I remember it like it happened last week. I was looking for a good movie to watch and decided to give this new movie about a football team a chance. My “cringe meter” was on high alert as this was a Christian movie and I was so used to being disappointed and even embarrassed by the quality of the production. To my great surprise, the movie, Facing the Giants, was excellent and just as good as many of the Hollywood produced movies that I had seen in the past. In a great irony, our ministry was the publisher for the pastor whose church made that movie and I didn’t even know it at the time. Not long after that we published a book called Prepare for Rain that told the story of Sherwood Baptist Church and why they had chosen to produce movies in the first place. In the years that followed, the Kendrick Brothers (both of whom were Associate Pastors at the church) went on to produce the highly acclaimed films, Fireproof and Courageous.
Today I had the joy of taking my parents to watch their latest project entitled War Room and once again I was not disappointed. In fact, it may be my favorite movie so far. For those who have not seen it (spoiler alert – I will be discussing some of the plot points), this movie is about the power of prayer and its ability to transform relationships. The lead actress (Priscilla Shirer – Tony Evan’s daughter) playing the role of Elizabeth Jordan did a great job portraying a successful real estate agent whose marriage is in trouble. In the movie she meets a woman named Clara who is a real prayer warrior and discovers that Clara’s favorite room in her house is her prayer closet. Without giving in to obvious formulaic choices, the movie demonstrates that prayer is a part of real spiritual warfare. God is at work throughout, but simply praying does not make everything perfect again. Bad choices have consequences and prayer is not a magic formula for winning in every circumstance.
For me the most powerful element in the movie was the emphasis on identifying our true enemy and understanding prayer as a key part of our spiritual battle plan. In a pivotal scene, Clara challenges Elizabeth not to see her husband as the enemy despite what he may have done to her and their marriage. In an extraordinary scene, Elizabeth speaks directly to Satan as she walks through her house reclaiming each room in the name of Jesus and making it clear that she is going on the offensive spiritually. She creates her own prayer closet and begins to take everything to the Lord in prayer. The movie also does a magnificent job of conveying the reality of grace and forgiveness as key components in God’s battle plan. I really enjoyed watching the portrayal of real repentance and accountability in the life of her husband and what true brokenness can look like.
At a time when we as evangelicals are so prone to fight each other and to see “ungodly” people around us as our enemies, this movie is a needed corrective. For far too long it has been out of vogue to talk about Satan for who he is – our very real, but also very defeated foe. Instead, we have bought into so many of his lies and deceptions and chosen to fight the wrong battles. Even as I write these words, I am convicted of my own complicity in creating the wrong battle plans for my family and ministry. Interestingly, many other people around the world understand the stakes all too clearly despite the darkness they embrace. Spirit houses, idols and temples for gods and goddesses are just window dressing for satanic worship and a vague attempt to ward off the evil effects of the spirit world that is a daily reality.
I highly recommend this movie and hope that millions of people will see it around the world. May it be the start of a new move of God in our generation?