To receive daily emails from Breaking Christian News to your inbox CLICK HERE

SHARE THIS ARTICLE Printer friendly version of this page

The Powerful Backstory of Praying Coach Kennedy

Rich Swingle, IFA Contributing Writer : Jul 25, 2022  Intercessors For America

"We began praying, 'God, Your will be done. You see what this man is trying to do, and to the degree that it pleases You and honors You, would You watch out for him. Would You protect him, open the doors for him' ..." -the Kendrick Brothers

[] Lord, thank You for the great work the Kendrick Brothers are doing through their films all over the globe! Thank You they inspired Joe Kennedy to become Coach Kennedy whose post-game prayer at the 50-yard line was validated by the US Supreme Court! (Screengrab image)

Does media shape our culture? Can a little indie film make a difference? One such movie did just that. The film Facing the Giants, produced by a couple of associate pastors, Alex and his brother Stephen Kendrick, using volunteer actors from their church, inspired Joe Kennedy to become "Coach Kennedy" and pray at the 50-yard line. That led to a victory for religious freedom and freedom of speech at the Supreme Court. The win blessed the Kendrick Brothers, whose film ultimately led to such a great victory for liberty.

Kennedy came back to his hometown of Bremerton, Washington, after serving in the military for two decades. He told Victoria Will of the NY Post:

"I never intended to be a football coach, but maybe it was part of God's plan. In 2008, two years after leaving the Marines as a gunnery sergeant, I was jogging in Bremerton, where I live with my wife and five kids. A guy pulled up alongside me and asked if I ever thought of coaching football. At the time I was wearing a Bremerton football jersey, and it turns out he was the high school's athletic director. It was a little weird, but I said I would think about it."

Then he watched the Kendrick Brothers' film Facing the Giants, and in an interview you can see below Stephen Kendrick said:

"...with every one of the films... we're praying as we're asking the Lord to give us clarity concerning what direction to go, what themes, what story lines, who to cast. We're praying as we're writing the scripts. We're praying every day on set as we're shooting because the Lord alone is the Head of the Body of Christ, and He's the One who knows what needs to happen. We, the members of the Body, just need to submit to Him and obey whatever He tells us to do. And so we look back and give God the glory for it. We had no idea he would be watching the film or that this issue would be at play...."

It was their second film, and Stephen said, "We were facing battles way back with Facing the Giants, trying to figure out how to make this movie, and we didn't have the resources or the people or the knowhow, and the Lord carried us through that storm...."

Perhaps the Lord had Kennedy in mind while enabling the Kendricks' film. Saturated with prayer, the film, which succeeded against all earthly odds, was a bullseye for Kennedy. In the film Alex Kendrick played Grant Taylor, a football coach who pledged to give God glory after every game, whether his team won or lost.

I was crying my eyes out. It was a clear sign that God was calling me to coach. I had never experienced that kind of effect in my entire life. I said, "I'm all in, God. I will give You the glory after every game right there on the 50 where we fought our battles."

So he took the position at his alma mater and knelt at the 50-yard line after every game, win or lose. He told Will, "I got down on one knee and held a helmet to the heavens. I would silently say, 'God, that was amazing. Thank You for these guys.'" For a while it was just him, but then some of the team asked if they could join him. "I told them it's a free country and they can do what they want." Before long, members of the opposing team would join them. "On those occasions, I held up two helmets, one from each team, and thanked God for all of us."

At a certain point someone from an opposing team called the school. Coach Kennedy said that person was "telling the principal that what we were doing was really awesome," but that led to an investigation, complaints from parents and from a satanic group demanding to hold ceremonies on the field after the games. Eventually Coach Kennedy was instructed to move his prayer someplace where he couldn't be seen. Fletcher described what happened next:

Kennedy said he stopped the public prayer for one game. But as he was driving home afterward, he regretted giving in to what he saw as "pressure to break his commitment to God," his lawyers said in their Supreme Court petition. He said he turned his car around, returned to the empty stadium and with tears running down his face, delivered a silent prayer from the 50-yard line.

He retained a lawyer through First Liberty Institute, who delivered a letter to the school, letting them know he was compelled to fulfill his commitment to the Lord and exercise his constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Coach Kennedy told Will, "As a Marine, I fought for our freedoms, including the First Amendment. I fought for us to have that right." Following the next game, after he and his team shook hands with the opposition, he went to the 50-yard line and knelt. By this point many knew about the school's opposition to what he was doing, and dozens of players, coaches and fans joined him at midfield.

About a week later, after praying at the 50-yard line again, the school put him on leave and did not rehire him for the next season. His legal fight to get his job back went all the way to the Supreme Court. On June 27, Coach Kennedy was in his lawyer's office when they heard the news that six of the nine justices ruled in his favor. He told Will, "I raised my arms in the air, as if I was calling a touchdown... great news for the entire nation."

