In a year in which The Passion of the Christ and Shrek 2 have been smash hits, one would hope that Hollywood is getting the message that faith-based and family-friendly films can indeed work.

But while those box-office dollars certainly speak volumes, they don't necessarily change the hearts of Hollywood's decision makers. That's where we need to pray. Where would Hollywood be today if American Christians actually started praying for the people creating films, music and TV shows?

Washington, D.C., is the global seat of power. Since the beginning of our nation, Christians have faithfully prayed for our political leaders, and today there are hundreds of prayer movements whose focus is to specifically pray for those leaders. The Presidential Prayer Team alone has an e-mail list of over 2.6 million American prayer warriors.

While Washington is the global seat of power, Hollywood is the global seat of influence. And Americans have long been concerned about Hollywood's offerings. But instead of rallying to pray, as many have done for Washington, Christians often have rallied to rail—against Hollywood. Instead of encouraging entertainment leaders to produce better fare, Christians have organized angry letter-writing campaigns to express their distaste—and even hatred.

But "grousing is not a gift of the Spirit," says Steve Douglass, president of Campus Crusade for Christ International. "We need to stop complaining about Hollywood and start praying for it."

Where Are the Warriors?

There are only two known organizations whose goal is to mobilize national prayer for people in the entertainment industry, and both are located in Hollywood. Mastermedia International and The Hollywood Prayer Network (HPN) are non-profit ministries who understand the need for asking God to change the hearts and lives of the people in that community.

For 15 years, Mastermedia has printed the Media Leaders Prayer Calendar, distributed quarterly to almost 50,000 people. That's wonderful—but a far cry from the 2.6 million on the Presidential Prayer Team. HPN, meanwhile, sends monthly e-mails to an estimated 10,000 prayer warriors. Again, that's good—but far short of what it could be. And as far as we know, there are no Christian ministries outside of Hollywood whose sole purpose is to organize national prayer for this influential yet unevangelized hidden "people group."

There are prayer ministries, prayer e-mails, prayer newsletters and prayer teams reaching millions of people who intercede for our schools, our government, our military, our police, firemen, drunk drivers, professional athletes, families, marriages, religious leaders, missionaries, hidden people groups, college students and even animals.

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But why aren't we praying for Hollywood?

We've poured our prayers into missionary friends in Nigeria, but we haven't thought to pray for the producers of CSI or Law and Order. We've given money to a godly man in our church who is helping to translate the Bible into Swahili, but when a friend's talented daughter can't get a job as a singer in Nashville, we tell her to come home and get a real job.

We send Christians to mission fields around the world, but we try our hardest to keep Christians away from the world's most influential mission field: Hollywood. What's up with that?

Drop the Stereotypes

We have to step back from our stereotyped beliefs about Hollywood and ask the Creator of the Universe—and of the arts—how we should look at people in the entertainment industry. We have to listen to Christians in Hollywood about what they need from the church in order to make an eternal difference.

We can't be afraid of Hollywood or its people. True, many aren't Christians, or even churchgoers. And yes, they often create entertainment that's immoral, violent and inappropriate. So do we hate them for it, or do we pray for them? Do we avoid them like the plague, or do we go as tent-makers to work side by side with them, build relationships, pray for them and love them to Jesus?

Do we try to make them act like Christians? Or do we pray for them to become Christians?

Many in the entertainment industry have become Christians, experiencing not just radical personal change, but an increase in the quality of their work. 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 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.

Hollywood Staying Put

The only answer to "the Hollywood problem" is prayer—loving prayer and much more of it.

Hollywood won't go away. Its influence is ever growing, even defining our culture. And we have to face it head on—but not alone. It's not a battle of flesh and blood. We've tried that, and it doesn't work. It's a battle of spiritual powers, and the only way to win is for Christians to pray together for God to redeem his people in the media.

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We need prayer teams to join e-mail lists so that 2.6 million people are praying for Hollywood's leaders. We need churches to commission their young people to join the entertainment industry as missionaries, and then to support them through money and prayer. We need the Mastermedia Media Leader Prayer Calendars to be on every church table that offers Our Daily Bread. We need every TV remote in Christian homes to have a Hollywood Prayer Network Remote Prayer Sticker on it, reminding everyone in that home to stop and pray for the people involved in the shows that they're watching or surfing through.

Who will join the movement to pray? Start by asking God what your part is. Start praying for—rather than against, as many Christians are apt to do—entertainment decision and celebrities.

God's greatest commandment is to love him and then love others as ourselves. We must love people in Hollywood—Christians and the lost—and ask God to touch and move them, to humble themselves before him. Then and only then will we see lives change.

And just think: Praying for Hollywood could bring cultural revival. Not just here, but around the world.

Karen Covell is a TV producer and the Director of the Hollywood Prayer Network, where you can get a free 15-minute DVD, " The Hollywood Crisis," some Remote Prayer Stickers, sign up to be an "I to I" prayer partner and receive their monthly e-mail on how to pray for Hollywood.