Weekly Prayer Focus

Weekly Prayer Focus: Jay-Z

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Shawn Corey Carter, born December 4, 1969, known professionally as JAY-Z (formerly stylized as  Jay Z and Jaÿ-Z), is an American rapper and businessman. He is one of the best-selling musicians of all time, having sold more than 100 million records, while receiving 21 Grammy Awards for his music. MTV ranked him the “Greatest MC of all time” in 2006. Rolling Stone ranked three of his albums—Reasonable Doubt (1996), The Blueprint (2001), and The Black Album (2003)—among The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2017, Forbes estimated his net worth at $810 million, making him the second-richest hip hop artist in the U.S. Jay-Z owns the New York 40/40 Club sports bar, and is the co-creator of the clothing line Rocawear. He is the former president of Def Jam Recordings, co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records, and the founder of the entertainment company Roc Nation. He also founded the sports agency Roc Nation Sports and is a certified NBA and MLB sports agent. As an artist, he holds the record for most number one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200 with 13. He has also had four number ones on the Billboard Hot 100, one (“Empire State of Mind”) as lead artist. In 2009, he was ranked the tenth-most successful artist of the 2000s by Billboard as well as the fifth top solo male artist and fourth top rapper behind Eminem, Nelly, and 50 Cent. He was also ranked the 88th-greatest artist of all time by Rolling Stone.

Shawn Carter was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised in Marcy Houses, a housing project in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. After their father, Adnis Reeves, abandoned the family, Shawn and his three siblings were raised by their mother, Gloria Carter. Reeves would later meet and reconcile with Jay-Z before dying in 2003. Jay-Z claims in his lyrics that in 1982 at age 12, he shot his older brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry. Along with future rapper AZ, Carter attended Eli Whitney High School in Brooklyn until it was closed down. He then attended the nearby George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School with future rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes, followed by a stint at Trenton Central High School in Trenton, New Jersey, though he did not graduate. Based on his interviews and lyrics, during this period he sold cocaine and was shot at three times.

According to his mother, Carter used to wake up his siblings at night banging out drum patterns on the kitchen table. She bought him a boom box for his birthday, sparking his interest in music. He began freestyling and writing lyrics. Known as “Jazzy” around the neighborhood, Carter later adopted the showbiz/stage name “Jay-Z” in homage to his mentor Jaz-O.

In 2002, Jay-Z and Beyoncé collaborated for the song “’03 Bonnie & Clyde”. Jay-Z also appeared on Beyoncé’s hit single “Crazy in Love” as well as “That’s How You Like It” from her debut album Dangerously in Love. On her second album, B’Day, he made appearances on the 2006 hits, “Déjà Vu” and “Upgrade U”. In the video for the latter song, she comically imitates his appearance. The couple generally avoids discussing their relationship. Beyoncé has stated that she believes that not publicly discussing their relationship has helped them. Jay Z said in a People article, “We don’t play with our relationship.” They kept a low profile while dating, and married in April 2008. It became a matter of public record on April 22, 2008. Beyoncé and Jay-Z were listed as the most powerful couple for TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2006. In January 2009, Forbes ranked them as Hollywood’s top-earning couple, with a combined total of $162 million. They made it to the top of the list the following year, with a combined total of $122 million between June 2008 and June 2009.

At the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, Beyoncé revealed that she was pregnant with their first child and on January 7, 2012 she gave birth to their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. On January 9, 2012, Jay-Z released “Glory”, a song dedicated to their child, on his social website The song detailed the couple’s pregnancy struggles, including a miscarriage Beyoncé suffered before becoming pregnant with their daughter. Because Blue’s cries were included at the end of the song and she was officially credited on the song as “B.I.C”, at two days old she became the youngest person ever to appear on a Billboard chart when “Glory” debuted on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at number 74. On June 18, 2017, Beyoncé’s father Mathew Knowles confirmed that she had given birth to twins with Jay-Z.

