War Room: Number One Film in America

I was wowed by War Room! I wasn't the only one. Variety called it: Box Office: Zac Efron Getting Outplayed by Faith-Based ‘War Room,’...

I heard Stephen Kendrick speak at the final San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, and he said that the Christian film industry is growing up. It may have started by crawling, but it's walking and will start to run and then fly. The Kendrick Brothers are picking up speed!

The acting was superb. I was deeply moved throughout. I checked out the credits of the three leads and expected them to have long and deep filmographies. That's not the case, and that's a credit to Elizabeth Becka, the acting coach, who does a fine job in her principal role in the film as well. I got to teach with her at the Christian Worldview Film Festival Guild, and she had nothing but great things to say about her experience on set.

Miss Clara was LOVED by the robust crowd on Times Square. Karen Abercrombie had been rejected for the role because she was younger than their idea for the role, so she aged herself for the audition! Beth Becka said, "She is brilliant. We prayed over her and the presence of the Holy Spirit was as palpable as I have ever felt it in that little room that day!"
Garry Nation (left) as Polycarp, and
(right) accepting his Best Actor award 
for the role at the 
International Christian Film Festival

Mary Smit was responsible for her film version of Miss Clara. She's done makeup on all the other Kendrick Brothers films (except Flywheel, and there's a funny story behind that) as well as Princess Cut and her masterful work on Garry Nation in the title role of Polycarp.

The writing was also quite sharp. Joyce and I just had a discussion about how some of the prayers were very neatly wrapped up. Pre-believers may find that hard to swallow, but those who have walked with the Lord for years and have seen bigger prayers answered than portrayed in the fiction find it true to life. Of course God is not a magic box. It's when our prayers align with his will and timing that we see these kinds of miracles come to pass, but that's exactly what the script lays out. Joyce pointed out it's a real challenge to make a film about prayer, and if they weren't answered that would be even harder!

Beyond the winsome story arc there are witty lines throughout, and the crowd on Times Square erupted with laughter during this scene...

War Room has already sold close to $10M at the box office, and the weekend hasn't really even started. It's Friday and Sunday's coming! Get a big group together and see it after church! Cast your vote for more films that unapologetically shout the answer to this world's problems: Jesus Christ! As Miss Clara says: Don't leave Jesus out. That's why this world's in the trouble it's in!

In its second weekend, Labor Day Weekend, it moved into the number one position at the box office.


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  1. We saw War Room​ for the second time to help it stay in the number one spot at the box office, but I was moved as deeply and laughed just as hard. It all holds together, and I don't see a weak link. It's in second place right now, but Sunday's not over yet. Get out there and see it if you haven't. It's just outstanding.

    If you've already seen it and have time to see it again you may help it get back into the number one position. For any who think this is about making money, the Kendrick brothers don't get anything more than their church salaries for these films. It's all going back into the Kingdom. A first place finish will do immeasurable good for the entire Christian filmmaking industry. If you want to see more films with a Christian worldview vote for it with your tickets.

    Besides, if you see it again you'll pick up on nuances you didn't see before, like these:

    During the restaurant scene in which Tony is having dinner with a potential adulteress he can see the single "D" in neon lights, which would have reminded him of the "D" over his daughter Danielle's bed and the significance of his choice.

    When Elizabeth gets up to do battle with Satan the camera angle and movement is reminiscent of when Jesus rises and walks out of the tomb in The Passion of the Christ. Her prayer life was resurrected!

    When Tony confesses he's looking up to Elizabeth, who sits in front of a mirror with sun-rays, giving the impression that she's got a halo.

    Beth Moore's character named her realty Twelve Stones, referring to the twelve stones the Israelites put in the River Jordan after passing over, as a memorial of what the Lord had done to deliver them from bondage and bring them to the Promised Land.

    These details really show that the Kendricks are really hitting their stride. Post details you saw...

  2. The film is getting some great press, including this CBS Good Morning piece: In Good Faith--Religion-based film becomes surprise summer hit.

