In my extremely passionate and highly persuasive writing, encouraging others to become Battle-Closet Prayer Warriors for Christian Filmmakers, I fear that I have "hyped up" too much to the point that I need to make a strong warning that NEEDS to be heeded BEFORE anyone actually commits to a filmmaker that she is willing, and going, to be a Battle-Closet Prayer Warrior for! PLEASE, PLEASE HEED this EXTREMELY IMPORTANT WARNING! Your intended filmmaker could be at risk if this warning is NOT heeded!
In order to properly warn, I need to explain a phrase that I made up. I have termed the phrase, "Fizzle-Out Prayer Syndrome."
"Fizzle-Out Prayer Syndrome" is when someone is initially excited about really getting into prayer and really battling in prayer, (possibly even with an "over-the-top, hyped-up-type" of excitement), then, as time goes on, and as the initial excitement wears off, the prayer just "fizzles out." A "re-kindling" of hyped-up excitement may resurface after someone or something "triggers" a re-kindling or reminds them of what was expected of them or what was originally committed to, but, it is, then, eventually followed, once again, with a "fizzle out." There is a clear vacillating of "hyped-up" excitement followed by a small, trickling "fizzle-out" or by an outright "crash," both with no real or lasting commitment to the actual battle. "Fizzle-Out Prayer Syndrome" follows extremely similar, and classically characteristic patterns. In my experience, this "Fizzle-Out Prayer Syndrome" CLEARLY indicates a LOVE of the "IDEA" of praying RATHER THAN a God-initiated CALLING to make the FIRM, DEDICATED COMMITMENT to actually praying.
As a prayer warrior since the late 1990's (NOT all of those years have been as a warrior for a filmmaker, but as a prayer warrior in other roles, such as a participant prayer warrior in various prayer groups, and as a prayer leader in several of those groups), I've seen "Fizzle-Out Prayer Syndrome" happen before...so many times...time after time...over and over and over and over again. I've even seen that in MYSELF.
I use the "Fizzle-Out Test" ALL the time to see if a desire to pray is REALLY a "GOD-INITIATED CALLIING" or just a fleeting "Hyped-Up Excitement" that comes and goes with vacillating hyped-up loving the IDEA, followed by fizzle out...with the same pattern repeating itself. Again, "Fizzle-Out Prayer Syndrome" follows extremely similar, and classically characteristic patterns. I use the "Fizzle-Out Test" all the time! It is really quite revealing...and really quite accurate.
It HURTS LIKE CRAZY when someone has initial, hyped-up excitement (WITHOUT the DEEP, God-initiated ROOTS of LASTING, DEDICATED COMMITMENT to BATTLE for someone), then the prayer just fizzles out...only to find a re-kindled hyped-up excitement and love for the "IDEA" of prayer...only for that second-wind of re-kindled excitement to fizzle out again...! I KNOW...I've seen it happen way too many times over the span of many years...in the various prayer groups that I have been a "leader" of...and I've also experienced it personally...it has happened TO me...AND...I have done it as well. (Another person had "hyped-up-initiated" prayer FOR me, then, with time, it just fizzled out, and the prayer stopped. I actually thought that this person was God's answer to my prayers to send a Battle Prayer Warrior to ME because I NEED one myself. I was SOOOO disappointed when the prayer stopped. However, I was NOT dependent upon this person's prayers to cover me like I am suggesting, for the purposes in this book, that a Battle Warrior for a Filmmaker should cover the filmmaker! Additionally, I have done that to others too - filmmakers and non-filmmakers.) I have been a battle prayer warrior for many years, and I KNOW that NO one is exempt from this "Fizzle-Out Prayer Syndrome"...not even the MOST seasoned battle prayer warriors!
That's because, the calling, from God, for each particular prayer case and each particular person to pray for...as well as each particular person to DO the praying, is just that...a CALLING FROM GOD...Otherwise, we will NOT have the strength, endurance, or even desire to persevere under the enormous pressure and difficulty that it takes to MAINTAIN being a Battle Warrior! It HAS to originate in GOD'S HEART, NOT in our own desires! WE cannot just say, "Oh, yeah...I'd LOVE to be a Battle Warrior for THAT person...or...in THAT group...or...for THAT cause!!!!" That's NOT how it works...and if that is how it starts, it will NOT last...it will only fizzle out.
