pray. First, I give thanks for Jesus and then I give thanks for everything; the good, the bad and the ugly. Then I pray for the people on the board. I know God already knows what they need, but it’s important to speak my petition out loud. I talk to Jesus just like he is right beside me, because He is there and it feels like He’s present.” Pete’s War Room is full of prayer requests from Bethel. If we send out an email asking people to pray, Pete will print the email and put it on the board. The board is also filled with other quotes and sayings that inspire Pete.
I asked Pete what his walk of faith has been like since he created the War Room. He said, “I’ve seen a lot of answered prayers, but the biggest thing is that prayer is changing me. I used to blame God for the bad things in my life, a lot of people do. A lot of people ask, ‘How could the Lord allow this to happen?’ I was one of those people, but I realized that I made those bad decisions. God didn’t lead me to make those bad decisions. Why all of a sudden is it God’s problem if I made that bad decision? I’ve made decisions that I’m not proud of and now I’m paying the penalty for them. I’m being pruned and that’s ok. At this stage of my life I’m finally learning I’ve got to walk with God full time, not part time. I also realize that I need to praise God not only for all the good things in my life, but for the bad things as well, because they both lead to spiritual growth and maturity.” “Prayer has changed me. I was hardened. I’m softer, gentler, but I’m still very much a work in progress. I’m by no means a saint. I’m just the clay and I’ve got to be pliable and allow God (the Potter) to do what He wants me to do and mold me. I now realize I’m on the earth to serve the Lord, not to serve Pete.” I want to share Pete’s story because his story is our story. It’s a redemption story. We’ve all made bad decisions. Every one of us is a work in progress. I really appreciate Pete’s humility and his intentionality. He’s 100% focused on his relationship with the Lord. Pete was quick to tell me that he’s got a long way to go in his walk of faith. He’s not perfect, but he’s making an effort each day to commune with God, listen to God, and be led by God. Isn’t that what faith is all about? It’s a daily process of turning our lives over to the Lord and allowing Him to be Lord of our lives. This process begins with prayer. Prayer changes the lives of the people we pray for, and perhaps most importantly, prayer changes us. I want to encourage us to do as Pete has done, to create a sacred space in our homes for prayer. Be intentional about a time to pray. Live a life of prayer then watch what happens. Yours will surely will be a blessed life; soaked with God’s grace and full of God’s peace. The peace Miss Clara has can be yours. Pete’s found it though prayer and you can too. Bethel, let’s be about the business of prayer. May God bless Pete Walmsley and may God bless Bethel Baptist Church. This article was written with much love for the good people of Bethel. God bless.