In early June 2017, posters were displayed in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as banner ads on the Internet promoting a TIDAL-related project titled 4:44. A teaser ad was aired during the NBA Finals on June 7 featuring actors Mahershala Ali, Lupita Nyong’o and Danny Glover in a one-minute video, ending in “4:44 – 6.30.17, Exclusively on Tidal”. On June 18, the project was confirmed to be a new Jay-Z album, and a clip featuring a song titled “Adnis” was posted on Sprint’s YouTube page.

Please pray for Jay-Z and his family. Pray that The Lord uses the influence gifted to their family to bring more unity and joy to their fans. Pray that their creative home is filled with joy. Also, pray that The Lord molds the heart of Jay-Z, so all of his actions, creative works and business ventures are for the advancement of the kingdom. Join HPN as we lift Jay-Z up this week.

Weekly Prayer Focus: Amy Poehler

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Amy Meredith Poehler is an American actress, comedian, director, producer, and writer. After studying improv at Chicago’s Second City and ImprovOlympic in the early 1990s, she went to New York City in 1996 to become part of the improvisational comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade. The group’s act became a half-hour sketch comedy series on Comedy Central in 1998. Along with other members of the comedy group, Poehler was a founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

She is best known for starring as Leslie Knope in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, for which she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Musical or Comedy Series in 2014 and a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series in 2012. Poehler was a cast member on the NBC television series Saturday Night Live from 2001 to 2008 and became co-anchor of SNL’s Weekend Update in 2004 alongside friend and colleague Tina Fey. She is also known for voicing Joy from Inside Out, Sally O’Malley from the Horton Hears a Who! movie adaption, Bessie Higgenbottom in the 2008–2011 Nickelodeon series, The Mighty B! and Homily Clock from the American-English dub of The Secret World of Arrietty.

In 2011, Poehler was included on TIME’s “100 most influential people in the world”. She also delivered the Class Day address to Harvard University’s class of 2011.

Poehler and Fey hosted the Golden Globe Awards ceremony for the first time in 2013. Their inaugural appearance garnered attention due to a joke directed at Taylor Swift, who later responded with a Madeleine Albright quote: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Poehler’s response to Swift’s comment, made as part of a Vanity Fair interview, was humorous, agreeing that she will go to hell, but for “other reasons”.

Poehler hosted the Golden Globes ceremony with Fey again in 2014 as part of a three-year contract. Gilbert Cruz, of the Vulture website, wrote: “They killed it last year with their opening monologue and they did so again this year.”

Poehler’s memoir, Yes Please, was published on October 28, 2014. She explained in a promotional interview with National Public Radio (NPR) that she was “used to writing in characters and not really writing about myself … it was easier to share the early parts of my life rather than my own current events.” Topics covered in the book include body image, parenthood, and learning about the limitations of physical appearance.

Poehler and Fey hosted the Golden Globe Awards ceremony for the third successive time in 2015, confirming prior to the event that the third time would be their last. Rolling Stone magazine wrote afterward that the pair “left no superstar unscathed during their riotous opening monologue,” in which they “casually roasted the assembled masses”. The Interview (2014), Bill Cosby and Steve Carell were among the numerous subjects covered in the routine.

Poehler served as an executive producer on the Swedish-American sitcom Welcome to Sweden, along with her brother Greg Poehler. The series aired on NBC. She is also an executive producer on Broad City which airs on Comedy Central, and appeared in the season one finale. Since August 2015, she has served as an executive producer on the Hulu original series Difficult People, which stars her former Parks and Recreation co-star Billy Eichner and comedian Julie Klausner, the latter of whom is the creator of the show. In December 2015, Poehler received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions in television. An 18-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee, she won the 2016 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for Saturday Night Live.

Poehler married actor Will Arnett on August 29, 2003. Together, Poehler and Arnett have two sons: Archie (born October 2008) and Abel (born August 2010). Poehler and Arnett announced on September 6, 2012 that they were separating. Arnett filed for divorce on April 8, 2014 and was finalized on July 29, 2016.

As of 2017, Poehler is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Please pray for Amy this week as she will be in media attention due The House, her latests film,  being released. Ask for God to protect her family as we pray this week that God will work mightily in her life and reveal that his truest peace will only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ! 