  3. I got to hear Stephen Kendrick talk at the Christian Worldview Film Festival and Guild. He mentioned how George Mueller counted 50,000 answered prayers, and that 5,000 of them were answered the day they were prayed.

    I'm starting my own list--my Wall of Remembrance--here:

    A woman reported finding her keys, an answer to a prayer we prayed the night before.

    Headache prayed away before my performance of Beyond the Chariots.

    After performance heard from a young man who rededicated his life to the Lord after that play two years ago.

    Divine appointment (we pray for them every day) on the plane from San Antonio to Dallas: I was able to sit next to a former student and teammate during Sochi Olympics.

    Rode shuttle from EWR with a woman who does 1-woman plays and lives three blocks north of us.

    A few blocks after praying for Divine appointments ran into a former student.

    Dropped prayer shawl on the streets of NYC. Prayed with Joyce. Found within ten minutes.

    Had a Divine appointment with a waitress went to high school in a town in China when I performed Beyond the Chariots there during the '08 Olympics!

    During the Christian Worldview Film Festival and Guild I stayed with the same host family as Nathan Ashton. We've had at least one collaboration featured at the Film Festival every year of its existence, so we prayed we'd have another next year. We just found out we'll be working on the same short film: One Day.

  4. The Divine appointment on 4/4/16, with the woman from China, was 17 hours before my article inspired by that same trip to China would post: Smile.

  5. 4/6/16
    Had a Divine appointment with a Coptic Christian. He left Egypt after 88 churches were burned in one day. He said friends who fled to Europe have had a better Christian reception than he's felt in America.

  6. 4/7/16
    A booking came through that we were praying would happen.

  7. 5/4/97
    Joyce and I met at a singles retreat. I asked her if she wanted to go on a boat ride, but she pointed out that it was raining. We both went away and prayed that if the boat ride should happen the weather would clear. Within ten minutes it stopped raining. I went back to her and pointed out that it had stopped raining. We took our boat ride. :-) :-)

    We went on a gondola ride in Central Park and had a Divine appointment with the gondolier who served us 10/4/97, when I proposed on the gondola in Central Park.

  8. 4/7/16
    We had prayed that a certain woman would attend the NYC advanced screening of Rather to Be Chosen, and she was there.

    We had asked Patricia Mauceri if she could attend the screening of Rather to Be Chosen on her birthday. She was kind enough to say yes, and because of that, the screening fell on a date that Dan Rupple and Jackie Granger, leaders of Mastermedia, were out from LA, setting up a Divine appointment for them to be able to attend the screening.

  9. 4/25/16
    Woke before alarm to make breakfast in bed for my bride's birthday.

  10. 4/28/16
    10 Divine appointments

  11. 5/3/16
    The Lord answered our prayer that it stop raining before a four mile bike ride.

  12. 5/5/16
    Released an hour early, which allowed us to get to District Assembly on time!

  13. 5/6/16
    Stopped raining before 4 mile bike ride.

    Prayed I'd finish worship slides by 1pm. Finished at 1:00pm.

  14. Since coming across Brother Lawrence's writing in college I've tried my best to live each moment as an act of worship. On the way home just now I passed a restaurant with tables on the sidewalk. I had a hankering for a single oyster and a cappuccino. I dismissed it entirely. Not because it's a weird combo--I've had stranger! It was because I never stop to eat alone at restaurants unless I'm out of town! All of a sudden it dawned on me that the Lord may have given me that hankering because He was setting up a ‪#‎DivineAppointment‬. My radar was attuned. A man passed by and asked for a dollar for a bottle of water. I told him to sit down and I'd order him a glass of water. He was off saying he might want something to eat, but I was able to pray for him specifically. Pray for him now, won't you?

    Then the check came in a guest book! After jotting a note about how much I loved my snack, I was able to write an invitation to the upcoming NYC screening of The Screenwriters (date TBD): .

    Upon entering my building I had short chats with two friends. Conversations I wouldn't have had if I'd ignored that hankering.