At this time, let me interject that there is NO SHAME NOR CONDEMNATION in what I am writing...the "calling" from God is either there or it is not. That is GOD'S choice, and NOT our choice...and there is NO SHAME NOR CONDEMNATION in how HE chooses to call us to best serve and glorify Him!
Also, I believe with all my heart that "Fizzle-Out Prayer Syndrome" is God's built-in "safety mechanism." HE knows how HE created us...with what giftings, callings, strengths, interests, etc, that HE can say, to any of us, something like, "Okay, I want you to go in THIS direction. I KNOW you are extremely excited and YOU THINK you WANT to go in that other direction, but I have not called you to go there and do that...THAT, although you LOVE the "IDEA" of that, was NOT created for you. See this over here??? THIS is what I created for you to do...trust me, I KNOW what is best for you, and what you think you want and what you love the idea of is not always what is best. I know how to make your life count for Me in INCREDIBLE ways, and I know what will bring you the ultimate joy...as well as I know what will wear you out or overburden you. My yoke is easy and My burden is light. I will allow the love of the ideas of that over there to fizzle out, and show you that it was never really meant for you anyway! If you will follow ME, I will lead you to great places, but you need to be willing to let Me lead where I call you...for where I call you is where I want you and where you will SOAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Trust me, the only reason I KNOW all this is because (1) I've experienced "Fizzle-Out" myself...too many times...yuck! And (2) AND I've been in MANY prayer groups over the years, being a "Leader" in several of them...and I've seen it happen in them too...many, many, many times! I've seen "Fizzle-Out" in action over and over and over and over again.......
Unfortunately, the end result is still always the same...leaving behind a lingering, painful, and confusing trail of pain, heartache, and disillusionment...with lasting, lingering, nagging, "But, I THOUGHT...(you were committed...you were called...you wanted to do this...you told me you WOULD do this...we were in it together...we were in it together the second time around...you were committed the second time around...you were really, REALLY excited about it the second time around.............) Fill in the blank...
If we, as Battle Prayer Warriors for our filmmakers, fizzle out, where does that leave our filmmakers as it relates to our prayers for them? Unprotected, and uncovered in prayer...vulnerable...a perfect target for demonic attacks against him, his family, and his ministry...that's where that leaves them. If we LOVE the IDEA of being a Battle Warrior for our filmmaker, and prematurely think we are ready to commit to actually being a Battle Warrior, yet our prayers for him just "fizzle-out," that leaves our filmmakers not only unprotected and vulnerable to enemy attacks, but also could leave them hurt and disillusioned. (I know how it feels. Remember, it happened to ME when I thought someone had committed to battling FOR ME! It hurts like crazy when reality sets in that the prayer just "fizzled out!") That's not what we want for our filmmakers!
Battle Warriors, no matter how great their "intentions," and no matter how MUCH they WANT to pray...or how much they LOVE the "IDEA" of praying, do NOT vacillate between "hyped-up excitement, in love with the "IDEA" of being a Battle Warrior, and "fizzled-out, almost-non-existent commitment" with NO (or very little) actual prayer! If there truly is a God-ordained calling, that leaves no room for vacillating. "Hyped-up excitement and loving the "IDEA" of being a Battle Warrior are NOT the same things as actually BEING a Battle Warrior. The two are so radically different...as far as the east is from the west.
Believe me...BATTLING in prayer is NOT exciting! It is pretty much everything BUT exciting! It's messy, ugly, exhausting, demanding, draining, time-consuming, and even dangerous!
As a radically committed Battle Warrior, I have learned that, as stated in the chapter, BEFORE My Battle-Closet – While Still Starry-Eyed in Dreamy LaLa Land,
"Praying for filmmakers is NOT a dreamy fantasy; it is a brutal battle! I learned VERY QUICKLY that this is no “dreamy fantasy!” I learned VERY QUICKLY that I was called to fight in a brutal BATTLE, and there were going to be slaughtered casualties if I didn't snap out of “Starry-Eyed, Dreamy LaLa Land,” pick up my weapons of warfare, enter the battle, and fiercely fight to gain the victory!"
