Alex and Stephen Kendrick’s fifth faith-based drama War Room is scheduled to release August 28, 2015. After films on marriage, fatherhood, and faith-based living, this one focuses on prayer, mentoring and discipleship. With spiritual battles encompassing us, Christians often forget that we must fight our battles on our knees. This film features New York Times bestselling author Priscilla Shirer in her debut role as a wife who learns that prayer is a powerful weapon.
Also starring in the film are Alex Kendrick, T. C. Stallings (Courageous), Bible Study Leader Beth Moore, and Comedian Michael J. The film follows Tony and Elizabeth Jordan (T.C. Stallings and Priscilla Shirer), a middle class couple who appears to have it all. Their seemingly perfect marriage has evolved into a war zone, and their daughter is collateral damage.
Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie), an older woman, advises Elizabeth to fight for her family on her knees. Miss Clara’s war room is a closet where she goes to war for those she loves. As Miss Clara mentors Elizabeth, she grows stronger in her faith. Eventually, Elizabeth passes on what she has learned to her daughter, Danielle (Alena Pitts). Sensing the rift in her own family, Danielle makes her own prayer closet.
Sonoma Christian Home previewed War Room at the 2015 National Religious Broadcaster’s Convention. The Kendrick brothers sat down with us for an interview about their inspiring, upcoming film. SCH Contributor Ginny Dent Brant reports.
SCH: What led you to make a movie on prayer?
SK: We spent a year asking the Lord what the next movie should be about. He focused us on prayer. He gave Alex a storyline idea about a couple struggling in their marriage and how prayer was going to impact that. At the same time He was teaching us and calling us to deeper levels of prayer in our personal walk with Him. In looking back, it’s the natural progression for us as we see where the culture is going, the needs of the church, and what we’ve experienced in our own lives.
We grew up in a praying home with praying parents, landed in a praying church (Sherwood Baptist), and began our film making in prayer. We’ve seen when we pray specifically, God answers specifically. And when we don’t, those needs are not addressed. We’ve learned to pray about everything—everything in the kitchen sink. The Apostle Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing” and in Philippians 4 to “be anxious for nothing.” He also tells us in Ephesians 6 to “put on the armor of God,” and then get busy praying. So we’ve learned and we tell people, “Turn every worry into prayer, and pray about every detail.”
When we got the storyline idea, saw how He was working in our own lives, and saw what was happening in the culture, there was a sense of confirmation in our hearts that we were going in the right direction. God keeps confirming that we have made the exact film He wanted us to make.
SCH: With terrorism spreading around the world, the foundation of the family disintegrating before our eyes, and our entire culture moving towards Sodom and Gomorrah, do you believe prayer is the best weapon we have to do battle?
SK: Prayer is one of our best weapons, but we must also have a repentant heart and use the whole armor of God to do our battles. God’s word is presented as an offensive sword in dealing with the issues in our culture. But we must pray at all times. Our obedience in line with proclaiming and living the Word of God along with prayer are the ways we should deal with spiritual warfare. So which part of the armor is most important? It’s all important.
AK: We must be careful about pointing to the wickedness of our culture, when the church has not been the light and salt we were called to be. If the church had been doing what we were suppose to, we would have impacted our culture in a different way than we have. We’re fragmented and we’ve been selfish. So we have to repent. Judgment starts in the house of God. We must repent first ourselves, and then collectively call on God to unify us.
Only His Spirit can bring a Great Awakening—we can’t bring it. In the Old Testament, when Israel was right with God even the nations around her were blessed. But when Israel was wicked, it was bad everywhere. God withheld his hand of protection and blessing, and there was judgment and hardship. He even warned her what would happen if she did not repent, and it came.
SK: When prosperity comes, we tend to forget the Lord. God warned them in Deuteronomy 6 not to forget Him when they prospered. That is exactly what is happening to us.
SCH: I agree with you. If we as Christians in America had used our prosperity to further the gospel, we would not be in this backslidden situation. Prosperity tends to cause us to fall down the slippery slope towards self-centeredness instead of being centered on God.
SK: In Acts 2 you see the Christians using their prosperity to meet needs and further the gospel, and share.
SCH: T. C. Stallings has played a variety of roles from the pastor in Jackson’s Run, the hoodlum in Courageous, and now the successful business man in this movie who is standing in the need of prayer. Why did you choose him for this particular role?
AK: We had worked with TC in Courageous and saw his growing faith. We admired that he was more serious about his walk with God than his film career. When it came time to do War Room, he was our first choice because he desires to live the principles that you see presented in this movie. He is faithful to his wife, and he wants to honor God with every role he accepts. He is the kind of actor we want to give a platform to.
