Actress Melissa Joan Hart has been outspoken in recent years about the faith journey that has led her to find salvation in Jesus Christ. Now she's speaking out about the importance of prayer after she suddenly found herself drawn directly into the tragic school shooting in Nashville.
As CBN's Faithwire reports, Hart and her husband, Mark Wilkerson, were in their car on Monday when they noticed a group of kindergarteners running out of the woods, near The Covenant School, a private Christian school for Pre-K through sixth graders. The 46-year-old actor’s three children — ages 10, 15, and 17 — attend a school right next to Covenant.
“Luckily, we are all OK,” the celebrity tearfully explained in an Instagram post. “But we did — my husband and I were on our way to school for conferences — and luckily our kids weren’t in today. We helped a class of kindergartners across a busy highway”
“So we helped all these tiny little, little kids cross the road and get their teachers over there, and we helped a mom reunite with her children,” Hart continued. “I don’t know what to say anymore. It is just — enough is enough and, just pray. Pray for the families.”
Her Faith Journey to Christ
In a 2019 interview on "Journeys of Faith," Paula Faris's podcast for the ABC network, Hart revealed that she had started attending a Presbyterian church, studies the Bible, and is always seeking to grow closer to God.
At the time of the interview, Hart took a lot of heat for it, with haters blasting her on social media, calling her names and cursing her for her belief that all people need to know Christ. Apparently, a lot of people were angry that she believes Jesus is the path to heaven, which is the central belief of Christianity. She was even accused of being anti-Semitic because she believes what Christians believe.
It happened after her son met a Jewish boy at school and then asked his mom about who is going to heaven and what it takes to get there. Hart told him we need to know Jesus to get to heaven. Her son and his new school friend engaged in many discussions about faith. So did Hart and the other boy's mom who had called her at the beginning to discuss what the boys were talking about.
"I'm a Christian, I believe that Jesus is my savior. I believe in God and I believe in Jesus as His son," she explained in the interview.
Hart says if someone asks her what she believes, she tells them that believing in Jesus is what "unlocks the doors of heaven."
So how did the actress who became famous for the sitcom called "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" turn into a devoted follower of Christ?
Hart tells Faris she was raised Catholic on Long Island while her husband was raised Baptist in Alabama. Over time, as a married couple they searched for unity in their pursuit of faith in Christ, and they eventually settled on becoming Presbyterian.
Years ago, she put her kids in a Christian preschool, and when she was living in Connecticut she was studying God's word through a Community Bible Study. She loves being surrounded by Christians she can pray with and says her goal is continual growth by getting to know God through getting to know the scripture.
As we mentioned earlier, Hart now lives in Nashville where her life intersected this week with the tragic shooting at The Covenant School, a Christian elementary academy. She suddenly found herself offering safe haven to little children fleeing the school attack.
Years before the Nashville attack, she was already talking about a spiritual battle against evil forces that operate in our world.
Dealing with Spiritual Battles
Hart says she sometimes struggles with doubt like anyone, but, "Then I close my eyes and tap into the Holy Spirit and let Him speak to me. And you feel that warmth and you feel that change."
While she didn't discuss her prior acting role as a teenage witch, she did talk about how she sometimes senses fear and real spiritual darkness and engages in what the Bible calls spiritual warfare.
She talks about moments when she feels darkness around her in her home, and she recognizes she can make the darkness leave by speaking in faith out loud.
"When I'm in my house and I'm afraid if I'm by myself or my husband's asleep before me, and I get afraid and I'm walking the halls and you just get that creepy feeling like goosebumps up your back like something's not right, I just say out loud, you know, 'This is a Jesus home, Satan's not welcome here, get out, this is a home for Jesus," she said.
"Immediately... you feel that darkness go away," she explained.
"One of the great things that I've learned is that darkness is just the absence of light and without Jesus you just have this darkness and then Jesus is the light... so not having Jesus in your life just leaves this void," she said.
#Repost @paulafaris ・・・ You may know her as “Sabrina The Teenage Witch”. Or, Clarissa from “Clarissa Tells All”. On this episode of #JourneysOfFaith podcast you’ll hear from @MelissaJoanHart. The doubter, skeptic, believer. Melissa takes us on her faith journey of not connecting in church, asking questions like “WAS JESUS JUST A REALLY COOL DUDE OR WAS HE THE SON OF GOD?” and how she eventually overcame her doubt. She also dishes about her new project and why we recorded this in her CT home. Link to #JourneysOfFaith in bio. Thanks for your support.
Meanwhile, Hart reveals she was cautious about deciding to accept an acting role in "God's Not Dead 2" because sometimes Christian movies "can be really cheesy," but she felt this one would be done well. She believes Hollywood has finally seen the value in faith-based films, so better resources are now being devoted to make them.
Hart's full interview with Paula Faris, a senior national correspondent at ABC News who previously co-anchored "Good Morning America" on the weekends, can be heard by clicking below.
*This article has been updated with the headline news about Nashville. Portions of it were first published in 2019.