Battling for my prayer assignment is NOT exciting! While battling for my prayer assignment, I've gone far beyond crying to the point of extreme weeping for him. My soul has bled more tears than I can count battling for my prayer assignment. It is excruciatingly painful both physically and emotionally. Because I've chosen to battle, I've lost even more of my health than I had before I started. I've sacrificed my time, my health, my desires, my wants, my needs, my money, and my sleep. I've gone without. When other people are relaxing in front of the tv, I am BATTLING! When other people are out having fun, I am BATTLING! When other people are sleeping, I'm BATTLING! When other people are enjoying great health, I am BATTLING THROUGH EXTRAORDINARILY HORRIBLE PAIN AND PHYSICAL SUFFERING...BUT I'M STILL BATTLING! I even almost lost my life. And I BATTLED when I should have gone to the emergency room! (I am NOT suggesting that anyone do that! PLEASE use wisdom and common sense!) And I still CONTINUE to BATTLE today!
If ANYONE loves the IDEA of being a Battle Warrior WITHOUT possessing the CALLING from GOD, it will NOT last...it WILL "Fizzle Out!" It just SCREAMS against our human nature to make such EXTREME sacrifices like THAT for another person...The ONLY way we can do that, survive, and continue to do that over and over again, and still survive is THROUGH GOD and HIS CALLING! BATTLING sucks the very life right out of me...yet GOD fills me up...and BREATHES HIS VERY LIFE RIGHT INTO ME...AND...amazingly, in the midst of ALL that tremendous pain and suffering, God has managed to cause me to SOAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT is the exciting part!
However, if there is ever an "inaccurate" thought that the IDEA of being a Battle Warrior is exciting, but there is no commitment to the actual battle, we have failed our intended filmmaker. And if my book "inspires" people too much, to the point of just stirring up "hyped-up" excitement without truly informing of the horrific nature of the battle and the extreme, radical commitment necessary, then I am the one that has failed filmmakers.
I am NOT saying that a person interested in praying cannot pray for a filmmaker! Please, please, PLEASE understand that, of course, I would NEVER stop someone from praying for another person! However, if one is interested in being a Battle Warrior for her intended filmmaker that passes the test of time as well as passes the "Fizzle-Out Test" with flying colors, then THAT NEEDS to ORIGINATE with GOD first. That is why I wrote in the chapter, WAITING for a God-ordained Invitation Before Jumping into the Closet:
"If you are interested in becoming a “Battle-Closet Prayer Warrior” for a filmmaker, my suggestion is to pray. That may sound simple and obvious. Just pray. Pray for your filmmaker. Pray for growth in his relationship with the Lord. Pray for his family. Pray for his health, safety, and protection. Pray for his tv shows and movies. Pray for his ministry...While you are praying for your filmmaker, ask God if it is His plan for you to continue praying for this filmmaker from a distance, or if He is calling you to come alongside your filmmaker more personally. Ask God if He is calling you to become a “Battle-Closet Prayer Warrior” for this filmmaker. Even if you do not yet have the answer to that prayer, ask Him, that if He is indeed calling you into a more relational prayer ministry to this filmmaker, to give you a “Divine opportunity” to connect with your filmmaker. Pray for your filmmaker to find you. Let me emphasize the last suggestion: Pray for your filmmaker to find you! God is more than able! KEEP PRAYING until you either receive a firm, “No,” or until something happens. It may take some time, but if it is in His will, God can, and more than likely will, be working in you and in your filmmaker to orchestrate “just the right” moment for the two of you to connect...Be patient if it does not happen as quickly as you would like. Enjoy the growth process, knowing that, as you allow God to mature you, you will become a much more effective intercessor for your filmmaker...and isn't that what you want? So, wait for God's perfect time, do not rush it, and PLEASE allow GOD to set up your “God-ordained moment” with your filmmaker. Please do not initiate contact that has not been initiated by God first! Remember the CALLING of God cannot be taken away. (my paraphrase – please see Romans 11:29) If GOD has ORDAINED this relationship before He laid the foundations of the world, HE will “cause” it to happen - in HIS time and in HIS way – for HIS glory!"
