Learn to pray

Leading actor Chris Pratt says prayer is good for the soul

‘Learn to pray. It’s easy and it’s so good for your soul.’ That’s the advice from actor Chris Pratt. The Jurassic World star was speaking at the MTV Movie & TV Awards, where he received the ‘Generation Award’.

He opened his acceptance speech by saying: ‘I’m going to cut to the chase and I am going to speak to you, the next generation.’

His advice was then a mix of humour and wisdom inspired by his Christian faith.

Number one? ‘Breathe,’ Pratt said. ‘If you don’t, you’ll suffocate.’

‘Two, you have a soul. Be careful with it.’

‘Three, Don’t be a turd. If you are strong, be a protector. If you are smart, be a humble influencer. Strength and intelligence can be weapons, so do not wield them against the weak. That makes you a bully. Be bigger than that.’

His less-serious lessons included how best to use the toilet at a party and how to give a dog medicine, but his Christian faith was at the forefront with the strong statement: ‘God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that. I do.’ Then he added: ‘Learn to pray. It’s easy and it’s so good for your soul.’

Reflecting the Christian principle of doing good to others, he said, ‘It doesn’t matter what it is…Reach out to someone in pain. Be of service. It feels good and it’s good for your soul.’

He then wrapped up his speech with his last rule: ‘Nobody is perfect. There is a powerful force that designed you that way and if you’re willing to accept that, you will have grace. And grace is a gift…that grace was paid for with somebody else’s blood. Do not forget it.’

Close encounter

Chris Pratt first came to prominence with his role as Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation and more recently he appeared in Avengers: Infinity War as the character he introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel. In 2018 he starred in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the science fiction adventure film sequel to Jurassic World (2015).

He became a Christian after a one-off encounter with a street preacher in Hawaii. Chris was getting ready to go to a party with friends, when a man approached him outside a grocery store and told him ‘Jesus told me to talk to you…’

Chris didn’t go with his friends that night. Instead he went with the stranger to church and became a Christian two days later. ‘Over the next few days I surprised my friends by declaring that I was going to change my life,’ Pratt recalls.

It took the premature birth of his son Jack, several years later, to prompt Chris pray like he’d never prayed before. Jack was born nine weeks early and weighed just three pounds when he was born.

Chris told US Magazine ‘He was hooked up to these monitors and he stopped breathing over and over. One of the brave and amazing nurses would come over and shake him a little bit, I guess to remind him he was alive. The only people allowed to touch him were his mom and me, unless you were wearing gloves. We did this amazing thing they call “skin-to-skin” — it was just the best feeling I ever had. It’s just what it sounds like. My little boy was laying across my neck and chest feeling my heartbeat and feeling my love, and I played him country music and I sang to him and I made him promises… you know, about… just about what kind of dad I wanted to be, and I just prayed that he’d be here long enough and he was going to let me keep him.’

Chris says that the birth of his son in 2012 defined his faith in God, as both he and his wife ‘prayed a lot’ as they were initially afraid the baby was not going to live. Jack survived, but sadly Chris and Jack’s mum, Anna Farris, divorced in 2017.

Last year he announced his engagement to Katherine Schwarzenegger and wrote on Instagram declaring his love and their shared Christian faith: ‘Sweet Katherine, so happy you said yes! I’m thrilled to be marrying you. Proud to live boldly in faith with you. Here we go.’

When they married, he wrote: ‘We became husband and wife in front of God, our families and those we love. We feel so blessed to begin this new chapter of our lives.’

The couple regularly attend church together in L.A., where the emphasis is on having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

People who pray

Only God knows what motivates celebrities to go public about their prayers. But whatever prompts them to pray, they are increasingly vocal about the practice.

Prayer is part of every day for actor, director, and producer Denzel Washington, who is a Golden Globe and Academy Award winner . In an inspirational speech to new college graduates, the son of a church minister said, ‘I pray that you all put your slippers way under the bed at night so that when you wake up in the morning you have to get on your knees to reach them. And while you’re down there, say “Thank you for grace, thank you for mercy, thank you for understanding, thank you for wisdom, thank you for parents, thank you for love, thank you for kindness, thank you for humility, thank you for peace, thank you for prosperity” … Don’t just aspire to make a living; aspire to make a difference.’

Last November Justin Bieber posted on Instagram: ‘Good morning here is a guided prayer to start your day! Find a comfy position and enjoy! @churchome’ The ‘guided prayer’ included a six-minute meditation on a verse from the Bible book of Romans: ‘Nothing can separate us from the love of God’.

Earlier in the year, Bieber asked his 105 million followers to pray for him as he was treated for depression. He said: ‘God is faithful…prayers really work thanks…the most human season I’ve ever been in facing my stuff head on.’

Just before Beyoncé gets onstage, everyone involved in the performance – from the dancers, choreographers and band members to the staff and crew – forms a circle and says a prayer, according to her dad, Mathew Knowles, who was speaking to Business Insider.

Who prays where?

More than half the UK’s adults (51%) pray, according to a ComRes poll. Of those, 20% don’t class themselves as religious and 39% of people polled believe that prayer can be world-changing.

Fifty-five per cent of those who pray will do so in a crisis and 71% pray for their families. Many pray on the go — 12% while exercising, 20% while cooking.