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Is it Weird to Pray for Rock Stars?

Posted in: General by David Nantais on January 15, 2012

In recent days I have discovered that Sinead O’Connor attempted suicide and Tony Iommi, longtime Black Sabbath guitarist, was diagnosed with lymphoma.  I find myself offering a quick prayer each morning for these two artists, with hope that they regain their physical and mental  health and can once again bless the world with their musical gifts.  Is that weird?

I ask this question because, when I step back and try to examine the reasons for my spiritual offering, I wonder if there are not more pressing world events that should be occupying my attention and spiritual life.  It is not that financial crises, sexual abuse of minors and war are not all on my mind and share space in my inner life.  But my passion for music and interest in the lives of those who create music impels me to offer my spiritual support, however small and insignificant it may be.

I prayed for Ronnie James Dio when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, for Kerry Livgren (Kansas) when he suffered a stroke, for Bill Berry (REM) when he suffered a stroke, and for Clarence Clemmons as he was dying.  What do readers think?  Is this weird?  Have you every prayed for your favorite musicians?

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Dave Nantais, Detroit, MI

14 Comments »

  1. Let’s face it, rock stars are a fascinating breed. Because of the interest we have in these people, it is even possible that their needs strike us more than those we might observe around us. I don’t think that is a bad thing—we naturally tend to feel sympathy for someone who suffers, and generally wish him/her well. So maybe God allows us to feel compassion for these stars in order to awaken and enlarge our sympathy (not condescension) for those closer to us.

    As a kid, I rationalized that it was useless to pray for the conversion of some of my hard-rockin’ idols. And yet, even though many of them haven’t really changed their ways, I did learn an essential lesson: that we should never, ever give up on someone. God has his time, he has his reasons…they are not always easy for us to understand, but with a little (at times a lot!) of trust, he gradually shows his face to us, and it is the face of love.

    A wise priest once told me, if we, who are imperfect and sinners, wish so much good on someone, how much moreso does God want it? And even though we may never see the fruit of our prayers, I am certain that God is infinity times more generous than I am, and that he will always hear us.

    Comment by Nicholas Carlson, LC — January 15, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  2. Actually, sometimes i have prayed for rock stars.

    Comment by Julie — January 15, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  3. Thanks, Dave. I’ve prayed for U2 for a long time, in part because I think their witness is powerful and important. I feel a shared sense of discipleship with them, trying to living into ‘that other place’ (Beautiful Day) that is promised while at the same time singing ‘how long, how long must I sing this song’ (Sunday, Bloody Sunday). I also pray prayers of thanksgiving for nearly every musician I hear, as a kind of acknowledgement that their is no other source of creativity that that born of God. I know, of course, the old trope of ‘selling my soul to the devil’ in order to get this-worldly success, but I don’t buy it. The gift may come out twisted, but it is evidence of how God is: ‘This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.’ Matthew 5. So, do I pray for rock stars? You bet!

    Comment by Chris Scharen — January 16, 2012 @ 10:08 am

  4. No, it is not weird. No more so than a prayer requst line, when a person who does not know you prays over your name. Or, no more so than the prayers that are offered for missing persons who become public and so on. In fact, it almost makes more sense to pray for artists because you do know them in some sacramental sort of way – through the material they produce. I pray for them too, along with presidents, people I see stranded by their cars, the people in the ambulances that pass by, and so on. I do not know who hears prayers or how they are heard, but I think praying represents a disposition of energizing hope and connectedness among all people.

    Comment by Natalie Weaver — January 16, 2012 @ 10:16 am

  5. It’s not wierd at all. Actually it’s refreshing to hear someone else does this too. When I hear a good up-and-coming artist I pray they don’t get wrapped into drugs so they can keep evolving as musicians. If they’re women musicians I also pray that they stay out of the photo shoots for Maxim!
    A few times I’ve caught myself thanking God when I’m completely enthralled in a video on You Tube watching Elvis, U2, MC5, Zep, etc in action. Sometimes it just invigorates me and that’s enough to give thanks for livin.

    Comment by john f — January 17, 2012 @ 11:40 pm

  6. (in 1995) i remember really questioning a girl’s taste when she suggested we pray for Michael Jackson. And I thought it was absurd. But somehow, it being a musician I really didn’t care for or about, it kind of twisted itself around and I head slapped myself, “who am I not to pray for someone, even MJ?” But mostly I don’t pray for everyone equally.

