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: Chris Pratt

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Chris Pratt was born in 1979 in Minnesota, and soon after moved to Washington. In high school he did wrestling, and remarked to his coach that he knew he’d be famous someday.

Soon after starting community college, Pratt dropped out. For a while, he worked as a ticket salesman as well as a stripper. After this, he ended up being homeless in Maui, Hawaii, spending nights in a van and a tent. In Maui, at age 19, he was discovered by actress and director Rae Dawn Chong, who cast him in her short horror film Cursed Part 3.

In 2009, Pratt began his role as Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation. He played Scott Hatteberg in Moneyball in 2011, which was a new kind of role for him – dramatic and mature, contrary to his previous characters which were often more youthful. He portrayed a Navy SEAL in Zero Dark Thirty (2012) and also had a role in Her (2013).

In 2014, Pratt began to make his name as a leading actor. He first headlined The Lego Movie, and later that year starred in Guardians of the Galaxy. He also played the lead role of Owen Grady in Jurassic World (2015), and will reprise that role in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018). Pratt starred as Josh Farraday in the 2016 remake of The Magnificent Seven. Also in 2016, he co-starred alongside Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers. Recently, Pratt reprised his role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), and will again play the same role in Avengers: Infinity War (2018). In April 2017, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Chris Pratt is publicly known as a Christian, and has discussed his faith many times in the media. While living in Hawaii, a man approached him and invited him to church; soon after this, Pratt became Christian. Others have commented that he is casual about his faith, and isn’t afraid of talking about being Christian or praying for and with people, including non-believers.

In August, Chris Pratt and Anna Faris – married for eight years – announced their legal separation. Their separation was widely discussed by the news and social media, and continues to draw attention (such as when Anna Faris appeared without Pratt at the Emmys). The couple also received public comment and criticism from specifically Christian sources.

This week, let us lift up Chris Pratt in our prayers together. Let’s pray for God to restore their relationship with Himself at the center of it. Pray for their young son Jack, and that God will take away any of the weight Jack might bear as an outcome of the separation. Let’s also pray that the news and social media will respond with compassion, and that other public Christian voices speak out with love and not condemnation. In the midst of the difficulties of the separation, pray that Chris Pratt can continue to seek the Lord daily and bring the light and love of God everywhere he goes and works.

Weekly Prayer Focus: Kristen Bell

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Kristen Bell in an American actress who began her career in stage productions. She attended the Tisch School of Arts in New York. She played Becky Thatcher in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer on Broadway in 2001, leaving New York University to do so. She also had a role in the Broadway revival of The Crucible. After this, in 2002, she moved to Los Angeles. In 2004, Bell began her role in Veronica Mars as the title character. She found parallels between her own life and her character Veronica’s life, and many critics believed she should have been considered for an Emmy Award for her performance.

Bell appeared as Elle Bishop on several episodes of Heroes, and also voiced the title character in Gossip Girl (both roles began in 2007). Over the next few years she had roles in many films as well as voicing a character, Lucy, in the Assassin’s Creed video game franchise. Bell starred in the family drama film Big Miracle in 2012. She also portrayed Mary Magdalene in The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio New Testament Bible, which is a dramatized audio adaptation of the New Testament. In 2012, Bell voiced Anna in the Disney film Frozen. In 2013, Bell reprised her role as Veronica in a crowd-funded Veronica Mars film.

Recently, Bell starred as Kiki in 2016 comedy film Bad Moms and has reprised that role for the sequel A Bad Moms Christmas, releasing later this year. She also stars as Eleanor Shellstrop in NBC comedy series The Good Place, which premiers its second season next week on September 20th.

Last year, Bell began publicly talking about her struggles with mental health. She wrote, “Depression gave me a complete and utter sense of isolation and loneliness. … I felt worthless, like I had nothing to offer, like I was a failure. Now, after seeking help, I can see that those thoughts, of course, couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s important for me to be candid about this so people in a similar situation can realize that they are not worthless and that they do have something to offer. We all do.”

Bell is often involved with philanthropic efforts and charities, and this past week she made the news and garnered interest on social media for her positive presence in Florida during Hurricane Irma. She performed Frozen songs for a group of evacuees at a shelter, helped Josh Gad’s family get a hotel room in safety, and visited with residents of a senior center at her hotel and played Bingo with them.

Pray with us this week for Kristen Bell. We ask God to bless her heart for people, her compassion and empathy, and her giving spirit. Pray that God will give her peace and comfort as she continues to heal from her depression, and that God will use her honesty in telling her story about depression to help bring comfort to others. We pray that in her ongoing and upcoming work, God will show her his unconditional love for her and show her who He truly is in her life.

Weekly Prayer Focus: Zachary Levi

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Zachary Levi is an American actor and singer, born in Louisiana. His family moved to California when he was young. At the age of six, he began acting on stage, performing at the Ojai Art Center in regional productions such as Grease, Oklahoma!, and The Wizard of Oz. 

Levi began appearing on television, starting with the FX movie Big Shot: Confessions of a Campus Bookie. He also had a role in the ABC sitcom Less than Perfect as Kipp Steadman.

He also starred as Chuck Bartowski in the series Chuck, beginning the role in 2007. This performance earned him a nomination, and subsequent win, for Best Action Actor for the Teen Choice Awards 2010. In the summer of 2008, Levi was named one of Entertainment Weekly‘s Top Thirty People Under Thirty. He has continued to portray characters in both television and film, including Fandral in Thor: The Dark World (2013) and Jeremiah in Canadian miniseries Alias Grace (currently in post-production).

Levi played the lead role of Georg in the 2016 Broadway revival of She Loves Me. He received a Tony nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical.

Levi has also performed in voice acting roles, such as Flynn Rider in Disney’s 2010 animated film Tangled. He reprised this role for a new television series based on the film, which debuted earlier this year on Disney Channel.

Levi also voices Joseph in an upcoming animated Christian comedy film based on the birth of Jesus. The Star is set to release on November 17th.

Zachary Levi has been a Christian since childhood and has talked in media about his faith. In a 2009 interview with Relevant Magazine, speaking of how he deals with rejection in Hollywood, he said, “the most important factor in all of the rejection was that I had a walk with God.” He also explained, “My job on my set, I believe, is to first just love people and gain that trust with people where they know that I really do love them and care about their well-being,…So more than anything, that’s what I’m trying to do now. Just build relationships with everyone that I work with.”

Join us this week in praying for Zachary Levi. Pray that as his new film releases, God will use his work to both encourage other Christians and inspire curiosity in non-Christians. We also want to ask God to encourage Zachary in his faith as he strives to represent the heart of Jesus to all those with whom he comes in contact. Pray that he is filled with peace and endurance to continue to bring God’s vision of love, mercy, and compassion to the entertainment industry.