“Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers.” Sidlow Baxter 

Weekly Prayer Focus: Auli’i Cravalho

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Auli’i Cravalho is an American actress, voice actress, and singer. She was born in Kohala, Hawaii in 2000 and is 17 years old.

Cravalho made her debut as Moana in the 2016 Disney film (for which she was cast at age 14). She quickly rose to fame thanks to her newly-discovered talent in voice acting and singing. Cravalho (and her voice) have become recognizable to countless children around the world, and she has also arguably become a role model for children and teens in the process.

In February 2017, shortly before her live performance at the Oscars ceremony, Cravalho auditioned for and was cast on the NBC drama Rise. The series premiered on March 13, 2018 and is her first live action role.

In reference to what her next steps will be, Cravalho said “I think I’ve been looking back so much, but I haven’t really looked forward. I’ve realized, my gosh, I was just a freshman in high school and then all of this happened. I’ve missed dances at my school, and I’ve missed assemblies, and I feel like I’ve grown up so much. I’m grateful for everything that has come to me, and I realize the only thing that has really been steady is my mom, and my appreciation for every role that I’ve been given — and I’ve worked hard for it. But I don’t know where I want to go. I want to be happy, and whether that keeps me in this industry or not, I just really want that to be my goal” (Hollywood Reporter).

Cravalho is on HPN’s Kids and Teens Prayer Calendar for March 2018, and one of the prayers on the calendar is “for child and teen actors to stay grounded and develop wisdom.” We pray this for Auli’i Cravalho, especially considering her recent and quick rise to notoriety. With her increased maturity as she continues work in Hollywood, we ask God to give her wisdom and discernment as she chooses her next projects. We pray that she (as well as her management and her family) can be selective with what she participates in, and that nothing she works on will have a negative or damaging effect on her.

We pray that Auli’i will experience the love of God, perhaps even through someone else in the entertainment industry that she works with. We pray especially for coverage of her in the media as her show Rise gains traction, and for responses to her on social media, and that none of it will be invasive, damaging, dehumanizing, or hurtful. We pray for protection over her, and that even if negative words are directed towards her in the media, she will not ever see or hear them. Pray that her relationship with her mom is loving and that her mom is patient, supportive, protecting, and continues to provide a sense of stability for Auli’i.

Weekly Prayer Focus: Chadwick Boseman

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Chadwick Boseman is an American actor born in 1977. He was born and raised in South Carolina, and attended Howard University in Washington, DC to earn a bachelor of fine arts in directing. Boseman originally wanted to write and direct, but began studying acting to better understand actors and how to work with them. He ended up moving to Los Angeles in 2008 to pursue an acting career himself.

In his early career, Boseman’s work included episodes of Third Watch, Law & Order, CSI:NY, and ER. He had a recurring role on the TV series Lincoln Heights in 2008, and in the same year appeared in his first film, The Express. During this time he also continued to write plays, one of which was performed in Chicago (Deep Azure).

In 2010, Boseman appeared in a regular role on the TV series Persons Unknown. He then earned his first starring role, in the film 42, in which he played baseball star Jackie Robinson (2013). During this same year, he had also been directing an off-Broadway play and acting in the indie film The Kill Hole.

Boseman played an NFL draft prospect in Draft Day (2014), and starred as James Brown in Get on Up in the same year. He also played Thoth in Gods of Egypt (2016).

Most recently, Boseman is known as the star of Black Panther (2018), and played the same role in Captain America: Civil War (2016). He will also reprise the role of T’Challa/Black Panther in Avengers: Infinity War later in 2018 (the third in his five-film deal with Marvel).

Boseman was raised Christian, was baptized, and was part of a youth group and church choir. His childhood pastor has spoken about Boseman’s faith, saying he is still a believer.

This week, pray with us for Chadwick Boseman. We pray that he does still feel close to God and that his faith and relationship with God can be strengthened, not weakened, by his acting career. Pray that there are people around him who can encourage him in his faith and bring the truth of Jesus into his life. He has received increased media attention due to the huge popularity and success of Black Panther, so we pray that this attention would be respectful and not invasive to him. Pray that he would have a strong community around him of friends and family who value him as a person, not just for his work and career. We also pray that the roles he plays, whether as Black Panther in upcoming films or any other projects he does, would be an opportunity for him to represent God’s love to people – both on set and in audiences. Pray this week that Chadwick Boseman would feel God’s presence and truly experience His love.

Weekly Prayer Focus: Lupita Nyong’o

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Lupita Nyong’o is a Kenyan-Mexican actress, born in 1983. She was born in Mexico City, raised in Kenya, then attended college and began her career in the United States.

Nyong’o made her acting debut in the short film East River in 2008. In Kenya, from 2009-2012, she starred in the TV series Shuga. She also wrote, produced, and directed the documentary In My Genes (2009). Following this, she attended the Yale School of Drama to earn a master’s degree in acting.

After graduating, Nyong’o landed her first feature film role as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave (2013). Her performance earned her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as nominations for several other acting awards.

Nyong’o co-starred in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) as Maz Kanata, performing both the voice and motion capture for the character. She reprised this role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). Also in 2015, she starred in the play Eclipsed (which premiered on Broadway in 2016). She received several recognitions for this performance, including a Tony Award nomination. She performed another voice acting role as Raksha in The Jungle Book (2016), and co-starred in the biopic Queen of Katwe (2016). Most recently, Nyong’o portrayed Nakia in Black Panther (2018).

Nyong’o is involved in many upcoming projects, including her writing debut with a children’s book titled Sulwe (which means “star” in Luo, Nyong’o’s native language). The book reportedly “tells the story of a 5-year-old Kenyan girl of the same name who is insecure about having darker skin than the rest of her family members. With a bit of wisdom from her mother, Sulwe takes a fanciful journey through the night’s sky that helps her embrace the deep hue of her skin” (ew.com). In an Instagram post, Nyong’o wrote, “I hope it serves as an inspiration for everyone to walk with joy in their own skin.”

This week, we pray for Lupita Nyong’o and that she will experience God’s love and know His grace. We thank God for the talent that He has given her, and pray that her work and artistry will glorify Him. Pray that her influence will continue to be positive, and that projects like her upcoming book will be expressions of God’s love and value for all His children. We pray that any followers of Jesus in her life would pray for her and demonstrate God’s love to her. We also pray for discernment and wisdom for her when choosing future projects, and that she will be able to avoid anything that would be damaging to her in any way.