    Comment by sean — January 19, 2012 @ 11:03 pm

  7. What does being a rock star, or garbage man, or serial killer, or librarian, or politician, or priest, cashier have to do with it? If you want to pray, then pray.

    Comment by Steve Valente — January 20, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  8. frankly I am a big fan of prayer and certainly praying for and with those you see as participating explicitly or implicitly in the work of the Kingdom of God. As I argue, rock does implicit theology in ways that most theological discourse explicitly seeks but rarely implicitly achieves… so more prayer is always a good thing?

    Comment by jkeuss — February 7, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  9. Yes. Have prayed for them since 1979. Made a list and kept it in my Bible, adding to it many times. Now have my own website where we pray for my list and the lists of other members. Those saved (or we found out they were saved) since I started my List include Bob Dylan (still unsure about him), Alice Cooper, John Beland, Herb Steiner, Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn, others. Also have a branch on Facebook where people can join and post info.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/13806664970/

    Comment by Jack Hopkins — March 26, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  10. ABSOLUTELY! (To the question: have you ever prayed for your favorite rock stars?) When I first became a Christian in 1976, I started praying for Foreigner and Grand Funk, because they were my favorites. I kind of thought of them as big brothers, and I wanted them to have the same relationship with the Lord that I had found. I was so thrilled to find out years later about Mark Farner’s reconciliation with his wife AND the Lord. It was also exciting to hear of Lou Gramm becoming a Christian. I am now praying for Mark’s son Jesse’s full recovery from paralysis. Lou seems to be doing well after such a hard time with the brain tumor recovery several years ago. I also pray for John Schlitt…not that there is anything wrong with him, but he is such an awesome brother, I just want God to continue blessing him, and us – with his music!

    Comment by Jan — March 26, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

  11. I’m so glad for Archives. Thanks for posting in Jack Hopkins’ group, Eldon. I didn’t share the vision to pray for these artists at first; in fact, I was almost heading into the camp that says we shouldn’t even touch it! Then something happened. A friend had been praying for Foreigner for several years when tragedy suddenly struck my life. All at once, the only thing that could reach my dark night of the soul was a certain Nickelback song. Thus began my prayers for them and I joined my friends, forming a group

    Comment by Jane Brackrog — August 24, 2012 @ 11:36 pm

  12. I previously shunned this vision of praying for musicians, almost heading into the camp that says we shouldn’t even listen to secular music. I supported my friend who was praying for the members of Foreigner but kept the idea at a distance. Then tragedy struck my life, and the only thing that could reach my dark night of the soul was a certain Nickelback song. Thus began my prayers for not only them but numerous others since 2009 in a group that my friends and I formed. It’s been a rewarding use of sleepless nights. My Bible study leader says that you come to care about those for whom you pray. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rock-of-Intercession/111292072243828?ref=hl

    Comment by Jane Brackrog — August 25, 2012 @ 12:14 am

  13. Totally not weird. Perhaps these folks need alot of prayers and have such a fascinating story that they will draw others closer to God in the process. Think it is so cool as it is anytime we pray for people brought across our path whether it is an athlete, soldier, politician, neighbor whoever is brought across our path. I believe we are all called to pray. I know people that have a special place in their heart for athletes or hunters or mothers, the elderly etc. I love all of these people and pray for them but have to admit that for some reason I have a special place in my heart for musicians and have many as friends and family. I have loved so many musicians over my 46 years. Sometimes wonder if their beautiful music is a way of God calling me to pray for them. My kids bring more to my attention that I would never notice and I pray for them too. –Maybe a special, very rewarding way of drawing us to pray for people who are like minded.

    Comment by Nancy Monfredo — February 9, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

  14. Interesting that you should pray for Foreigner because Lou Gramm has one of the greatest conversion stories ever! There are interviews on Youtube. I pray for many but at the top of my list was Journey. Interesting to listen to those guys the night before the Super Bowl and hear them sing “God Bless the Broken Road” with Rascal Flatts and hear interviews with Neil Schon and Jonathan Cain and the impact Arnel has had on their lives. Still praying for all of them and especially Steve Perry–his voice was a little piece of heaven on earth. Love this website.

    Comment by Nancy Monfredo — February 9, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

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