'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Director Explains The Proper Time To Say 'Thoughts And Prayers'

"Prayers alone will not change the world."

"Thoughts and prayers" is something we hear often — maybe too often — these days, and one Hollywood director has some thoughts on when it's appropriate and when it's not.


James Gunn, who directed both Guardians of the Galaxy films, spoke out when some folks on Twitter were bothered by Chris Pratt using the phrase. All of this went down shortly after news broke that Kevin Smith had suffered a massive heart attack and Pratt decided to tweet well wishes to the beloved director.

"Kevin we don't know each other too good but I have loved you since Clerks and I'm praying my ass off for you cause I believe in the healing power of prayer," Pratt said in the first of two tweets, going on to explain how he first saw the cult classic as a senior in high school. "Can you please pray with me people!?"

Apparently not everyone wanted to join in with Pratt, with some users discounting the act of praying — either by referencing how "thoughts and prayers" is usually said after mass shootings or by saying science and medicine are what saves lives.

Despite the backlash, Pratt didn't respond — but Gunn did, coming to the defense of the Star-Lord himself. Gunn unleashed a Twitter thread in which he explained how Pratt's invocation of prayer was valid, and detailed when you should and shouldn't use "thoughts and prayers."

"There is nothing wrong with sending someone positive thoughts & prayers. But when this is coupled with inaction when action will benefit the situation, it's empty," Gunn wrote. "If you're offering Parkland shooting survivors prayers, but are unwilling to deal with the problems of gun violence in this country in a practical way, those prayers are empty."

"And if you're going to offer prayers to the folks suffering in Puerto Rico, you might consider adding a link for a donation or calling on your representatives to take action, in addition to those prayers. Prayers alone will not change the world," Gunn continued. "But no one expects Chris Pratt to shoulder doctors out of the way and perform heart surgery on Kevin Smith. Nor does Kevin need Chris to pay his medical bills. So I think his prayers are appreciated, and about all he can do."

In the end, Gunn noted that he didn't need to rush to Pratt's defense because the Parks and Recreation alum can take care of himself — but it was the attack on prayer, something he believes in, that spawned his response.

The filmmaker tweeted that "personally, prayer and meditation are great boons in my life and help me navigate my way through this world, and I don't want to dissuade others who find these things useful." He said he is lucky to have these "tools" but made it clear that he wasn't trying to force praying on others.

Read all of Gunn's tweets here:

Having recovered from the scary medical emergency, Smith has responded to the controversy. In a Facebook video, he called Pratt one of his "favorite actors on the planet" and told people "don't fight over stuff like that" because it's "a waste of time." Whether you're religious or not, Smith says praying for someone is said with "good intentions."

(H/T: THR, EW)

Cover image via Danny Moloshok / Reuters


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