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Kendrick brothers: fight battles through prayer

[SLIDESHOW=39793]NASHVILLE (BP) — Filmmakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick will tell you they believe prayer can change America.

The Southern Baptist duo, of Kendrick Brothers Productions, acknowledged they picked a good time to promote and release their latest film, “War Room,” focusing on the power of prayer. Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd has been urging prayer for revival around the country since his election last June, and this year’s annual meeting theme is “Great Awakening: Clear Agreement, Visible Union, Extraordinary Prayer.”

“We’re very grateful [for the SBC’s focus on prayer],” Stephen, producer/co-writer of the film, told Baptist Press while promoting the brothers’ fifth film in Nashville at the National Religious Broadcasters International Christian Media Convention in February. “And we believe that for such a time as this that Southern Baptists need to unite and prioritize prayer above everything else,” he said.

Both men shared how prayer has impacted their lives and how they hope War Room will prompt more churches to bathe all of their decisions in prayer.

“… We need to be repenting and we need to be humbling ourselves before the Lord and we need to fight our battles in prayer first,” Stephen told BP. “And we hope that churches will use War Room as a flag to wave in their cities and in their communities and on Facebook to say let’s redirect our attention away from our best-laid plans and let’s start laying ourselves before the Lord and let Him work.”

This is the Kendrick brothers’ first project independent of Sherwood Pictures, the filmmaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga. Both men are active members and associate pastors at Sherwood Baptist. Their other movies include “Courageous,” “Fireproof” and “Facing the Giants.”

In War Room, the character Elizabeth Jordan — played by Christian author and Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer — discovers through the help of a godly woman how prayer can help save her struggling marriage. See related story here.

While Fireproof in 2008 also featured a couple — played by Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea — with a struggling marriage, Alex noted their latest film takes on the theme of marriage from a different perspective.

Alex, director and co-writer, said the difference is Fireproof “focused on what scriptural love looks like, especially as led by the husband in a marriage. In War Room, it was the power of prayer and we came at it from the angle of the wife, and more specifically, an African American couple … and this is the first of our [five] movies where we came at it from the wife’s perspective.”

He added, “I’m hoping that the movie inspires everyone … wives to fight for their husbands the right way, for husbands to fight for their wives the right way in prayer, and so we’re excited about that.”

While many might contend the divorce rate and overall spiritual condition of the U.S. is in the worst shape it has ever been, Stephen said moral decay isn’t new to the country.

“If you look at the condition of America before the first and second Great Awakening, it was bad,” he said. “… But what happened?

“Believers started uniting together, and started praying and humbling themselves before the Lord. And the Lord showed up in a mightily move of the Holy Spirit where hundreds of thousands of people across the nation were being saved.”

If the body of Christ will “become desperate for the Lord on our knees and united together and begin to pray, God will start changing the hearts,” Stephen said.

He added, “If every church in America became a praying church, America would change.”

Both of the Kendrick brothers said prayer transformed their own lives. War Room, like the other films they’ve made, has challenged them to live out the messages they’re sharing with audiences.

“Every film we’ve done, God has had us walk through applying the truth that we’re presenting,” Alex said. “He makes us walk it and apply it to our own lives.”

Alex described the process as “spiritual surgery.”

During the making of their last film, Courageous, that focused on the role of fathers, Alex said he and his brother decided they needed to make changes with how they led their families. While he acknowledged he was already taking his kids to church and teaching them biblical principles “to a degree,” he said Courageous prompted them to be better fathers.

“After Courageous, I began daily devotions with my family, reading through the Scripture, praying over them as an entire family every evening. We turned the TV off,” he said.

With the making of War Room, Alex said he and his brother felt convicted to improve their commitment to prayer.

“The Lord’s made me amp up my prayer life … develop prayer strategies,” Alex said. “So my wife and I can tell you how we’re praying for our kids, how we’re praying for each other, more so than before.”

Before a film is made, the Kendrick brothers spend six months to a year praying for God to show them their next project.

Prayer is the best tool for preempting spiritual attacks, Stephen said.

“Fight your battles in prayer first,” he said. “Fight your battles in your war room, in your prayer closet before you ever go confront this person about this issue, before you go look for the job, before you and your wife sit down and talk about the problems in your marriage, before you confront your rebellious teenager. You meet with the Lord first.”

While hoping their films change lives, Stephen said he and his brother also continue to look for ways to improve technically as filmmakers. Each film they release appears to outdo the previous one, drawing larger audiences, wider recognition and more money at the box office.

Courageous, released in 2011 and made on a budget of $2 million, grossed nearly $34.5 million at the box office and sold more than 5 million DVDs. According to Box Office Mojo, Courageous’ opening weekend ranks fifth all-time among Christian movies, behind “The Passion of the Christ” and the three “Chronicles of Narnia” films.

“We are trying to grow as filmmakers and in each aspect of the filmmaking,” he said. “How can we improve in our writing? How can we improve in our cinematography? What can we do to take the score to the next level? We try to do that with every film.

“… But winning awards, impressing Hollywood is not an agenda or a goal for us at all. We want to honor the Lord with excellent art that will hopefully communicate a message worth hearing. And that’s a higher priority for us.”

The movie is set to release Aug. 28. For more information, go to https://kendrickbrothers.com or Warroomthemovie.com.

    About the Author

  • Shawn Hendricks