Before turning to the more solitary confines of writing and editing, I worked as a professional actress. In college I felt strongly that Hollywood needed missionaries, undercover professionals to infiltrate the industry with the love, truth, and saving power of Christ. I wanted to be a Hollywood missionary. But I felt alone and didn't know of anyone else thinking about Tinseltown that way.
Without the prayer support of people viewing the entertainment industry as a mission field, I eventually burned out, tired of the constant demands on me to compromise my beliefs and what I would or wouldn't say, do, or show.
After I left that business, I met a producer, Karen Covell, who was just such a missionary. Karen told me about an organization (Hollywood Prayer Network) she was involved with that prays daily over the people working in that industry—not only for those far from Christ, but for other missionaries there. I was thrilled by her story. Someone else had felt the same burden I'd had.
She introduced me to other missionaries—including a woman, "Carol," who works for a large production company and who, along with a small band of prayer warriors, walks its entire studio lot every day on her lunch hour praying. One day while I was visiting some friends in Southern California, Carol walked me around that studio lot and pointed out the executives' offices and the TV shows and movies being filmed. It was my own personal backstage tour. But this one was far better: as Carol pointed everything out, she told me exactly how they pray as they approach each office, show, or building. I was overwhelmed.
"Does anyone here know this is what you're doing?" I asked.
"No," she said seriously. But I caught the twinkle in her eye. She was infiltrating the industry.
I hear people complain about Hollywood and its poor moral standards, and they're right to complain. I'm right there with them! But what if every time we were tempted to complain, we instead intentionally and pointedly prayed for God to cover that industry with his holiness and love? What if we prayed for an awakening of his Spirit? What if we prayed for those Christians who are working there—that God would strengthen and encourage them to fight the good fight, to be bold, to be a light shining in the darkness?
Too often we pray but then become frustrated because we don't see the fruit of our prayer labors. But we forget that prayer is fought in the spiritual realm and it's a lifelong commitment. Recently I heard Larry Poland of Mastermedia, an organization that encourages good relationships between media leaders and Christians, speak about praying for Hollywood. He said that since Mastermedia's founding in 1985, he believes there have been more than 10 million prayers that have gone up specifically for that industry. I wonder what Hollywood would look like and produce without the prayers of our brothers and sisters who have taken up that call?
A few years ago I reconnected with Karen at a conference we were both attending. I told her about a dream I'd had the night before. I dreamt that Matt Damon had become a sold-out, on-fire, powerful Christ follower. And he was turning Hollywood upside down. And the really cool part of the dream was that I was the one who led him to Jesus.
Karen laughed when I told her and nodded vigorously. But then after I finished telling her, I realized that dream could actually become a reality. I could—can!—be involved in Matt finding God. So now I pray for Matt Damon!
I believe my prayers can change Hollywood—because I believe in the God who specializes in miracles. I hope you'll join my cause and see Hollywood as a mission field ripe for the harvest.
If you want more encouragement and direction on specifically how and for whom to pray, check out Hollywood Prayer Network and Mastermedia. They have prayer calendars, daily e-mail reminders, and e-newsletters to give you updates, prayer requests, and most important, praises.
Ginger Kolbaba, a former actress, is the author of numerous books including the novel series Secrets from Lulu's Café.
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