The Kendrick Brothers React

Coach Kennedy reached out to the Kendricks several years ago and told them their film inspired him and about the legal battle he was facing. Alex said:

"We began praying, 'God, Your will be done. You see what this man is trying to do, and to the degree that it pleases You and honors You, would You watch out for him. Would You protect him, open the doors for him.' ... We watched this at a distance of course, then he sent us a video update. We sent him back one." (Screengrab image: Kendrick brothers)

The Kendricks were in a meeting when someone interrupted to let them know the Supreme Court sided with Coach Kennedy, and the Kendricks were ecstatic. They celebrated and prayed together. "We were delighted to hear that," Alex said, "We are about what glorifies and honors the Lord, and so we're very grateful." Stephen said,

" is very encouraging as we see the Lord lead us and then God use the movies as tools or weapons in His spiritual battle... tools of encouragement, exhortation to the Body of Christ, and so it's very fulfilling. And at the same time whatever battle we're currently fighting in our journey of seeking the Lord and trying to overcome evil with good it puts a little wind in your sails...."

They hadn't had time to reach out to Coach Kennedy when I interviewed them, but Alex said, "We're grateful and following it. And even if he sees this interview today: God bless you! Praise the Lord for what He has done." Stephen added, "Congratulations!"

Coach Kennedy watched our interview en route to Tucson to speak at a conference, and he messaged, "Those guys are so blessed by God. God spoke directly through them to me."

Alex said:

"We want to remind people that as you walk with the Lord not every day is easy, but every day is worth walking with the Lord... We are grateful that Coach Kennedy stuck with it as respectfully as he could, but he still fought the fight, and now has had the Supreme Court side with him, so we want to say don't be afraid of expressing your faith. You want to do it in love, but sometimes that takes tough love. So express your faith and honor the Lord in the process, and let the Lord watch out for you."

Stephen added:

"We have to look beyond our current comfort zone into eternity and trust that a sovereign God knows what He's doing, and that He's placed us in those circumstances, and that by His grace and strength He's never going to leave us or abandon us, and we'll stand before Him one day. As long as He gives us an A plus it doesn't really matter what the world says."

Click Here and scroll down to watch Part One of a three-part interview with the Kendrick Brothers.

Rich Swingle has taught and performed in 39 nations on six continents, mostly with his own one-man plays, including one about an Olympic champion who wasn't afraid to bring his faith into the public square, Eric Liddell. He and his bride, Joyce Swingle, another contributing writer for IFA, now have 37 screen children. The Swingles live in New York City. Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

SHARE THIS ARTICLE Printer friendly version of this page

To receive daily emails from Breaking Christian News to your inbox CLICK HERE

Other Recent Articles from Breaking Christian News

1,000 Families Expected to Join Mass Lawsuit against Infamous UK Trans Surgery Clinic

'I Asked God to Save Her': Olivia Newton-John Shared Powerful Prayer She Prayed Over Daughter's Life in Final Interview

Pro-Life Win: Indiana Approves Additional $45M to Support Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Which Americans Are Most Likely to be Audited by the IRS Under 'Inflation Reduction Act'?

Beyond Disappointing, Now Egregious: Episcopal Church Completely Sells Out to Trans Agenda, Supporting Sex Changes 'At All Ages'

Insanity: Senate Dems Unanimously Vote Down Inflation Bill Amendment That Affirms Only Women Can Have Babies

Men And Women Harmed By 'Trans' Surgeries Are Sharing Their Stories of Regret, Anxiety and Depression

Little League Playoffs: 'The Greatest Moment in the History of Sportsmanship'

Is Biden Trying to Goad the Right into a Violent Reaction to Mar-a-Largo Raid?

Deeply Flawed Trans Youth Study Shows Desperation of LGBT Activists

Tragic: 4-Year-Old Girl Announces Her 'Gender Transition' at 'Pride' Parade

Consequences: Voters Defund Library over Graphic LGBT Books

Outraged Texas Citizens Stand Up to Mayor's Radical Leftist Agenda to 'Transform' Their City; Gain a Huge Victory

Dutch Sheets: The Re-circuiting Continues

Trans Activist Who Planned to Ship Prescription Hormones to Minors Reported to Authorities by Prominent Conservatives

Public School Teachers Told to Indoctrinate Kids as Young as Three in Radical LGBT Theory

Democrats Creating IRS Army of 87,000 New Enforcers, 700,000 New Audits on Middle-Class Americans

Dangerous Truth: True the Vote Team Needs Your Prayer

Dr. Alveda King: Pray to Avoid Civil War in 21st Century America

Mar-A-Lago Raid: The Complete Sovietization of the Democrat Party

Search the Articles Archives

Words Posted On:  
Day Month Year

BCN Plus

Follow BCN on Twitter
Are You Praying for Our Government Leaders?
BCN Staff

Steve Shultz
Steve Shultz, Managing Editor
Founder and Owner

Aimee Herd
Aimee Herd, Editor

BCN Plus
Are You Praying for President Trump?

All articles on this site and emails from BCN are copyrighted property of Breaking Christian News. Permission is given to link to, or share a BCN story if proper attribution is given to both the original writer and summarizer of the story. Breaking Christian News 2005-2019. All Rights Reserved.

Breaking Christian News is a division of Elijah List Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: Articles and links, as well as the source articles linked to; do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Breaking Christian News.