Weekly Prayer Focus: Josh Duhamel

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Josh Duhamel was born in Minot, North Dakota. He is of French-Canadian, Irish, English, German and Norwegian ancestry. Duhamel was raised Catholic.

His parents divorced during his youth. Although he remains close to both, he grew up with his mother and his three younger sisters, Ashlee, Kassidy and Mckenzee. Duhamel attended Minot State University and played as the quarterback for the university’s football team. He planned to attend dental school, but dropped out one-and-a-half credits shy of his undergraduate degree. He later completed his credits, and he received his degree in 2005.

Josh has stated, “After college, I followed an ex-girlfriend to northern California, did a bunch of odd jobs.” Duhamel had won the title of Male Model of the Year in an International Modeling and Talent Association (IMTA) competition in 1997.

Duhamel began his acting career as an extra in the music videos for Donna Summer’s “I Will Go With You (Con te partirò)” and Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in A Bottle” in 1999. Later that year, he won the role of Leo du Pres on the ABC soap opera All My Children. His work on the show, especially his character’s pairing with Greenlee Smythe (portrayed by actor Rebecca Budig), garnered critical acclaim. In 2003, he earned a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for the Special Fan Award for America’s Favorite Couple in 2002, shared with Budig, and a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Leo du Pres. Duhamel left All My Children in 2002 to pursue other acting opportunities. In 2003, Duhamel landed a primetime role on the NBC show Las Vegas, playing the head of security for the Montecito Casino, Danny McCoy. His character succeeded James Caan’s as head of the casino after Caan departed the series at the end of the fourth season. The series ended in 2008.

Duhamel made his big-screen acting debut in 2004’s Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! and continued on to star in the thriller Turistas (2006). After watching an episode of Las Vegas in which Duhamel’s character had just returned from the war in Iraq, Steven Spielberg handpicked him for the role of Captain William Lennox in 2007’s summer blockbuster film Transformers (a film for which Spielberg was the executive producer). Duhamel reprised the role for the sequels, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, released in June 2009, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, released in June 2011. Duhamel was the official pace car driver for the 2009 Indianapolis 500, driving the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car. In 2010, he played the lead role in the film When in Rome as Nick Beamon. In 2014 Duhamel starred in the touching drama You’re Not You (2014) playing the husband of Kate (Hilary Swank), who suffers from the degenerative disease ALS.

Josh met and began dating singer Stacy Ann Ferguson, better known by her stage name Fergie in September 2004, after Ferguson appeared on Duhamel’s show Las Vegas with her band The Black Eyed Peas. The couple wed on January 10, 2009, in a Roman Catholic ceremony at the Church Estate Vineyards in Malibu, California They have one son, Axl Jack Duhamel born in August 2013.

Please lift up Josh in prayer this week with the release of his latest film, that God would work in mighty ways in his life on set and in the public eye. Please pray for his family, for God to use them as an influence in Hollywood for His Glory!

Weekly Prayer Focus: Elle Fanning

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elle-fanning Mary Elle Fanning was born in Conyers, Georgia on April 9, 1998, the daughter of Heather Joy, who played tennis professionally, and Steven J. Fanning, who played for the St. Louis Cardinals and now works as an electronics salesman in Los Angeles. Fanning is the younger sister of Dakota Fanning, who is also an actress. Fanning and her family are members of the Southern Baptist Convention. Fanning currently attends Campbell Hall School in North Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Her step into stardom was when she was almost 3 years old when she played the younger version of her sister, Dakota Fanning, in the blockbuster I Am Sam (2001), as Lucy. She then played younger Dakota again in Taken (2002) as Allie, age 3. But her first big independent movie without her sister was in 2003’s Daddy Day Care (2003) as Jamie. She has become a successful young actress starring in Sofia Coppola‘s 2010 film, Somewhere, JJ Abrams’ Super 8, and in the recently-released Maleficent. To read more of Elle’s bio, click here!

Let’s lift up Elle Fanning as she experiences Hollywood success, and pray that God would minister to her in all the decisions she will take in her career. Pray that God would guide her and bless her path!

