Priscilla Shirer is best known as an author, speaker, ministry leader and founder of Go Beyond Ministries.
She’s a wife (to husband Jerry) and mom (to four boys) and some people might know her as the daughter of well known evangelist the Rev. Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas.
Now, Shirer is offering her talents as an actress in the new movie “War Room,” which premiered Friday, Aug. 28, in theaters nationwide. In a recent telephone interview, she talked about being part of the film’s cast, her related book “Fervent” and more:
Q: What made you decide to be in the movie “War Room”?
A: It was an exciting adventure, one that you could not have told me in a million years that I would have the privilege of being able to participate in. It was really a gift for me for the Kendrick brothers to call and even ask if I would even consider this. At first my answer was ‘Heck no! Tthere are real actors who do this sort of thing,’ but they just said Priscilla, just read the script first and lets pray about it and just see if God might have this in mind for all of us. After reading the script, I realized that it isn’t a departure from what I usually do, it’s a different way though of just saying the same message that I would want to say anyway. It’s another medium for ministry and I’m glad that I kind of stepped out in faith and pushed past any fear or intimidation that was saying you can’t do this, you’re not an actress or an accomplished actress. I’m glad that I took the adventure. It’s been fun.
Q: I heard that you had considered getting into acting before you chose your ministry career. Is that true?
A: Well, I had been in some church plays and an outdoor theater when I was about 20. I did that for one summer so I don’t know if it was an aspiration for my life, but I did enjoy dabbling in it when I was in my teens and about 20 years old or so.
Q: What did you think of the character Elizabeth when you read the script?
A: I thought that this is a woman that I know I can relate to and a bunch of the women who go to see this in the theater are also going to be able to relate to. She is a woman who is trying to balance her life. She’s got work, she’s got marriage, she has her kid and I don’t know many women who aren’t trying to balance all of that and how it is not just easier for us to put on this plastic veneer that everything is OK and put on this smile rather than really dig into the trouble that we might be facing in the relationships that are most vital to us and trying to balance it all out.
Q: What did you think of the concept of a war room or a prayer room like the one Miss Clara has in the film?
A: I think that it’s a revolutionary thought for some people particularly in this more modern age where prayer is still a focus in the church but I think its priority has been watered down just a little bit. We do still by and large talk about being consistent in prayer but we haven’t really talked to folks about what that is supposed to look like, that it isn’t just supposed to be consistent, it’s also supposed to be strategic. That’s what this movie brings to light – the strategy that we need to have in our prayer life.
Q: What messages do you hope audiences will take away from the film?
A: I’m hoping they will be reminded about the power of prayer. I’m hoping that they will recognize that the enemy is lurking behind some of life’s most pressing problems and that they will be reminded that prayer can’t be just about consistency, that’s important too, but strategy is equally as critical.
Q: Do you think there are things in the movie that will surprise people?
A: Yes I do. I think there are going to be several things. The truth is when we think of Christian films and faith-based films, honestly, our expectations are a little bit low. We don’t think the cinematography is going to be great or we think it’s going to a low budget film that we might be embarrassed to take our friends to but when they see this film, I think they are going to be blown away at the level of excellence technically. And the acting — such accomplished actors! — and I am not referring to myself here! I think they are going to be surprised by how amazing this film is technically, but also how hilarious this film is, how many times they have a good hard laugh and that they are stirred to emotion, both men and women, at the arc of these characters in the story.
Q: I know you write books, you speak around the country and you have a family. How did you find time to make a movie?
A: Well, you know what, I just took my family with me. We went to North Carolina last summer and we shot this movie and invested ourselves in this project as a family. I did have other ministry obligations throughout the summer but they just kind of adapted the shooting schedule around when I needed to be out of town or speak but I really just poured myself into this project and I’m so glad that I did. I truly believe people are going to be blessed by it.
Q: Going back to the concept of a ‘war room,’ what did you think of the idea of likening a prayer room to a place where you wage war?
A: It’s going to draw people’s attention back to how powerful prayer can really be when we prioritize it and make space for it. I think that that prayer closet, that war room of Miss Clara’s, I think it is not just significant in a physical sense of her carving out space in her home, but really it’s demonstrative of what we should be doing in a spiritual sense, that we need to be carving out space and prioritizing a room for prayer – in regards to our decision making in life, in regards to our family, our work schedule – anything we hold dearly. We’ve got to carve out a space for prayer because prayer needs to be a priority. It works!
Q: Can you talk about your book that you wrote in conjunction with the movie?
A: The Kendrick brothers wrote a book “The Battle Plan for Prayer” and I had the privilege of writing a book specifically for women called “Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer.” It’s going to really zero in on the areas of a woman’s life that the enemy specifically targets and then show you how you can go to battle in the areas that matter most and push the enemy back in Jesus’ name.