The Kendrick brothers are one of the most recognized names in Christian filmmaking today. With four films under their belt, they have the Christian movie making process down to a science. And while I am of the opinion that the Christian movie genre can be a bit clichéd and cheesy at times, I found War Room surprisingly refreshing.
The film tells the story of Tony and Elizabeth Jordan, whose marriage has seen better days. Tony is more concerned with his high-class job than his family and Liz feels that her family is slowly spiraling into the ground. As she and her husband become more distant and argumentative, the tension is nearly overwhelming.
Then Liz meets Clara, a sweet elderly woman who is selling her house through Liz’s real estate company. As Clara shows Liz around her house to prep it for sale, she shows Liz her “favorite” room. She calls it her “War Room” where she prays and makes prayer “strategies” for each aspect of her life and the people she prays for. Clara senses that Liz’s marriage is going down the tube and offers to mentor her and teach her how to fight for her marriage in prayer. As Liz begins to make her own prayer strategies in her own “war room,” the impact spreads to her family and the result is a story that is truly inspiring.
Initially, one might think that a film about prayer might be a bit boring and cheesy, yet perhaps that way of thinking shows how much we do not understand prayer. Clara tells Liz that she needs to pray for her husband and then step out of the way and let God do the work. In our flesh, we think in order to fight we are the ones that must do all the work. But in reality our fight is made when we surrender. Wonderful things happen when we surrender to God, but it takes faith to give up our control and let Him take over.
I can honestly say that War Room is my favorite movie of all the Kendrick brother’s films. The reason is simply applicability. Facing the Giants was about football, and while I like football, I have never played it. Fireproof was about marriage and I am single. Courageous was about fathers, one of which I am not. But War Room is about prayer, which applies to everyone. Not only that, but hearing Clara’s passionate speech to Liz about fighting through prayer made me want to punch my fist in the air and cheer. Yes the acting and music adds to the emotion of the scene, but the truth that is portrayed in this film resonates so well that even the most stoic person has to at least nod a head or give an amen.
Being a “Christian” film, War Room is very lacking in the area of questionable content. Tony goes out to dinner with another woman who later asks if he wants to come back to her house, implying they have an affair. Stock footage of the Vietnam War is shown in the film’s prologue. In a dream, Tony runs to protect Liz from an attacker who turns out to be himself. Clara and Liz stand up to a mugger who threatens them with a knife.
Christian stereotypes would have us believe that prayer is boring and a practice of the weak. But War Room emphasizes prayer as a weapon; a worthy task taken up by warriors. And the best part is that if you are in Christ, you can join the fight. No matter who you are, where you are, or what stage of life you are in, you can take up the sword of truth and stand with Christ. Prayer is exciting. Prayer is epic. And most of all, prayer is powerful. If the Church really understood that, what kind of body would we be?