As breathtaking cultural sea change sweeps across America—leaving many tossed and turned in its wake—along comes the faith-driven film WAR ROOM to deliver a powerful and timely message of godly hope and change based on the biblical call to strategic prayer. Opening in theaters nationwide on August 28th, WAR ROOM paints a beautiful picture of what healing and transformation look like when individuals, families, churches and communities awaken to the power of intentional prayer.
Created by Alex and Stephen Kendrick (FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS and FACING THE GIANTS), WAR ROOM offers a strong, diverse cast including Priscilla Shirer as Liz Jordan; T.C. Stallings as her husband, Tony Jordan; Alena Pitts as their daughter, Danielle; Karen Abercrombie in a strong and memorable performance as Miss Clara; and cameo roles by Beth Moore and David and Jason Benham.
Overall Faith and/or Biblical Relevance
One of the clearest messages in the Bible is that we humans find ourselves caught in the middle of a great cosmic battle between the spiritual forces of good and evil—with an enemy who seeks to kill, steal and destroy. Tragically, while the Bible teaches us how to fight the right way and with the right weapons—grounded in strategic prayer—precious few churches teach these truths today and instead focus on more comfortable topics. Meanwhile, the flock is left perilously unprepared to deal with the land mines of life and marriages, families and communities pay the price.
Speaking directly into this reality, WAR ROOM is a highly relevant call to the church to raise up a new generation of prayer warriors to do battle God’s way. Specifically, it inspires us to seek God, trust in Him and stand on His word in order to develop a personal, intentional, ongoing strategy for doing spiritual battle.
As a long-overdue call to Christians to wake up from their lukewarm slumber and mentor one another in the ways of God, WAR ROOM offers a clear presentation of the Gospel and teaches us that victories don’t come by accident. And it begs the important question: What would the world look like if every Christian did what Clara did and turned a closet into their war room?
Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships
The characters and their relationships in WAR ROOM are very faith-compatible and grounded in the sort of real-life struggles that married couples and their families face daily. While Tony and Liz seem to have it all—great jobs, an impressive house, nice cars and a beautiful daughter—their love for each other is growing cold. A highly successful pharmaceutical sales rep, selfish and prideful Tony is tempted to cheat not only on Liz but also to compromise his integrity at work—leading to a personal and professional downfall. Liz, a real estate agent, becomes increasingly bitter—until she meets Miss Clara as a client. Here, the beautiful mentoring relationship that develops between Liz and Clara is at the center of WAR ROOM and sets the stage for the transformation of Liz’s faith from lukewarm to hot—depicted by the metaphor of the coffee they share.
As the story unfolds, both Liz and Tony hit rock bottom and come to places where they individually are humbled and call out to God. They become convicted about their sin, repent, and then surrender everything—including possible negative outcomes—to God. Along the way, Liz learns what it means to turn a closet into a war room in which she does battle with the spiritual forces of darkness, is strengthened by Scripture and reclaims her household for Jesus. Here, Liz learns to pray—and trust in God’s goodness and mercy—and sets a great example for Danielle who, in one of the sweetest scenes in the movie, eventually emulates her mother and sets up her own war room in her closet.
While Tony is depicted as bearing some of the consequences of his poor decisions, God’s grace is clearly evident and the scenes of forgiveness and reconciliation between him and Liz are extraordinarily powerful. And Tony’s relationship with Danielle grows into one characterized by joy and beauty.
Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations
Whether in Tony and Liz’s respective workplaces or at their home, in church scenes or at the gym, WAR ROOM consistently depicts realistic and faith-compatible situations that viewers can easily relate to. Interracial friendships are highlighted among both adults and children, and children are respectful despite sometimes being caught in the middle of tense situations. There are scenes that take place in church—with wonderful Gospel music. And the grace that Tony receives from his boss after he confesses to stealing company products—potentially resulting in prosecution—powerfully reflects the Gospel of Jesus, who paid the price for our sins.
Beyond this, Miss Clara’s coffee talks with Liz set the stage for abundant godly wisdom to be shared—and in one scene she bravely rebukes would-be thieves in the name of Jesus, followed by a Gospel presentation to the police officers who show up to assist.
In one of the most touching scenes in WAR ROOM, Tony demonstrates Christ-like servant leadership to Liz by washing her feet. And his bonding with Danielle in the context of her double-dutch jump rope competition is encouraging. Finally, when Tony lands a job at half the salary of his previous sales position, Liz says she would rather have a man chasing Jesus than a houseful of material possessions.
Family Viewing Suitability
At 120 minutes in length, WAR ROOM is rated PG for thematic elements. Here, the struggles of Tony and Liz’s rocky marriage and his job failure loom large and may not be suitable for younger audiences. For example, Tony is strongly tempted to commit adultery and in one scene it is suggested that Tony is “getting some” outside of his marriage.
Despite this, WAR ROOM is to be commended for repeatedly offering a clear presentation of the Gospel as well as a clear understanding that the real enemy is Satan and that we are called to kick him out of our homes with the Word of God. We also see that there is a Holy God who judges and that we are called to repent and turn to Jesus, in whom forgiveness and new, abundant life is found. Poignantly, Miss Clara’s own regrets in life teach that there’s no grief like denying the truth until it’s too late.
WAR ROOM is a powerful movie with many stirring scenes that compel viewers to examine the depth of their prayer lives and relationship with God. The music is uplifting, the script engaging and well-paced, and the direction is solid. While there is some unevenness in the casting, overall the acting is good—with Karen Abercrombie in particular delivering an inspired performance as Miss Clara.
With its universal themes of prayer, forgiveness, hope, healing, reconciliation and transformation, WAR ROOM offers an encouraging Christian message that will likely appeal to both faith-driven and secular audiences alike.