Defeat Resistance: Cover Your Next Big Project in Prayer
We all know the feeling...
We sit down at the computer, grab our paint brushes, hoist jars of ingredients to the counter, collect our gemstones and jewelry-making tools, and get ready to do good work. Then... BAM.
Feelings of doubt spring up, paralyzing our hearts. Temptations to procrastinate flood our minds, pulling us away from what's most important. It's even easy to logically justify why this project can and should wait until later.
I'm too tired right now. I should relax and watch Netflix until I feel better.
I'm too new to this. Someone somewhere else is doing this much better than me.
I don't have the money to make this as amazing as I want it to be, so why bother now?
My family thinks I'm making a mistake with this business. Maybe they're right and I should quit.
What we are experiencing is Resistance, and it's an evil tool used by the enemy to keep us from achieving what God has for us to do.
Resistance could look like real obstacles seemingly blocking your path to success (not enough money in your savings account or living in a crippling environment), normal worries that turn into deep-seated doubts ("I'm afraid to fail" turning into "I am a failure, so what's the point?"), and insecurities rising right as you seem to make a breakthrough. See how subtle yet perfectly-timed these forms of Resistance are? At the perfect moment, Satan can twist a worry into a deep wound. And if you're not careful to pick up on it as it's happening, it can bench you from the game.
It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Take every thought captive," doesn't it?
In my experience the amount of Resistance we face is directly related to the power of a project that we're working on or the amount of glory will be given to God upon our success. Since it's much harder to capture overwhelming thoughts in the moment, we need to plan ahead and take preventative measures against Resistance, because it WILL show up in some degree. A powerful way to do this is to fully cover a big (or small) project in prayer.
I don't mean praying once about it and then never praying over it again. I mean praying it all the way through. Beginning to messy middle to end and all the pit stops in between.
Let me tell you about a time I prayed like this and how it helped me defeat Resistance.
When Brand Story Films were Kindred Cinema's primary focus, I experienced Resistance every time I pulled out my camera on shoot day. At every shoot, Resistance looked the same:
- I would experience technical difficulties with our gear even though it had been working fine prior to the problem.
- My team and I would experience environmental situations out of our control (sudden weather problems, street closures and construction, scene interruptions by strangers).
- My client would suddenly feel ill or have a work-related emergency during our scheduled time together and sometimes we would need to postpone or reschedule the shoot as a result.
- I would often be hit with overwhelm or anxiety when shooting, which would paralyze my creativity for several minutes until I reset my mind and started fresh.
- My clients might encounter unexpected fear, anxiety, or grief when telling their stories on camera, and would need to take breaks to gather their thoughts.
Since I'd been working in film for the past six years at this point, none of these Resistance weapons were new to me and I always expected them on the days of my shoots. I came prepared and we were always able to handle any strange situation that came up, not because we could control the issues, but because we had back up plans and were able to think on our feet. I always made sure my clients were well taken care of and most of the time our end product was even better than our original plan because of our adaptability on the project.
HOWEVER, I didn't know that these "technical difficulties" were forms of Resistance. Since I didn't think or know that they were evidence of spiritual attacks, I never treated them as such. So I focused on solving them practically instead of asking for God's supernatural intervention before the day started.
This changed during my last shoot of 2016, when I was working on a huge project I KNEW was beyond my normal capacity as an artist and that God was using to stretch me. I also knew this put me, my team, and my client in the line of enemy fire. I had just learned about Resistance and now that I knew what it was, knew it would come for us and hit hard. We would need to defeat it or it would defeat us first.
Because of the film's sensitive subject matter (childhood trauma and mental health), my well-known client, and the organization's important target audience, I knew I needed to be equipped fully by God to do it justice. I could show up and make a pretty film all on my own... but if we wanted this film to be so impactful that it literally would change the lives of thousands of people, it would need God's fingerprints all over it. The project was bigger than I was and I needed to treat it as such.
So I decided to experiment and cover every step of the film (from pre-production to post-production to first premier) with intentional, bold, audacious prayers... and the results were AMAZING.
Here's how it went down.
How I prayed:
- During pre-production meetings with my client and team members, we started and finished with prayer. We prayed over the project to come, for God to reveal the story he wanted to tell through the film, for him to strengthen our hands for the job, for the audience who would ultimately view it and that their lives would be impacted for good, and for my client's bravery in sharing her testimony on camera. When we encountered new frontier in business or film, we prayed through that too and asked what God would have us do to move the project forward. This gave us the courage to make hard decisions when it was necessary... the same decisions that would have paralyzed us before.
- As I drove down to Orange County for our multi-day shoot in December, I prayed in the car so that the shoot days would be well-covered before I even got to set. I prayed against technical difficulties and weather problems, for a flood of creativity for the whole team, against any sudden sickness, and for an abundance of "God-shots" (God-shots are what I call clips that we capture that are divinely orchestrated or miraculous in nature, like the time I shot a silhouette clip of a young girl and at the perfect moment a seagull flew through the shot). I told God that my team and I were completely dependent on and expectant of him to show us miracles, push us further than we could go on our own, and leave us breathless in the end.