So, Battle-Closet Prayer Warriors and those who are yet to enter the battle, just pray. And, as you let God do the rest, enjoy where HE has called you to be right now. No matter how much you LOVE the IDEA of being a Battle Warrior for your intended filmmaker, do NOT FORCE a calling that is not there. And do NOT FORCE your way into the battle if GOD has not led you there. If you are still in a dreamy state of loving the “idea” more than receiving, and waiting for, the “calling” and the strength and God-given willingness to commit, there may be slaughtered casualties if you force your way into a battle that God has not ordained for you. You do not want that for your intended filmmaker or for yourself. You may be doing more harm than good if you force your way into a battle that is not yours. (I've seen it happen.) If and/or when God strategically places you deep into the brutal, brutal battle, you will know it is truly His calling. Until then, soar with Him right where you are! Soar with Him in the present, as you pray GOD'S way for your intended filmmaker. Whether God has called and ordained, before He laid the foundations of the world, for you to simply pray, or whether He has called and ordained, before He laid the foundations of the world, for you to enter deep, deep into the brutal, brutal battle with a radical, sacrificial commitment, just be obedient to pray...GOD'S way! It is HIS choice how He calls each of us to best glorify, and soar, with Him! So, just soar with Him right where you are!
What Practical Application Nugget Did We Learn?
If ANYONE loves the IDEA of being a Battle Warrior WITHOUT possessing the CALLING from GOD, it will NOT last...it WILL "Fizzle Out!" It just SCREAMS against our human nature to make such EXTREME sacrifices like THAT for another person...The ONLY way we can do that, survive, and continue to do that over and over again, and still survive is THROUGH GOD and HIS CALLING! Therefore, enjoy where HE has called you to be right now. Soar with Him in the present, as you pray GOD'S way for your intended filmmaker. Whether God has called and ordained, before He laid the foundations of the world, for you to simply pray, or whether He has called and ordained, before He laid the foundations of the world, for you to enter deep, deep into the brutal, brutal battle with a radical, sacrificial commitment, just be obedient to pray...GOD'S way! It is HIS choice how He calls each of us to best glorify, and soar, with Him! So, Battle-Closet Prayer Warriors and those who are yet to enter the battle, just pray. No matter how much you LOVE the IDEA of being a Battle Warrior for your intended filmmaker, do NOT FORCE a calling that is not there. And do NOT FORCE your way into the battle if GOD has not led you there. Just pray, and enjoy where HE has called you to be right now. If and/or when God strategically places you deep into the brutal, brutal battle, you will know it is truly His calling. Until then, soar with Him right where you are!
Practical Application Power Prayer
Divine Battle Victor, You know the calling You have placed upon my life. You know whether or not You have called me to become a Battle Warrior for my intended filmmaker. You also know if my excitement is the type that will not last under the extreme pressure of the brutal battle. You know what is best for my intended filmmaker, as well as what is best for me. May YOUR will be done in both of our lives...my intended filmmaker's and mine. Ultimately, I only want YOUR best for both of us. Protect both my intended filmmaker and me from any hyped-up excitement that will only fizzle out. Help me to pray for my intended filmmaker only as YOU are leading...nothing less...and, even if I love the idea, not even anything "more" than what YOU are leading. That is a way that everyone can remain in the center of Your perfect will without getting hurt. Thank You, God. YOU are the ULTIMATE VICTOR of the battle. Help me to yield to Your battle orders for me as it relates to my intended filmmaker, no matter the size or intensity of the prayers. And regardless of the size and intensity of the prayers You are calling me to pray, may the size and intensity of my obedience please and glorify You...ALWAYS! May my intended filmmaker and I both SOAR with You, regardless of my involvement in his life! AMEN!