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: Alan Silvestri

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Alan Silvestri is an American composer and conductor. He is known for his film and television scores, with a career that spans the last 46 years. Silvestri was raised in New Jersey, and his musical interests began with playing jazz guitar. He attended the Berklee College of Music for two years, after which he began performing and arranging professionally. He moved to Hollywood at age 22, where his composing career kicked off with the film The Doberman Gang (1972).

Silvestri’s rhythmic, synth-pop stylings served as the score for the TV series CHiPs from 1977 to 1983. He then developed a strong working relationship with producer Robert Zemeckis, and beginning with Romancing the Stone (1984), Silvestri has since scored all of Zemeckis’s films. These include the Back to the Future trilogy (1985-1990), Forrest Gump (1994), Cast Away (2000), Beowulf (2007), A Christmas Carol (2009), and The Walk (2015).

Silvestri has also composed the score for films directed by James Cameron and Stephen Sommers. His recent film work includes The Avengers (2012), The Croods (2013), and Ready Player One (2018). He also scored the new film Avengers: Infinity War (2018) which is releasing later this week.

Silvestri has been nominated for two Academy Awards and two Golden Globes. He also has been nominated for four Grammy awards, of which he won two. Silvestri now lives with his wife in California, where they own a vineyard. Silvestri is quoted on his website, saying “There’s something about the elemental side of winemaking that appeals to me. Both music making and wine making involve the blending of art and science. Just as each note brings it own voice to the melody, each vine brings its own unique personality to the wine.”

Pray with us this week for Alan Silvestri. We thank God for the musical talent he has given him, and pray that Alan would grow closer to God as he continues to create music. Pray that Alan encounters the Lord through music, in a way that is meaningful and personal to him. We also pray that in Alan’s recording sessions, whenever he collaborates with other musicians, and when he serves as a conductor, his interactions are full of patience and compassion along with his drive for excellence. Pray that Alan would build relationships with people, especially other musicians, who can demonstrate God’s love and grace to him.

Weekly Prayer Focus: Emilia Clarke

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Emilia Clarke is an English actress, born in London in 1986. Her interest in acting started at a young age, and led to her attending Drama Centre London (graduated 2009). Clarke’s first television role was in a 2009 episode of Doctors, a British soap opera.

In 2010, Clarke earned the role of Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. She has been nominated three times for an Emmy in this role since then and has received praise throughout the seasons for her performance.

Clarke also appeared in the film Spike Island (2012), a Broadway production of Breakfast at Tiffany’s (2013), and the film Terminator Genisys (2015). She then starred as the female lead in the film Me Before You (2016). This book adaptation was commercially successful and had a positive reception. Clarke was also cast as the female lead in Solo: A Star Wars Story, the next stand-alone film in the franchise to be released May 2018.

Clarke’s mother, Jennifer, is the director of the charity The Anima Foundation, which works to educate the public and raise funds for brain injury care. Emilia herself is involved in this organization and several others, and most recently was named the ambassador for the Royal College of Nursing in England. In the press release, Clarke said “I am fiercely proud of my new role as ambassador and vow to use it to champion nurses and their work. Together, we must attract young people into the profession, support them to innovate and become the powerful nurses of tomorrow.”

We want to pray together for Emilia Clarke this week. Pray that she can experience the love of Jesus in a way that is meaningful and tangible to her. We pray that she can develop deeper relationships with Christians in her life who can show her selfless compassion and grace. Pray that with her new film releasing next month, she will be shielded from negative feedback that isn’t constructive and it won’t affect her emotionally or mentally. We pray that as the final season of Game of Thrones is in production, she can enjoy her time on set with the rest of the cast and crew and that their personal and professional relationships are healthy, loving, and supportive.

Weekly Prayer Focus: John Legend

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John Legend (born John Roger Stephens in 1978) is an American singer, songwriter, musician and actor. He has been involved in music his entire life, from performing with his church choir at four years old to serving as the musical director of his college a cappella group to portraying the title role in the recent live adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Legend’s debut album, Get Lifted, was released in 2004. The album won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. Legend was featured on several other records in the following years, including collaborations with Jay Z, Mary J. Blige, The Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, and many others. Legend’s second album, Once Again (2006), was also very successful and earned another Grammy award. These albums effectively kicked off the next decade and more of success for Legend, including multiple award-winning albums, tours, and judging the ABC music show Duets.

In 2016, Legend played the role of Keith in the film La La Land. He co-wrote and performed “Start a Fire” for the film’s soundtrack. Legend also gained producing credit around this time, as a producer of the TV show Underground (2016-2017) and the film Southside with You (2016).

On Easter 2018, Legend played the role of Jesus Christ in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert on NBC. He also was an executive producer of the musical. Legend did an interview with Relevant Magazine prior to the performance about how his religious background helped prepare him for the role. Legend explained that he “grew up playing gospel music.” He also was the choir director at Bethel AME Church in Scranton, Pennsylvania for almost 10 years before the rise of his performance career. Legend says he does not currently consider himself religious, but says, “all of that is still with me.” He’s noticed that there’s been more of a conversation lately about how “Jesus was kind of a revolutionary in his own way. He was fighting the power and speaking out for the underdog almost all the time throughout His life.” Legend’s passion for fighting social injustice seems to be rooted in his church background, which gave him the willingness to engage with complex human issues. He said, “I think it’s important that we continue to examine [Jesus’] words and not to project what our own political motivations are onto Him, but to actually pay attention to what He actually said. What He said about the poor, what He said about loving one another and all the things that He preached, I think sometimes we lose sight of that.” The Relevant article comments, “While Legend may no longer be religious, he carries a moral burden with him. He sees success as a platform. He sees fatherhood as a window to better understand the needy. He sees a society that’s deeply in need of people who will live Jesus’ message—even if they, and he, aren’t sure who He really is.” Legend insists he has “no doubt that the message of Christian love has stayed with me.”

Pray with us for John Legend this week. We are praying that his own performance and involvement in Jesus Christ Superstar has a lasting effect on him in the way that it caused his spiritual background to resurface. We pray that he can develop a new relationship with God and know that Jesus’s message of love can be personal to John himself, not just a message for the world in general. Pray that there would be someone in his life that he is close to and trusts who can represent the hope and joy of Jesus to him. We want to ask God to encounter John in a way that is tangible to him, and help him to know more of who Jesus really is. And we pray that as he gets to know Jesus deeper, John can be a light of joy and represent Jesus in his career, music, relationships, and everyday work.