Film Review: The Prayer Circle
Hello everyone, if you are reading this on the release day, then I would like to wish you a wonderful Sabbath filled with prayer and the Word of God.
This week’s film review is for the film “The Prayer Circle,” Written by Camara Davis and directed by Jason Horton.
When a young ex-con joins a prayer group to receive guidance - and the group members discover they have more in common than they thought - their lives are changed forever.
The film starts out with a letter of apology from the ex-convict, that speaks of generosity, forgiveness and faith. The film centers around these three things, and explores how they can emerge. but quickly disappear, if we don’t have the word of God in our hearts and a relationship with God the Father, through Jesus Christ.
The film has Bible verses that introduce each scene.
The first scripture given is Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [a]instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The main character, Annie, is seen giving thanks to the Lord, a year after a terrible incident, that resulted in the formation of the prayer group. Annie prayer was based on Psalm 46.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
I was reminded of a situation where I began to stress out and God reminded me of verse 10 of Psalm 46: Be still, and know that I am God; A very powerful moment and a reminder of how God is always present.
One of the characters remarks on how she wishes she had come to the Lord earlier and asked, “Why do we only find the Lord when we have fallen?” A man from the prayer group, nicknamed Serg, because he was ex military, referenced James 4:6: But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
The film has numerous relationship dynamics and examples of conflict and grief that are easy to relate to. It depicts the dynamics we face when faced with trauma and having to relate to fellow victims and the people that have wronged us. I really like how the characters decided to meet, once a week, no matter what. It reminded me that all too often, people will not show up for prayer groups because they were having a bad day. That’s exactly when you should be in prayer group - through all seasons, and not just when you think things are going well and you can show up looking as though you have everything together. The film depicts a group, who, through the Lord, are willing to be real, vulnerable, actively seeking healing together with the all powerful, Almighty God, the Father.
Psalm 86:4-5 was referenced, to mirror how they had, were and would be calling upon the Lord, individually and together.
Rejoice the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
The film shows how generosity, forgiveness and faith and not things we can fake, or will, with all our might. We simply don’t have the power to keep it up. We have to keep going back to the Father, in Jesus’ name, to receive His grace, in order to live out these actions, because as one of the characters pointed out, faith without works is dead, which is a reference from James 2:17.
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Each scene reminds us of God’s love. 1 John 4:16-18 was referenced.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
I will add verse 19, We love Him because He first loved us.
It is very clear that each character would not have survived the mental anguish of the incident, where their paths crossed, let alone the things that happened in addition to the incident, if they had not formed as a prayer group. And that’s the key - formed in prayer, going together to the Father. Without Him there cannot be any true healing, generosity, forgiveness and faith.
Part of the Lord’s prayer was referenced: Matthew 6:14, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
It’s a reminder that forgiveness is a complex and difficult process when we try to do it on our own. True forgiveness comes through the power of God’s grace.
The end of the film, depicted wonderfully, how God shall be praised through all seasons. Life is full of highs and lows, sometimes within the same day, or hour. Life on this earth is intense and uncomfortable, because of sin. The first part of Psalm 103 was referenced, and it’s a beautiful reminder of how no matter what, we can only survive our life’s experiences and look forward to an eternal life, if we put our trust in the Lord, and give Him praise, in each season of life, to show that our relationship with God the Father, through Jesus Christ, is not conditional.
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The last Bible reference in,The Prayer Circle, is from Micah 7:18:
Who is a God like You,
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
Would I change anything about the film?
The praise music in the background, throughout the film, was nice but a tad too loud. I don’t play music while I am doing anything that requires focus, because my focus becomes split between the music and what I am doing, which just doesn’t work. So I had to really focus in the film to tune out the music, as lovely as it was, in order to digest what was happening.
One of the characters used an expression several times, to “spas out”. Where I grew up, “spas” was a derogatory word for a person with a mental or physical disability. The character was a young man, but my expectations of a Christian film is to use dialogue to God’s glory, so it would have been good to either omit that expression or to have one of the other characters talk to the young man about his choice of words.
Did the film encourage my faith?
This film was simple, raw, intense and beautiful. I will need to watch it a few more times to be able to digest it all. It was my kind of film - no frills and a biblical message, delivered well.
True forgiveness is a hard, long and impossible task, if we just look within ourselves. True forgiveness can happen in a moment, when we look up to the Lord, and ask him to give us the love we need, by the power of His grace, in Jesus’ name.
The Prayer Circle depicts the Christian values of scripture alone, salvation through Christ alone and recognition of the value of life and the blessing in children.
It is a powerful film about the character of God, and how we, as disciples of Jesus Christ, must seek to mirror it, in a fallen, harsh world, by the grace of God, in Jesus’ name.
Thank you for reading this review. Until next time - peace be with you.
Source for film: www.tubitv.com
NB! The links I reference for my films is not an endorsement of the film streaming company.