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Kendrick film ‘War Room’ lauded by Baptists

EDITOR’S NOTE: Learn more about available “War Room” resources.

NASHVILLE (BP) — “War Room,” the latest film by brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, is being applauded by Southern Baptist leaders and others as a picture of God’s power and an effective tool for encouraging Christians in prayer.

Starring noted Bible teachers Priscilla Shirer in a lead role and Beth Moore among supporting cast, the film opens in wide release Aug. 28 in the U.S., with advance showings a day earlier in limited cities.

Endorsers include Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church of northwest Arkansas, who has during his presidency focused heavily on prayer for spiritual awakening and revival.

“I love the movie War Room because it personifies the power of God that has the opportunity to change a person’s life,” Floyd said in a statement on the film’s official website, “and that is exactly what we need to be committed to.”

Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Frank S. Page called it “a powerful movie depicting an even greater power: the power of prayer. It will challenge you spiritually and touch you emotionally.”

The movie is the Kendrick brothers’ first project independent of Sherwood Pictures, the filmmaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., where both brothers are associate pastors. It is also their first offering since the successful “Courageous,” which grossed $34.5 million at the box office four years ago and sold 5 million DVDs.

The film features Shirer as a young wife and mother who heeds the advice of an older, wiser woman to establish a room in her home for prayer — a war room — and to pray earnestly for her husband, marriage, child and home.

LifeWay Christian Resources President and CEO Thom Rainer called War Room one of the best and most impactful movies he has ever seen.

“My prayer is that the Kendrick Brothers’ new movie will encourage believers to develop meaningful prayer lives and inspire churches to enhance their prayer ministries,” Rainer said.

Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, noted. “Let me encourage pastors around the world to use this tool, the War Room movie and resources that surround it, to encourage God’s people to be effective and fervent in prayer.”

Alex Kendrick, who directed the movie with his brother Stephen, told Baptist Press in an earlier interview that the movie is intended to be inspirational. See related story.

“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,” he said, “and so we’re excited about that.”

In the same interview, Stephen Kendrick called prayer the best tool for preempting spiritual attacks.

“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.”

Plugged In, a resource of Focus on the Family, gave its highest rating of five plugs to the PG-rated movie, offering only a “light” content caution for kids, teens and adults, pointing out the mention of wine and the contemplation of an extramarital affair.

Film critic Phil Boatwright also finds merit in the movie’s inspirational elements.

“I once heard pastor Charles Stanley talk about his own prayer room. As I recall, it is some sort of closet where he can shut out the world’s distractions and focus on spiritual matters. He understands that God isn’t some celestial servant we call upon as if He were a trained English butler,” Boatwright told Baptist Press. “True prayer is more about how we relate to our Heavenly Father than the bucket list we bring before Him — or, should be. War Room is all about that simple, yet profound truism.”

The Southern Baptist North American Mission Board has linked its Evangelism Resource Center (ERC) prayer line to the War Room website, offering prayer at 888-537-8720, and through the FindItHere.com online chat. The ERC offers personalized prayer 24 hours a day, 365 days a year all over the U.S., offering callers the life-changing hope found only in Jesus, and pointing them to local churches for discipleship, according to the website.

The Prayer and Crisis Referral Network, founded by husband and wife team Linda and David Morrison, is also linked to the War Room website, offering prayer around the clock at 844-577-2937.

The movie’s release coincides with the release of a novelization of the movie, written by Moody Radio host and award-winning author Chris Fabry and published by Tyndale House Publishers. Bible study resources on prayer also complement the film.

The film is a TriStar Pictures release, as was Courageous.