Idol Chatter

“Dear father, I pray that you would bless and protect Britney Spears wherever she may be. May you lead her back into a right relationship with you. And help her to remember that you are the friend that sticks closer than a brother, and she needs no other.”

This was my prayer one Sunday morning. I decided to bring my concerns for Britney Spears to the altar after hearing a powerful sermon in my bible study the day before: As the preacher reflected on the tragedy of Anna Nicole Smith’s death, she asked us if we had interceded for her. She asked us that after watching this young woman’s life, the death of her son, the birth of her child and then her untimely death–did we ever once pray for her in the midst of it all?

I was in complete shock and at first a bit disgusted, because I had never considered that an option. Sure I pray for people who I don’t know personally. But a celebrity who I’ll never know? What a foreign concept.

I struggled with the thought all day long that Saturday, and then I stumbled upon my first confirmation that prayer for celebrities is warranted: Mark Seder recently wrote a piece in New York magazine titled “Britney Spears, Outsider Artist” where he said “Will she OD or commit suicide like Monroe? Will she have a Grand Guignol death like the fat-obsessed Anna Nicole Smith?”

These are serious questions that I believe deserve more than the empty rhetoric of celebrity observers. I realized that just asking these questions without action could (in a way) result in the blood of another on my hands. Gone are the days when I could be satisfied with having round table chats about the tragedy of Britney’s life–or any other celebrity’s life–without having a corresponding action. It seems unfair and unproductive to sit in the audience and not do an earthly–or heavenly–thing.

I received my second confirmation later on that evening when a friend told me that she prays for celebrities, and she takes that responsibility seriously. “I prayed hard for Jessica and Nick, I even cried for them,” she said. It was then that I realized that praying for celebrities wasn’t so weird after all. And thus, the ministry of praying for celebrities was activated–starting with Britney.

The first prayer I did for her on that Saturday evening was difficult to get through without much pausing and doubt. But by Sunday morning I was able to get through the prayer straight-faced and serious about the intent with which it was sent. It is my hope that my subsequent prayers will roll off my tongue as easily as do prayers for my own family and friends. Next battle to conquer: Reading celebrity tabloids.

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