Cultural revival through prayer
In a year of faith based films and film companies, such as Fox Faith, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and The Weinstein brothers (who now have a Faith Based Film Division) one would think that Hollywood is finally getting the message that faith based and family friendly films can indeed work.
While those box office dollars certainly speak volumes, they don't necessarily change the hearts of Hollywood's decision makers or creative community. Making a ‘clean’ movie, song or TV show is wonderful, but changing the hearts of the people creating these products is what will truly and eternally make an impact. That's why we need to pray.
In the US, while Washington is the global seat of power, Hollywood is the global seat of influence. But instead of rallying to pray, as many have done for Washington, Christians often have rallied to rail against Hollywood. Even Christians in the media have struggled with trying to love the people here.
For years, Artisan, The Hollywood Prayer Network, and Mastermedia International are the only known ministries who have been challenging Christians around the world to pray for people in all areas of film, television, theatre, music, news, print and new media. At least 50,000 people have rallied around to join in prayer for this influential yet mainly unevangelized ‘people group’, but that’s a far cry from the 2.6 million on the Presidential Prayer Team who pray for our government.
The Church has poured prayers into missionaries in Africa, but have we thought to pray for the producers of CSI or Lost? We send Christians to mission fields around the world, but could it be that we try our hardest to keep Christians away from the world's most influential mission fields: the arts and entertainment cultural centres of the world?
We have to step back from our stereotyped beliefs about the people in the arts and the creative culture changers in Hollywood, New York, London, San Francisco, Nashville, Paris, Chicago and Bollywood, to name a few, and ask the creator of the universe (who is the creator of creative people too) how we should look at our leaders and peers in entertainment. We need to listen to God and hear his plans in order to make an eternal difference.
As artists ourselves, do we single mindedly pursue our careers, work toward our vocational advancement and avoid reaching out the non believers around us? Or do we go out each morning as missionaries to work side by side with our associates, building relationships, serving and praying for the people around us in order to love them to Jesus?
The truth is that people in the entertainment industry are becoming Christians; experiencing not just radical personal change, but a shift in their subject matter and an increase in the quality of their work as well. And it all began with prayer. For example:
A film producer stopped making exploitation films after turning her life over to God. In fact, after much prayer, her most recent film has a theme of abstinence.
A network executive became a Christian and threw out an immoral script he had been writing, saying that he couldn't write that kind of stuff anymore.
A godly writer of a controversial sitcom got assigned an uncomfortable story line, asked for prayer from his friends—and suddenly the story line disappeared.
An actor became a Christian while on a set because he made friends with another actor who brought her Bible to work and answered his questions about who Jesus really is, while praying for him every day.
The only answer to ‘the entertainment industry problem’ or immorality, lack of ethics, violence, bad language and inappropriate subject matter is not just making more ‘faith based’ movies, but praying with loving, life transforming prayers. Our job is not to ‘convert’ but to pray. There are no vacancies in the Trinity. It’s God’s job to change people. It’s our job to invite God in to do it.
Changing the media, changing culture or even trying to impact it with one great film is not a battle of flesh and blood. We've tried that, and it doesn't work. It's a battle of spiritual powers, authorities and principalities, and the only way to win this battle is for Christians to pray together for God to redeem his people in the media.
God's greatest commandment is to love him and then love others as ourselves. We must love our peers in our industry and ask God to touch and move them, to humble themselves before him, and to change us so that our hearts break for them. Then and only then will we see lives change – starting with our own.