Weekly Prayer Focus: Jake Gyllenhaal

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Jake GyllenhaalJacob BenjaminJakeGyllenhaal is an American actor. The son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner, Gyllenhaal began acting at the age of ten.   Maggie Gyllenhaal, his older sister and also an actress, appeared with Jake in the movie Donnie Darko. Jake’s father, who was raised as a Swedenborgian, is of Swedish and English descent, and is a descendant of the Swedish noble Gyllenhaal family. Jake’s mother is from a Jewish family from New York City, and Jake has said that he considers himself Jewish. On his 13th birthday, he performed a “bar mitzvah-like act, without the typical trappings”, volunteering at a homeless shelter, because his parents wanted to instill in him a sense of gratitude for his privileged lifestyle. His parents insisted that he have summer jobs to support himself, and he thus worked as a lifeguard and as a busboy at a restaurant operated by a family friend.

 As a child, Jake was regularly exposed to filmmaking due to his family’s deep ties to the industry. He made his acting debut as Billy Crystal’s son in the 1991 comedy film City Slickers. In subsequent years, his parents allowed him to audition for parts, but regularly forbade him to take them if he were chosen. He was allowed to appear in his father’s films several times. Jake appeared in the 1993 film A Dangerous Woman (along with sister Maggie); in “Bop Gun” a 1994 episode of Homicide: Life on the Street; and in the 1998 comedy Homegrown. Along with their mother, Jake and Maggie appeared in two episodes of Molto Mario, an Italian cooking show on the Food Network. Prior to his senior year in high school, the only other film not directed by his father, in which Jake was allowed to perform, was the 1993 film Josh and S.A.M., a little-known children’s adventure.

He graduated from the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles in 1998, then attended Columbia Universityto study Eastern religions and philosophy. Jake dropped out after two years to concentrate on acting, but has expressed intentions to eventually finish his degree.  His first lead role was in October Sky, Joe Johnston’s 1999 adaptation of the Homer Hickam autobiography Rocket Boys, in which he portrayed a young man from West Virginia striving to win a science scholarship to avoid becoming a coal miner. The film earned $32 million and was described in the Sacramento News and Review as Jake’s “breakout performance.”

One of the more notorious films Jake is known for is his part in the movie Brokeback Mountain. Jake was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film.

In his spare time, Jake enjoys woodworking and cooking. He has said, “I am not a card-carrying Buddhist, but I do try to practice mindfulness” and it is his goal to meditate every day. For more of Jake’s bio, click HERE!

Let’s lift up Jake in prayer this week! Pray that God will draw him to a realization of the truth of the Gospel, who God is and his own need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! 

Weekly Prayer Focus: Emma Stone

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Emma Stone Emily Jean Stone was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, to Jeff Stone, contracting company founder and CEO, and Krista, a homemaker.Stone attended Sequoya Elementary School and Cocopah Middle School but then went on to be homeschooled for two years. During that time, she appeared in sixteen productions at Valley Youth Theatre, including The Princess and the Pea, Alice in Wonderland, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and performed with the theater’s improv comedy troupe. Her parents also sent her for private lessons with a local acting coach who had worked at the William Morris Agency in the 1970s. Stone later attended the Xavier College preparatory, an all-girl Catholic high school, although she was raised as a Lutheran. In 2004, at the age of fifteen, she convincingly asked her parents to move to California to pursue a career in acting, and she moved to Los Angeles with her mother.

She had her TV breakthrough when she won the part of Laurie Partridge in the VH1 talent/reality show In Search of the Partridge Family which led to a number of small TV roles in the following years. Her movie debut was as Jules in Superbad (2007) and, after a string of successful performances, her leading role as Olive in Easy A (2010) established her as a star. This role got her a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a comedy or musical. Stone then went on to work on Friends With Benefits, Crazy, Stupid, Love & the Oscar nominated The Help. More recently, she plays comic book character Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spiderman 1 & 2. Her upcoming work include film projects by James Cameron & Woody Allen. She is also a model for the Revlon brand along with other famous actresses including Halle Berry and Olivia Wilde. Click here for more of Emma’s bio.

