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Kendrick Brothers Want Us To Begin Our Battles With Prayer
Kendrick Brothers Want Us To Begin Our Battles With Prayer

Kendrick Brothers Want Us To Begin Our Battles With Prayer

By Jacob Sahms

ChristianCinema.com caught up with Alex and Stephen Kendrick in the midst of their whirlwind travel tour to promote their latest Christian film, War Room. The Kendricks have struck gold with Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous. Their latest film centers on the Jordans, a successful power couple who are losing their connection to each other and their teenage daughter, and find a saving grace in the person of Miss Clara, an older woman who teaches them what it means to pray. 

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I asked the Kendricks to consider what kind of influence they had on Christian film, beginning with Flywheel and moving through four more films. The brothers’ humility was evident in their response, and their quick deflection of any praise. 

“All we’ve done is try to tell the best stories we could tell,” Alex said. “We can make a movie but God has to change a heart. We’ve learned that when we start to take credit, that God says, ‘Oh, yeah?’”

The brothers laughed, considering the times they had experienced their own comeuppance, but Stephen took a philosophical approach. “Looking back, Facing the Giants was really a breakthrough. The Passion of the Christ was out, and Sony had bought out Provident. They told Provident to go make Christian movies but no one knew how to do that. So they worked with us to get our film distributed.”

“The film opened in hundreds of theaters all around the country and the world. People couldn’t believe they were watching a film in theaters, seeing and hearing about Christ, a film about football that also made them laugh and cry, too.”

The Kendrick brothers began making films at an early age, shooting their stories with Super 8 mm film. “We did some foolish photography,” Alex admitted, with a chuckle. “As a father, I would definitely spank or ground my kids if I found out they were doing what we did. We messed around with our own explosives, pouring gunpowder on masking tape, and jumped off of decks or high structures. We had near misses with vehicles, where we filmed a guy running up a hood and over the roof of a car traveling ten miles an hour. One slip or problem, and someone could’ve died!”

“When you’re sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, you think you’re invincible. I’m horrified by what we did looking back. When our parents saw what we did, we definitely got in trouble. Thankfully, we had praying parents!”

Speaking of praying, I asked the Kendricks how they settled on prayer as the subject of their latest film. After joking about a special set of dice the brothers roll to pick subjects, Alex explained their writing process. “After we finish one project, we take a time to rest with our family and start praying about what God wants us to do next. It usually takes six months to a year, but we’ve learned to wait,” he said. 

“We felt a prompting to call people back to prayer, and had this analogy of a war room. It’s where the military gather to prepare, to consider their enemy, and get ready. We know that Christians need to do more praying. It even says in Matthew 6:6, ‘But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’”

“God calls us to that room of prayer,” he continued. “We built that into the framework of the movie, because we wanted it to be a story people could relate to and seek the Lord in prayer.”

Why, I asked, did the Kendricks think that people had such a hard time with praying? As a pastor, it’s one of the things that people ask me the most frequently about: how to do it, why they should it, what they should pray about?

“It’s hard to pray in the flesh,” Stephen opined. “In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he told his disciples to quit doing it publicly, in front of other people, but to pray in secret. By doing it in secret, it makes it hard to pray in the flesh; our flesh is in opposition to the spiritual side.”

“The Enemy, the Devil, doesn’t want us to pray, so he tries to distract us,” Stephen said. “We’ve learned for ourselves that praying about something first, preparing for it in prayer and then going out to face it, that’s what works. It shows up in Esther when she asks the people to pray for three days, when Nehemiah prays for the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, when Jesus prays.”

But would the subject of prayer turn some audiences away? Or can Christians still invite their non-Christian friends?

“I think the film stands on its own,” Stephen said. “In a recent study, 90% of Americans say that they pray. The fact that they believe in a higher power to pray to means they can relate to the film. Everyone can related to being tempted at work, or working too much, or stressing about the wrong things.”

“We believe that prayer is a way to show people about the relationship that we can have with God through Jesus. We believe that through faith in Jesus, we can have a different life.”

For more on War Room and potential discussions after the film, go to www.WarRoomMovieResources.com


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