Faith and optimism can add years to your life. A bad attitude is like a flat tire. Until you change it, you’re not going anywhere. – Denzel Washington
That’s the Denzel Washington method for prayer. A couple of years ago during an interview for GQ Magazine, the two-time Oscar winner suggested this,
“Put your slippers way under your bed so when you get up in the morning, you have to get on your knees to find them. And while you’re down there, start your day with prayer. Ask for wisdom. Ask for understanding.”
There is no doubt that we can use reminders for the most important things. If I don’t plan a date night my wife then we might not connect properly for a couple of weeks. If I don’t intentionally make time to wrestle with my boys there will always be something “pressing” that will steal that joy. And if I don’t trick myself into prayer, I get tricked into a life without it.
I’ll take Denzel’s advice. He’s been married since 1983, they have four successful children, and He reads the Bible everyday – Book of Eli style.
The Hurricane (my favorite Denzel movie) was raised in a Pentecostal home. His dad was a preacher and while he felt some rebellion as a teenager he’s thankful for his father’s presence and influence. “Everyone I grew up with didn’t have a father. I had a father. My father was a decent man. He was a very spiritual man and a gentleman.” He produced, developed and acted on The Preacher’s Wife as a celebration to his upbringing.
As a preacher and a pastor myself I can only hope that my boys grow up to be the lighter skin version of such a classy man. I honestly have not seen a movie where I thought he did a bad job. Even with a weak script, brother Denzel has always been great. You can tell he values excellence. And you can tell he talks to God.
He’s also had a legit encounter with the Holy Spirit. It happened in the church he still attends, 30 years later.
“The minister was preaching, ‘Just let it go,’ Washington remembers. “I said, ‘I’m going to go with it.’ And I had this tremendous physical and spiritual experience,” he says.
The incident provoked the fear of the Lord in the superstar. “It did frighten me,” he said. “I was slobbering, crying, sweating. My cheeks blew up. I was purging. It was too intense.”
Washington’s experience left him with questions. “It almost drove me away. I called my mother, and she said I was being filled with the Holy Spirit. I was like, ‘Does that mean I can never have wine again?’ (No Denzel. You can still drink wine. It’s cool. It’s biblical: READ MORE HERE)
At various times in his life, Washington considered becoming a preacher. In a 1999 interview he said, “A part of me still says, ‘Maybe, Denzel, you’re supposed to preach. Maybe you’re still compromising.’”
Wouldn’t that be a treat! Denzel at our church next Sunday preaching the Gospel while quoting his own movie lines before inviting people to meet the same Holy Spirit that changed his life forever.
At a commencement speech earlier this year he said, “Number one, put God first in everything you do. Everything that you think you see in me and everything you think I’ve accomplished and everything you think I have… everything I have is by the grace of God, understand that. It’s a gift.”
Good thing is we don’t have to wait till then to respond to his invitation. Let’s give this prayer method a try. Find a way to remind yourself on a daily basis to be grateful, to ask for wisdom, to reach out to Jesus. And when you do, stay there for a couple of minutes, and watch what happens to your daily walk when you make time to be on your knees.
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"Like all good things, prayer requires some discipline. Yet I believe that life with God should seem more like friendship than duty. Prayer includes moments of ecstasy and also dullness, mindless distraction and acute concentration, flashes of joy and bouts of irritation. In other words, prayer has features in common with all relationships that matter." - Philip Yancey