Please lift up Emma in prayer, that God would work in mighty ways in her daily life on movie sets and on the public eye. Please pray that she would come to know God more personally and she would be an influence in Hollywood for His glory!



Weekly Prayer Focus: Leslie Mann

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Leslie MannLeslie J. Mann was born in San Francisco, California, and grew up in Newport Beach. She was raised by her mother, a real estate agent who had married three times. After her parents divorced, she separated herself from her father and broke off their relationship. Mann has stated of her father, “My dad is…I don’t really have one. I mean, he does exist, but I have zero relationship with him”. She describes herself as a “very shy, kind of pent-up” during her youth. Mann graduated from Corona del Mar High School, and studied acting at the Joanne Baron / D. W. Brown Studio and with comedy improv troupe The Groundlings. 

At the age of 17 she launched her career, appearing in various TV commercials. She had her screen break when she was cast as Nurse Mary in the short-lived Birdland (1994). And other film roles followed including  The Cable GuyGeorge of The Jungle and Big Daddy. She married Judd Apatow in 1997 and starred in some of the movies produced by him such as : The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Funny People and This is 40. Mann and Apatow are involved in various social justice causes including the non-profit organization 826LA, which focuses on encouraging the writing skills of disadvantaged youth. They are also involved with the UCLA Rape Treatment Center’s Stuart House, which serves the needs of sexually abused children and their families. Click here for more of Leslie’s bio.

Please pray for Leslie Mann as her and her husband are involved in comedic movies that are influential in Hollywood. Pray that God would become personal to her and transform not only her heart but her career!


Weekly Prayer Focus: Chris Evans

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Chris EvansChristopher Robert Evans Chris Evans was born in Boston and raised in the town of Sudbury. His mother, Lisa (Capuano), is an artistic director at the Concord Youth Theater, and his father, Bob, is a dentist. He and his siblings were raised Catholic. Upon going on a trip to India, he became interested in Buddhism. “I spent three weeks in Rishikesh in 2005 or 2006 at a Buddhist retreat. I attend a Buddhism class here in LA and the woman who teaches had trained there. So we all went and stayed in this little village for about three weeks, hiked the Himalayas, camped on the banks of the Ganga… it was great,” says Evans. “There was a whole religion that felt the way I was feeling. That’s when I thought, ‘Wow, I think I’m a Buddhist’. I’m just more of an Eastern philosophy kind of guy,” says the actor, adding that, “The brain is a noisy place and all this is just to quiet it down. It’s certainly helpful to me while I’m on the sets.”

While at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, his obvious talent led others to lavish praise and encouragement on him, particularly his drama teacher, who cited his performance as “Leontes” in “The Winter’s Tale” as exemplary of his skill. After more school plays and regional theater, he moved to New York and attended the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. Evans soon began auditioning for feature films and series television. In 2004, he ended up grabbing the lead in the kidnapping thriller Cellular. He then played the superhero “Human Torch” in the 2005  comic book adaptation Fantastic Four. In 2011, Evans played the Marvel Comics character Captain America in Captain America: The First Avenger. He reprised this role in the 2012 film The Avengers and the just released sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier. His upcoming films include his directorial debut, 1:30 Train, the sequel to The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and the third Captain America film. (Click here for more of Chris’ bio.)

We can pray this week that God will work mightily in Chris’ life and reveal that his truest peace will only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ! 




Weekly Prayer Focus: Amy Adams

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AmyAdamsAmy Lou Adams is an American actress and singer. Amy was born to American parents  Richard Kent and Kathryn Adams in Vicenza, Italy.  Her father was a U.S. serviceman stationed at Caserma Ederle at the time of her birth, and took the entire family from base to base, before settling in Castle Rock, Colorado, when Adams was eight years old. Thereafter, her father sang professionally in restaurants and her mother was a semi-professional bodybuilder. Amy was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but her family left the Mormon church after her parents’ divorce in 1985. Amy said her religious upbringing “… instilled in me a value system I still hold true. The basic ‘Do unto others…’, that was what was hammered into me. And love.”

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