Founding Director of the Hollywood Prayer Network Karen Covell doesn’t believe Hollywood is Sodom and Gomorrah. She views the situation from a different perspective — a place of spiritual warfare and a place that’s redeemable.
HPN is a movement of prayer for the artists and professionals in Hollywood — the world’s most influential mission field. Covell knows God can transform the hearts in the global entertainment industry with love, encouragement and through the power of prayer.
“I became a Christian in college and got out into the real world as a producer and realized I had a foot in the church and a foot in the entertainment industry and neither of them liked each other. There is a gap between the two and I wanted to build that bridge,” the Chicago native said.
HPN currently reaches over 15,000 intercessors around the world with over 70 HPN Chapters. They also host Quarterly Prayer Nights, sponsor Studio Lot Prayer Walks, and put on various events in and for the Hollywood community.
“I knew I couldn’t get anyone in Hollywood to like the church because we’ve boycotted, wrote nasty letters and pointed fingers. I figured I can get Christians to pray for the people in Hollywood because when you pray for somebody, you can’t hate them. I want them [the church] to pray instead of judging or pray instead of boycotting. I had no idea what a tough battle it was.”
Covell began receiving repugnant correspondence from people because of this stance. She pressed through. For nearly two decades, HPN now has 140 Chapters in 35 different countries, matching over 2,000 prayer partners who intercede for people working in the industry and a prayer newsletter that goes out twice a month.
“People are starting to understand that Hollywood is the most influential mission field in the world. Christians should be embracing people of the arts because it’s a part of our culture. We should be sending Christians to Hollywood to use their gifts and talents here.”
HPN has received many calls from people working in the field to pray for them. Many calls come in anonymously. One producer called for prayers as his wife was sent to the ICU from an allergic reaction, she recalled.
“He said I found you online and heard you pray people. I don’t want to lose my wife, please pray for me.” He didn’t want a follow-up call, he just thanked her for praying. Covell remembered a time when she invited 100 prayer warriors to a Universal Studio screening to discuss the spiritual themes of a secular film. A man came and asked if she and the group where Christians. He asked what kind of Christian are you? Covell asked back, “Well, what are my options?” He said he was gay. “God loves you as much as He loves me,” she affirmed. He never met a believer who accepted him. They stay in touch today.
When we pray for repentance in the lives of unbelievers, we agree with God that He doesn’t want any man should perish as recorded in Peter.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Covell has been working to reach out to churches, para-church organizations worldwide to love both the non-Christians working in Hollywood and the Christians who are working as missionaries to change Hollywood from the inside out.
Christians can’t make non-believers make movies they want to see. It needs to come from a more profound place from those creatives.
“Content of projects will never change until the hearts of the people are changed,” she added. “You create it from your experience, your belief system.” Covell said we need to see Hollywood from a position of love, not judgment. “We need to come at it loving people.”