IN THEORY:

The annual National Media Prayer Breakfast was held recently, bringing together people of differing faiths to pray for media leaders.

If you were there, who or what in the media — be it news, entertainment, etc. — would you pray for, and why?

I was blessed to have attended a previous National Media Prayer Breakfast (I wasn’t able to this year), and my church and I actively support Mastermedia International’s ministry to bring the good news about Jesus Christ to people working in the media industry.

We are called to serve the people of our community in Jesus’ name, and media/ entertainment is the major industry in our neighborhood. Rather than condemn and shun people working in an industry that is often hostile to our faith, we choose to love and pray for them. We actively encourage and partner with believers working in local studios to stand strong in their faith and to share the gospel with their co-workers in a loving, relevant way.

What is my prayer for this industry? I pray that God will open the hearts of people in every facet of the work to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Much of what the industry produces is morally corrupt, and it needs to change. That will happen for God’s glory when media professionals’ hearts and lives are changed for the better by Jesus Christ.

PASTOR JON BARTA

Valley Baptist Church

Burbank

The Writers Guild strike has garnered much media attention, almost exclusively focused on the big picture, at the expense of the “little guy.” The names of powerful studio heads, media moguls and the rich and famous are constantly in the headlines, while those who are really hurting, by and large, remain unmentioned. There are thousands of people, men and women of all faiths, who are facing serious financial troubles as a result of this disagreement. I have friends and congregants who are affected by this strike — as I’m sure many others do — and it’s not a pleasant picture. I feel it is more important to pray for the many writers affected by the strike and to hope for common sense to prevail. As we enter the holiday season, all people of faith have a responsibility to help those in their time of need. During this time of year, we reaffirm our faith in God and our commitment to spiritual beliefs — a cornerstone of which is assisting others and giving them proper guidance. In addition to prayer, let us strengthen our resolve to do our part in giving moral, practical and physical support to those who are affected by this strike.

Today, Jews across the globe are celebrating the fourth day of Hanukkah.

This holiday commemorates the triumph of good and decency against all odds. Although the Hanukkah story transpired more than 2,000 years ago, its message is eternal and is still very important in our day. Let us all hope and pray that the universal goals of fairness and justice prevail once again.

RABBI SIMCHA BACKMAN

Chabad Jewish Center

I would pray for all the artists who carry forward the creativity and beauty of this world on their shoulders. L. Ron Hubbard states, “A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists.” Writers, singers, actors, painters, photographers and sculptors all have a responsibility to uplift and nurture what is inherently good in each of us.

The National Media Prayer Breakfast was an opportunity to focus on current cultural issues with guidance from religion. Core spiritual values and faith are still major inspirations for art and media today. Life would not be complete without an acknowledgment of this power of faith, even in the entertainment business.

Keeping centered on the purpose of art will continue to produce art we can all enjoy and applaud.

CATHERINE EMRANI

Volunteer Minister

Church of Scientology

Glendale

I’ve been to many prayer breakfasts throughout the years, and I thought this one had a rather unique focus. I do think prayers need to be offered for the sake of our nation’s most influential (albeit multifaceted) industry, and especially for those within who profess faith and desire to lend positive influence.

It’s no secret that Christianity in Hollywood is more hindrance than benefit for those making their living there, and persecution, while subtle, is rampant. From writers to actors, directors to news people, those who believe unequivocally in Jesus Christ are seen to be intolerant and ignorant. How cool can that be, in a business where image is king and political correctness is queen? Tolerance is for everyone but the supposedly intolerant Christians.

Interestingly, good general audience movies generate millions of dollars more than those with restricted ratings and voyeuristic content, yet Hollywood still resolves to indoctrinate our society with godless, immoral screenplays and television. When Christianity does factor into production, it generally comes off silly or so contrary to reality that the perceptions of the viewing audience become progressively perverted.

God tells us to pray for “all those in authority” and “for all the saints” (1Timothy 2:2; Ephesians 6:18 New International Version). With this in mind, let’s pray for producers and financiers, movie companies and news agencies, players and playwrights; that they would repent of their waywardness, and do what is noble. Pray also for the same who are professing Christians, that they remain strong and not silent or impotent in their public witness.

THE REV. BRYAN GRIEM

Senior Pastor

MontroseCommunity Church.org

One of my fears about the gigantic media corporations is that some stories may not get told because they are too controversial.

My prayer would be that muckraking reporters (such as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein during the Nixon era) would still have the guts to report the truth, regardless of the possible cost to them in terms of career advancement.

A long time ago, perhaps during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, ministers before getting ordained were asked the question, “Would you be willing to be damned for the greater glory of God?” They had to answer “yes” in order to be ordained. What our country needs is that devotion to reporting the truth that might even cost a reporter his job.

Actually, the more I think about it, we could use that kind of devotion to the truth from our elected leaders, too.

So my prayer would be that God would raise up righteous reporters and righteous leaders whose devotion to the truth would be a greater value than their devotion to their careers. Some poem I read in college had the line, “I could not love thee, dear, so much if I loved not honor more.” So God grant us honorable reporters and leaders — and people who are strong enough for the truth.

THE REV. C. L. “SKIP” LINDEMAN

Congregational Church of the Lighted Window

United Church of Christ

La Cañada Flintridge

As a Muslim at the National Media Prayer Breakfast, I would pray for the truth.

I would pray that our media leaders have the highest value and goal to find the truth, professional practice of conveying the truth, courage to strive for the truth, strength to defend the truth, leadership in excellence for the truth, honor of benefiting society with the truth, lasting legacy of integrity for the truth.

Why? Today, all too often media professionals compromise the truth for sweeps weeks, entertainment, sensationalism, demagoguery, ratings, titillation, advocacy, self-promotion, political correctness and greed for starters.

Again, sensationalism kills media credibility again and again.

Why? Today, all too often media consumers desire pleasure over the truth; we do not seek the truth, demand the truth, purchase the truth.

Are there enough news agencies you consistently trust to deliver the truth?

Are there enough media leaders you consistently trust to deliver the truth?

Thus, pray to God for the truth. Amen.

LEVENT AKBARUT

Islamic Congregation of

La Cañada Flintridge


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