My very first course in college was a literature class where I learned a couple of really important lessons. One, I was not as good of a writer as I thought (the first of many academic ego blows delivered that semester), and two, a lot of literature that resonates with us has Biblical themes and imagery. I realize now this isn’t surprising, given that the very design of our being would of course be drawn to the stories that reflect it.
Fast forward to years working at a local college, and a professor there offered a seminar course in identifying Biblical themes in the Harry Potter series. Harry, the chosen child, James & Lily Potter’s grave inscription, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26), and Dumbledore’s, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:19), the evil that is always attempting to destroy good, and (spoiler alert!) the sacrifice at the end that overcomes it all.
Of course, Harry Potter or any work of fiction (or non-fiction for that matter) is not the guiding light we follow. That’s what the Bible is for. But, I do appreciate it when a movie or story lends itself to a visual that helps me. That’s what I wanted to share today.
In the final Harry Potter movie, Hogwarts finds itself under attack from Voldemort. In an effort to protect themselves, Professor McGonagall calls on students and professors alike to take action. In addition to mobilizing some pretty cool stone soldiers, many of the adults step forward and begin casting protective spells into the sky, collectively forming a shield over the people and the place they love. It’s a powerful scene and, one that quite literally brings tears to my eyes as I think about it in the context of prayer.
While magical spells are of course fictional, the prayers we offer are not. When you speak words of protection, intercession, breakthrough, or freedom over your people and your places, you are contributing to something. It is as though each word you utter sends out power we cannot imagine, calling on God on their behalf. It is the shield we have the privilege to ask for through our connection to Him because of His sacrifice for us.
This week, as you pray over your children, your family, your friends, or your community, you are not just saying words. You are invoking the powerful privilege we are given in Christ to contribute to their protection, breakthroughs, and realization of His love. It is a blessing to them and a blessing to us to be a part of this protecting of the village, “in Jesus name.”
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16, ESV).