WEEKLY PRAYER FOCUS

“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: Women in Hollywood

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For this week’s Prayer Focus, HPN wants to do something a little different. Usually, we would focus on praying for one individual influential person in Hollywood. This week, however, in light of the recent Hollywood sex scandals, we want to pray for all of the women who have spoken out and gone on the record about being targeted, sexually harassed, and abused, including the victims of Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly and most recently, Harvey Weinstein. This age-old treatment of women is being revealed and it’s more rampant than most people realize.

As these are all currently-developing stories, we are doing our best to provide accurate information from multiple sources. But at HPN, our first priority is praying for the people in Hollywood – and as these women in the industry continue to tell their stories, we want to pray for each of them and lift them up to God.

Pray with us this week that each one of these women will experience the presence, truth, comfort, and peace of the Lord. Pray in thanks for their courage to speak publicly about their range of painful experiences, and ask God to affirm them and continue to give them the courage and strength they need as the cases continue to develop. Pray that they will be supported instead of silenced by their friends, family, the media, and the public. Let’s pray for God to encourage any other women who may have had similar experiences, to share their stories with bravery and that God will take away whatever shame they might have. Pray that each of these women will come to know the love of God, and that through Him they may receive true deep emotional healing from these experiences.

Below is a list of some of the women to pray for who have most recently spoken out:

Asia Argento
Rosanna Arquette
Jessica Barth
Kate Beckinsale
Zoë Brock
Liza Campbell
Emma de Caunes
Cara Delevingne
Sophie Dix
Dawn Dunning
Lucia Evans
Claire Forlani
Romola Garai
Louisette Geiss
Louise Godbold
Judith Godrèche
Heather Graham
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez
Angelina Jolie
Ashley Judd
Katherine Kendall
Laura Madden
Sarah Ann Masse
Rose McGowan
Emily Nestor
Gwyneth Paltrow
Zelda Perkins
Tomi-Ann Roberts
Léa Seydoux
Mira Sorvino
Evan Rachel Wood

Weekly Prayer Focus: Bruce Springsteen

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Bruce Springsteen is an American singer-songwriter. He is known for his work with the E Street Band. His work has included commercial rock albums and folk-oriented music. Springsteen has sold more than 120 million records, and has received many awards including 20 Grammy Awards. In 2009, he was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

Springsteen was born in New Jersey in 1949. He attended a Catholic school, and has said that although he was at odds with the structures of the school, his Catholic upbringing had a larger influence than anything else on his music.

Springsteen grew up hearing Frank Sinatra on the radio, as well as Elvis Presley and The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1964, he bought his first guitar. Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, Springsteen performed with young bands and trios, playing gigs in clubs and venues in several cities around the country.

In 1972 Springsteen was signed to Columbia Records. He released his debut album in January 1973, Greetings from Ashbury Park, N.J. Just months later, in September 1973, he released his second album, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. Both of these albums received critical acclaim but had low sales.

In 1975, Springsteen and the E Street Band had their breakthrough at a 10-show stand in New York. Nearly ten years later, he released what is now one of the best-selling albums of all time: Born in the U.S.A. (1984). This period of time was when Springsteen was most highly visible in pop culture and reached a very broad audience.

Springsteen continued to release music in the 1990s, after moving to Los Angeles (which had caused concerns for his fans that he would change as a musician). He released Human Touch and Lucky Town at the same time. In 1999, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

During the early 2000s, following his Reunion Tour with the E Street Band and the band’s first studio album in many years – The Rising (2002) – Springsteen experienced a return to success. He and the band released more albums over the next few years and continued to tour and perform. In 2009, Springsteen performed at the Super Bowl halftime show.

Springsteen and the E Street Band have continued to perform and release albums through 2015. This fall, Springsteen is performing a run on Broadway, which began this week. Read more about Springsteen on Broadway here.

In his autobiography, Springsteen wrote that he has “a personal relationship with Jesus. I believe in his power to save, love…but not to damn.” Referring to his Catholic faith, he has said “I don’t participate in my religion but I know somewhere…deep inside…I’m still on the team.”

This week, join us in praying for Bruce Springsteen. Pray that God will draw near to him and he will experience the presence, love, and closeness of God. Pray for his strength and health during his Broadway show performance. Let’s pray that God will use his previous knowledge and experience of Jesus to inspire curiosity in him to explore more about God.

Weekly Prayer Focus: Lady Gaga

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Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She is known for her unconventional images and musical ideas. She was raised in a Catholic family, and attended an all-girls Catholic school in Manhattan as a child.

Gaga has played piano nearly her entire life, and wrote her first piano ballad at age 13. She also was involved in theater in high school; one of her roles was Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. At age 17, she gained early admission to a music school at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Two years into the program, she dropped out of the school to focus on her music career.

Gaga was initially focused on avant-garde electronic dance music, but eventually found her niche as she began to use pop melodies and gain inspiration from David Bowie and Queen. After a long process of performing locally with her band from college, a stint as a neo-burlesque performer, and songwriting for other singers and bands, Gaga was able to begin creating her own debut album, The Fame, which released in 2008.

Over the years, Lady Gaga has released many albums, songs, and musical projects. Some of the most popular ones are “Born this Way,” “Bad Romance,” “Telephone,” and Artpop. In 2011, she collaborated with Tony Bennett on a jazz version of “The Lady Is a Tramp.” This performance was received with pleasant surprise, as it was one of the first times Gaga’s “real voice” in a more classic style had been widely displayed. This also led to Gaga creating an entire album with Tony Bennett in 2014, Cheek to Cheek.

Gaga is known for her outlandish style in music and fashion. Her persona receives mixed responses, but her radical uniqueness also contributed to her rise in fame. She is also an outspoken activist, participating in many philanthropic efforts.

Recently, Lady Gaga posted a photo on Instagram of herself praying the rosary, and explained the cancellation of her European tour that was planned for this fall. She described that she is experiencing “physical and mental health struggles…[that are] complicated and difficult to explain,” and that she needs to be with her doctors so she can “be strong and perform for you all for the next 60 years or more.” Although Lady Gaga did not specify in her recent post, her health issues could be connected to her ongoing struggles with chronic pain. She has recently begun discussing in more candor – including in her new Netflix documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two – her chronic illness, fibromyalgia. She tweeted that she wants to “help raise awareness and connect people who have it.”

Let us pray this week for Lady Gaga and her health. Pray that God will give her doctors wisdom and discernment about how to help her effectively. Let’s pray boldly for her healing, recovery, and for her to be free of daily pain. Pray that God will make His presence and care known to her, and that she will feel His comfort and strength. Also, let us pray that the public’s and media’s response to her decision to cancel her tour will be supportive, positive, and understanding.