- On the days of the shoot, I made sure to get ready with enough time to sit down and pray through everything again. I prayed against the enemy's weapons of anxiety, low creativity, technical problems, environmental issues and unexpected construction zones, and low-energy of the crew. I filled in my team about this prayer on the drives to location, and they joined me in sending the same prayers up. We continued to spontaneously pray throughout the day whenever we turned the camera on, needed to make a decision, needed to reset our minds, or had a creative idea we wanted to see come to fruition.
- We prayed over the editing process once I returned home, prayed through the revision stages when we made our final edits, prayed as we determined launch strategies, and prayed for our upcoming public premier on Thursday, May 4th!
Practical prayers answered:
During our shoot days the sun was out when we needed it, we had cloud cover when we needed it, all our planned locations (the beach, a friend's home, etc.) had the perfect amount of passerby needed for our shots and had no construction problems that limited our movement, our cameras worked flawlessly, and we had just enough space on our memory cards to capture everything we needed. During the day, our shots and the timing of it all were so wonderful that we even got to take breaks for coffee and long lunches where we were able to regain energy and fellowship with each other without worrying about running out of time. This is PRICELESS on shoot days because so often, eating is last priority and "chasing sunlight" (getting shots before sundown) is our main objective.
Creativity prayers answered:
During our energy breaks, our brains were FILLED with imagery for new shots and creativity was running on high for all of us. I remember getting the image of a girl in a dress doing interpretive dance, an image of rain, and an image of a classroom that paired easily with my client's testimony story. I ran these ideas by my team and they were immediately on board. Two of my team members even knew dancers in the area! We immediately contacted the dancers to ask if one was free. One of my teammates also knew a friend who was a teacher, and the friend agreed to let us come to her classroom to shoot some clips there. The only problem in sight? A clear weather forecast all week even though we hoped to get some rainy-day mood shots.
God-shots and miraculous prayers answered:
SO many miracles happened on set than I can fit in one blog post, but here were two noticeable ones. First, on the third morning of shooting, I woke up to a gray sky and raindrops hitting the window. It was RAINING even though the forecast had said it would be sunny and warm ALL week long. I quickly got dressed and headed to location, and we grabbed as many rainy day shots as we wanted. I even had an umbrella in my trunk that matched my client's outfit! I was astonished by this sudden weather change. That was truly something no human could control. Only God!
The second miracle I want to mention is how the dancer shots worked out. Originally, we were going to drive very far out of our way to shoot a college-aged ballet dancer, but we managed to find two young pre-teen girls skilled in interpretive dance who went to church with one of my team members and could meet us ten minutes from where I was staying! This was HUGE because my client's testimony is about childhood adverse experiences and mental health, so the young girls are the same age as the ones she works with in her organization. The shots we gathered were not only AMAZING because of the girls' talent, but working with TWO dancers instead of one allowed us to use both girls as metaphorical symbols for coming out of hurt and into HOPE.
Something else that was not a miracle per-say but was a huge WOW for us is that my client mentioned she was experiencing side pain during our shoot together after an injury she had the day before we got to town. We made sure to help her take it easy and we took breaks whenever she needed one. When her xrays came back after the next day, we learned she had broken a rib and had unknowingly powered through a day of shooting! Fortunately, the side pain greatly diminished after that. But that's just a testimony to her strength and resilience! Wow, God!
A moment of choice:
I remember experiencing extreme Resistance from the enemy when shooting the dancers during my last day on set. I had just started shooting while the girls were starting to dance, and my creativity suddenly took a big hit. Anxiety and overwhelm set in immediately. It was almost like a physical blow to the stomach... all the breath was sucked out of me. Usually, I'd just put my head down and try to fight it alone with practical steps (by changing camera angles, etc.), but I knew at once that this was Resistance and I needed to speak up to allow others to pray over me. In that moment, I saw the Resistance for what it really was (a spiritual attack) and I chose to be vulnerable by naming and fighting it publically.
I told my crew to pause for a moment and that I needed prayer to reset my creativity and give me a sound mind. My teammate Linda joined me in prayer, and I let God step into battle for me. Within five minutes the Resistance was GONE, the flood of creativity was back, and we were shooting again. This is a prime example of taking a thought captive AS it is happening. Because my energy had taken a hit and my brain was spinning into chaos, I couldn't manage an eloquent prayer. I literally just prayed over and over, "God, would you reset my mind? Reset, reset, reset." It was all that I could manage and I prayed this until I felt at peace. It can be that easy! He hears even our simplest prayers.
The dancers were our last scene to shoot. When that was done, Linda and I walked out to our cars, exhausted and depleted from our weekend but in the best way. We had successfully defeated Resistance and accomplished more than we could have dreamed on our shoot because we had invited God into every step of the journey. Even the ones that felt the most mundane, like charging our camera batteries.
What We Learned
God blessed us with favor, miracles, and God-shot after God-shot not because we were the best camera crew on earth... not because we were special in any way... not because we were the only ones who could make a film about the power of overcoming mental health challenges... because we are definitely not ANY of those things.
He blessed us because we asked him to enter in and make this project his.
Those blessings are available to every single one of you, in every single one of your projects. All it takes is INTENTIONAL, BIG, BOLD, AUDACIOUS prayers that might sound crazy if you don't know of the goodness of God... but sound completely REALISTIC for the ones who do.
After all, our God is a God of unstoppable miracles.