SCH: Priscilla Shirer plays his wife in her debut role as an actress. What led you to cast her in this role?
AK: The Lord led us to her. Priscilla also believes the message in this movie and will speak to it. I had chills when we shot a scene near the end of the movie where Miss Clara challenges Elisabeth to invest her life in other women, and teach them how to pray and fight their battles on their knees. Priscilla was the perfect person for this because she does this in her ministry every day, and she loves our Lord. She lives the message in this movie and will use it in her platform.
SCH: Priscilla’s daughter was also phenomenal. How did you find her?
SK: She is actually related to Priscilla, and she suggested that we allow her to try out for the part. At the try-outs, she clearly beat out all the other girls who had professional acting experience. Alena is the daughter of Jonathan and Wynter Pitts. Jonathan works with Tony Evan’s ministry and Wynter is Priscilla’s cousin.
SCH: Your movie gives a clear message on mentoring and discipleship. Do you believe the church needs to see the importance of mentoring and discipleship, and what they can do in the life of the church?
AK: Yes (emphatically). In the New Testament, Paul tells us that we need Godly women to invest in the younger women. And that is not going on enough in the church. And the same thing is true for the guys. We’ve got to have more mentoring.
SCH: I’ve watched your movies progress from low budget using mainly volunteers to higher budgets and hiring professional actors. With each movie, God continues to open up new doors. What doors has He opened for you through this film?
SK: He has given us favor with leaders of ministries, and political and cultural leaders. He has given us the opportunity to encourage and challenge them. He has also opened doors with colleges and universities who are beginning film schools. We are asking Him to help us be good stewards of the resources and platforms that He has led us to. There are many wonderful ministries that have invested in and poured into our lives and our marriages.
SCH: Your movies are geared to those who attend church. What are you doing to reach those who may not darken the doors of a church, but need to hear this message?
AK: We feel the Lord has calling us first to exhort and edify the body of Christ. If the church is not living these principles, the world will see us as a bunch of hypocrites. We are called to minister to the church first knowing there will be bleed over. The gospel presentation is in each of our movies, and we’ve had of lot of people to respond to that. Our primary purpose is to motivate the church to be salt and light. If the salt loses its savor, it is good for nothing. Although we may need Christian films presenting the truth in a secular fashion, our flavor is to exhort and edify the church.
SK: Ed Stetzer said this morning that a new stat came out saying four out of ten Americans watch Christian films. There are a lot of people who stumble across our movies on ITunes, Redbox, and Netflix and God works in their lives through it. And many times, believers will use our films to help a friend or nonbeliever who is struggling.
SCH: What is planned as a follow-up to teach God’s people about the power of prayer?
SK: There are two curriculums that LifeWay is putting out. One that uses movie clips before the movie hits theaters to give an overview of lessons on prayer. There is a second one on training in prayer which will come out when the movie releases. It will help churches go to the school of prayer and take their prayer lives to the next level.
Alex and I are writing a book called The Battle Plan for Prayer which, like The Love Dare and The Resolution for Men, will come out when the movie releases and follow-up on the message in the movie. We have also written three children’s books to help kids of all ages connect with the powerful messages of the film. Priscilla Shirer has written a book for women which is a battle plan for prayer called Fervent.
Alex and Stephen Kendrick work together to glorify God through Kendrick Brother Films. They recently brought their brother Shannon, who formerly worked with IBM, to work with them. They hope that this movie will be a great appetizer to whet the appetites of people to want to engage in prayer, and will be one of the fuel tanks to supercharge and unite the church towards revival. The Kendrick brothers are gifted at sensing what the church needs and God’s timing, but that requires lives dedicated to prayer.
If we return to prayer, passionately actively seeking the Lord,
And we’re right with Him and each other,
God can do anything in our lives.”
Alex Kendrick from the War Room Promotional Video
John Bornschein, Vice President of the National Day of Prayer Task Force believes, “The wake of War Room‘s impact will be immeasurable. . . a catalyst for the next great awakening in America!” Pastor Brian Dollar of High Voltage Ministries applauds War Room, “As a powerful movie that’s sure to ignite a movement and challenge you to pray like never before.”
From the creators of Fireproof and Courageous, War Room is available on DVD December 22.
If the church began working together in the same way the Kendrick brothers have done in making this film, with an attitude of prayer, repentance, and mentoring, what might God do through us. For more information go to War Room.com
Don’t forget to check out The Kendrick Brothers – Love Dare Series for Couples and Parents