    Then I walked in to see this post by Rebekah Cook at the top of my Facebook feed: God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:24 was beautifully laid out over a sunset over the ocean, and Rebekah wrote, "Through Christ we can dwell continually in God's presence, living each moment as an act of worship." I started to share the post, but after starting the process I couldn't see what she'd written about the verse, so I opened another tab, where I found she'd posted twice since this one! The Lord overrode the Facebook algorithm! :-)

  15. I worked with a former quadriplegic who now jogs and does 150 pushups every day: A Walking Miracle.

  16. 6/9/16
    I accidentally bought a round-trip shuttle ticket to Newark Airport. Onboard I realized I'll be flying home through La Guardia. The ticket is quite clearly non-refundable, so once I checked my luggage I took the return ticket to the shuttle which was planning to go back to NYC. No one arrived before it pulled out, so I asked the ticket agent if he'd bless someone with it. He bought the whole round-trip ticket from me and sold me a single. Miracle!

  17. Got a voice mail from a friend: A woman was completely cured of a blood disorder and thyroid condition. She asked people to pray for her, and now, "She doesn't need surgery; she doesn't need pills; she doesn't need nothing. So, thank you Jesus!"

  18. Within a week of praying the Lord would use their films in a special way to touch hearts for Him, I asked a filmmaker if he could send his film to a prison ministry.

  19. Performed "Lazarus" for 34 gang members imprisoned on Riker's Island. All 34 seemed to pray aloud to give their lives to the Lord!

  20. From a friend: "The day before yesterday the doctor told Carolyn that she had a leak in her stomach due to a perforated intestine and if it wasn't repaired immediately she would be dead by morning. Because the prognosis wasn’t good they life-flighted her to a hospital in Columbus for the emergency operation they had to preform on her due to stomach acid that was draining into her abdomen and causing sepsis! They did two scans that showed the perforation and prepared everything for surgery. Then they did another scan but this time the perforation was closing. The doc ordered another scan. He showed Carolyn and Ray both scans and the doctor told them, "I don't understand. It seems to be healing itself," but it is clear that with all the prayers being offered that it was GOD doing the healing. Tomorrow she’s leaving the hospital! She didn’t have to have the operation because SOMEHOW her perforated stomach/intestine is no longer perforated! Somehow she’s healed....THANK YOU GOD YOU ARE SO GOOD. Thanks for all your prayers from friends and family.
    Many of you probably didn’t even know what was happening. Mostly because everything happened so fast and we were all an emotional wreck. I cant imagine life if I lost another child. I cant stop thanking God for HIS healing Carolyn and for His wonderful love. Pearl

  21. God answered my prayer to be coming out of the AMC Empire Theatre after seeing a film I was in: The Escalator.

  22. The fast day was a glorious day, such as London has scarce seen since the Restoration. Every church in the city was more than full, and a solemn seriousness sat on every face. Surely God hearth prayer, and there will yet be a lengthening of our tranquility. Humility was turned into national rejoicing for the threatened invasion by the French was averted.
    John Wesley's Journal, February 6, 1756

  23. My flight from LGA to Dulles left late, so I sprinted to my gate with prayer warriors on their knees! I was greeted at my gate (two terminals away) with news that they hadn't started boarding! Praise the Lord! He gets the glory! I detected that a Kenyan accent, so I said "Asanti sanna." (Thank you in Swahili). She beamed! I told her my mother grew up there and knows a few phrases in Kikuyu. She beamed brighter! I said "Wim wega?" (How are you?) She happily replied, "Dim wega." (I'm well.) And so am I as I'm relaxing onboard my flight to Detroit for this evening's rehearsal for Journey to the Garden on Good Friday and Resurrection Day!

  24. My back went out during a performance, so I wasn't able to stretch immediately, which typically prevents the pain and stiffness from settling in. I recently spoke with a friend who denied that God performs miracles today, and I was thinking of how the Lord has taken pain away from my back at least three times when we prayed. I've been struggling with the pain for a couple of days, and it dawned on me that I hadn't prayed over it yet. I prayed and the pain left again! Praise the Lord! He's not a magic box, but it's remarkable to me how slow we are to go to Him with our petitions!

  25. I wrote this short film based on a true story about answered prayer: