Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Hollywood Does Have a Prayer - The Hollywood Prayer Network Story
by Hope Frances
As Catholics, we know that daily prayer is essential to our personal spiritual growth. Television producer Karen Covell saw the importance of prayer on an even larger scale - for the spiritual growth of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Thus was born the Hollywood Prayer Network.
The Hollywood Prayer Network officially began in 2001, however, Karen and her husband started forming prayer groups back in the 1980's.
"Eight of us got together in 1982 and started praying. That group has been praying for 24 years now. We've always had a desire to have prayer as a foundation here."
Through the years, that group has witnessed the power of prayer.
"First, God started revealing other believers in the industry who were just afraid to say they were. We started saying, 'We want to get them out of the closet.' So 16 years ago my husband and I started teaching a class in our home called, How To Talk About Jesus Without Freaking Out. We bring in about 10 - 15 people at a time for 10 weeks and just build each other up in our faith."
HOLLYWOOD AS A MISSION FIELD
As Director of HPN, Karen Covell views Hollywood as a mission field. "I started the Hollywood Prayer Network because I believe we can change the media, but it has to be God who changes it. We have to do it from the inside out. I realized years ago we have to pray for God to change the hearts of the people in media. Then, when their hearts change their content will change"
She saw three areas where change needed to happen in order to have an effect on the quality of film and television programs that are produced. First, she saw a lot of people in the entertainment business searching for God. Second, she saw the need for a support system for actors, writers, directors and others pursuing a career in entertainment while, thirdly, not compromising their Christian morals along the way.
And, her solution - PRAYER!
"It's been really exciting. We see God out of the blue telling people to pray for Hollywood when they don't even know why. We know it's a result of prayer that God puts on their hearts, 'Pray for those people there.' And then we get a chance to say, 'Oh great! You have that desire. Now we'll help you do it.'"
With over 5,000 members praying worldwide, this organization witnesses changes in the entertainment industry on a daily basis.
"We've seen more people meet God in the industry. There are more people hungry for Jesus here. We've seen Christians feel more empowered to be here because they have more support," said Karen.
Their prayers for a change in programming are definitely making an impact on the industry.
"What we're seeing a lot of now is Christians in place in different TV shows where they are effecting content." According to Karen, negative story lines have been stopped through prayer and even more change is anticipated.
"It takes these steps first to build a foundation of faith. Then we will see as people are changing how it reflects in the content of the product. I believe we will see a spiritual revival in Hollywood. We're seeing so much happening now that we haven't seen before."
Anyone across the globe can have an impact on Hollywood through prayer. Through the simple, yet mighty act of prayer you can help to influence the media.
There are a variety of ways to make a difference. One of the simplest is by contacting HPN and requesting a sticker for your television remote that says "Pray For This Show."
The organization also has a monthly e-mail to its members listing which issues to pray for "so people see on the inside what's going on in Hollywood and how they can be praying. Then God can start changing these people through prayers."
For those currently working in the industry, the Hollywood Prayer Network is an invaluable resource for ministries.
"We have the ministry group brochure that we give to people to make sure that they are a part of the Christian community so that they can get that foundation of support."
There is also the "I-to-I" Prayer Partnership in which a person outside of the entertainment industry is partnered with a person inside.
"We have over 500 of those prayer partnerships now. My goal is to have every Christian in Hollywood prayed for by somebody."
HPN has another program, the Incognito Prayer Team, in which you can pray for a certain celebrity or decision-maker in Hollywood. It's incognito in that the person doesn't know that they are being prayed for. Once you join the IPT, they will send you more information on the celebrity so that your prayers can be more specific.
In addition to the IPT, you can also pray for specific people in Hollywood by requesting a Media Leader Prayer Calendar. Mastermedia International publishes a calendar listing every day of the year and the name of a media leader and a cultural influencer whom you can pray for each day. You may request this calendar through HPN.
Lastly, you can make a difference by getting involved through a local chapter. And, if one doesn't exist where you live, you can start you own through HPN using their list of guidelines. Chapters have been established in cities across the United States and in countries such as the United Kingdom, Uganda and Thailand. Every local chapter receives a free web page on the HPN website to post contact information.
"I just want people to put Jesus first - over anything," Karen said. "He gives us gifts and talents to use, not only for our own joy and the joy of others, but I think also to bring us into different areas of the world where He can use us for His kingdom."
As always, God shines brighter than all the stars in Hollywood.
For more information on the Hollywood Prayer Network please visit their website at www.hollywoodprayernetwork.org.