by Noel T. Manning II
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing,” Martin Luther once said. Ever since Gary Wheeler was a teenager, he has loved filmmaking. But not long after making his first movie at 16 years old, Wheeler knew it was more than just a passion. It was a calling. Now, nearly three decades later, Wheeler has produced over a dozen feature films, and currently serves as the vice president of original movies for the INSP network. Wheeler’s latest project is the theatrical release “War Room,” where he served as co-producer.
Filmed in the Charlotte, N.C. area, “War Room” is faith-based film focused on the monumental power of prayer. It is the fifth film written, produced and directed by Stephen and Alex Kendrick. They are the team behind such successes as “Facing the Giants,” “Fireproof” and “Courageous.” These films reach into the lives of ordinary people and address issues of faith, relationships, courage, purpose and calling.
In many ways, “War Room” is a call to arms for true prayer warriors as well as a salute to them, notes Wheeler. “Prayer is important, and it should be a strategy. That’s the heart of this movie – to help develop a prayer strategy. Many times we have a strategy for our finances, or for our marriage, or as a parent, but we don’t have a strategy to pray through these things. In the movie ‘War Room’ an older woman mentors a younger woman on how to pray for everything in her life. The story shows the impact that type of strategy has on her, her family and everybody who surrounds her. It’s a movie about family and more specifically being very strategic in how we pray for our family.”
During the filming, over 80 churches in the Charlotte region became active prayer partners by providing food, transportation, childcare, daily devotions and Christian love to the cast and crew. Wheeler said each day was truly a partnership with God, and a time to remember our part in the chaos of life.
“I think that life is getting more complicated, and there are so many things that are distractions to what we should be doing. You see things going on around the world, countries in trouble, problems in America, and people not getting along. Just turn on the news for five minutes any day, and you’ll be like, ‘Wow! What am I living in?’ And prayer is the answer to all of those things, and it is the one thing that we can do as individuals to impact the world. I hope that audiences will leave the theaters inspired to go and pray for their family, pray for their country, pray for their president, pray for their surroundings, pray for their church, pray for their pastor and pray for everybody in their lives. Prayer can and does make the difference.”
More information is available on this film online at www.warroomthemovie.com. Gary Wheeler’s entire audio interview can be found at www.soundcloud.com/wgwgdotorg/gary-wheeler-warroom.