By Lorraine Lattanzi
During the early years at ccdelco, ministry training was offered, so I decided to sign up for the class. We were instructed to take a Spiritual Gifts Evaluation in order to identify our gifts. The results showed that my primary gift was intercession. At that point, my prayer life involved begging God and pleading rather than thanking and believing Him for the answers to prayer I was seeking. These prayers were too shallow and needed more depth—so I cried out to Jesus for understanding.
Shortly after my prayer in 2015, a movie was released in the local theaters called War Room, and I couldn’t wait to see it. The movie changed my life by altering my perceptions on the power of prayer and the importance of creating a sacred place to pray within my home.
After watching the movie, I was embarrassed to even call myself an intercessor (although God was never embarrassed of me and was always excited to talk to me in prayer—even if I thought I was getting it all wrong). In the movie, the main character, Miss Clara, is a seasoned, feisty, African-American grandmother who prayed fervently in what she called her prayer closet (praying in secret as Matthew 6:6 suggests). After emptying her closet, she hung scripture verses on the walls and pictures of her family members, friends, and neighbors, as well as specific prayer requests that targeted all the areas of influence in her life, including the salvation of her loved ones and even her enemies.
I knew that I needed to follow her example and obey the Word of God by creating a secluded place to pray myself. So I did just that in my own home, using objects that reminded me of God, prayer, the people in my life, etc. I created a DIY prayer closet that helped me to remember how to pray according to Scripture, the nature of my loving God, and the desires in my heart that He was calling me to pray into existence.
Not long after the movie was released, Priscilla Shirer, daughter of Dr. Tony Evans, who played the wife, Elizabeth, in the movie, took time to write and release the book Fervent, which was a follow-up manual on her experiences with prayer and the making of the movie itself. It described a lot of conflict within her family during filming and how she was able to use prayer as a weapon to navigate its success.
In ten chapters, she covers a multitude of strategic prayers that are Bible-based and that women can use to gain victory over issues in their lives or spheres of influence. Her prayers target the places we all are susceptible to attack from the enemy who seeks to “steal, kill, and destroy,” including: our identity, fears, hurts, relationships, the past, our passion, purity, family, pressures, and focus. She even includes prayer cards at the back of her book to help women remember who they are in Christ as they go about their day; whether in the car, at home, at work, or at school, these cards can be used as visual reminders of who we are and how to pray everywhere we go.
After reading her book, I learned even more about how to approach the throne of grace by the authority given to us in the power of Jesus’ name (Hebrews 4:16). Now, when I go into my prayer space, I begin by addressing three strategic prayer points: repentance, restoration, and responsibility. After searching my heart and confessing personal sin, I ask for God’s forgiveness. I then confess anything my family, church, and nation has valued or looked to above God himself. After this time of confession, I begin to pray for restoration within my own life, marriages, families, schools, and our government, as Jesus told us to pray for heaven to invade earth (Matthew 6:9-13).
Finally, my prayers focus on the impact we should have as Christians on society through the gospel of love; for pastors to preach with boldness; and for God to protect America with His mighty hand (Deuteronomy 7:19). I conclude by giving thanks to the Lord in advance for answering all of these prayers, as He is our good Father who loves to give good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:9-11). You may pray differently, which is perfectly fine. It’s just the format God has spoken to my heart for now.
As a retired teacher and widow, I now live a life devoted to prayer and worship full time, and I’ve seen breakthroughs in so many areas of my life and in the lives of others. Testimonies of healing from illnesses, financial provision, and encouraging words from the Spirit about the future are just regular occurrences for me and the ones I pray with in community.
And the most important part is not any one of these outcomes. When I enter into my prayer space each day, the only goal is to set my gaze upon the Father, experience intimacy with the Son, and receive revelation through the power of the Holy Spirit. There’s truly nothing better than experiencing the Father’s love and communing with Him each day.