Ladyhawk. It’s an old film released in 1985. Matthew Broderick, in one of his first film roles, plays a leading part as a young boy, Philippe Gaston, aka, Mouse. The film is a touching love story of mythic proportions, full of medieval scenery, chivalrous knights and beautiful horses. The cinematography is stunning.
But I still think of Ladyhawk as the movie that taught me how to pray. I was a new Christian and had just come across these verses in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I was especially struck by the phrase, “pray continually.” I was reasonably familiar with the idea of asking God for things. That had been my go-to method on the rare occasions when I thought I needed something from God. But pray continually? I was wondering what that meant exactly, what it would be like to do that, when I watched Ladyhawk and met that boy named Mouse. They called him Mouse because of his ability to get in and out of places through small holes. You see Mouse was a thief. The movie opens with him escaping through the sewer system of a medieval prison. As he is quite literally worming his way through the pipes he prays and bargains with God. He promises that if God gets him out, he’ll never steal again. He ends up in a river – yes, God gets him out – but it isn’t long before he breaks his promise by stealing a man’s money pouch, apologizing to God as he does so. We follow Mouse as he continues to find a way to survive.
And all that time, he is talking to God.
And that’s how I learned what “pray continually,” or “without ceasing,” as the King James version says, really means. God was so real to Mouse that he conversed with him as though He were walking beside him, traveling with him every moment of the day, even as he continued to get into trouble and out again.
I don’t recommend bargaining with God, or apologizing to Him as you disobey Him. But it was Mouse’s faith that impressed me. Even though he was a rather unrepentant thief, his belief in a very real God who could and would help him in spite of all his failings, stirred my heart. And I began to practice what Mouse taught me. I began to talk to Jesus as though he were standing beside me every moment of the day, not just to ask Him for something, but just to talk. Like Mouse, there have even been times when I’ve had to be careful that I wasn’t talking out loud, lest someone think I was a brick or two short of a full load.
That practice, teamed with the other parts of that verse, being thankful and rejoicing always, has brought God close, shown me such stunning answers to prayer that I could barely breath and taught me that Mouse was right. Jesus hears you as clearly as someone who is walking beside you. He will stay with you, even when you fail continually.
For this is God’s will for us all, in Christ Jesus.