How DANCING WITH THE STARS’ Carrie Ann Inaba Relies on Daily Prayer to God
By Movieguide® Staff
Note: This story is part of our Faith in Hollywood series. For similar stories, click here.
DANCING WITH THE STARS judge and co-host of THE TALK on CBS, Carrie Ann Inaba revealed that prayer and faith in God are behind her positive and uplifting personality on TV.
“Sometimes people ask me, ‘Carrie Ann, you’re always smiling that big smile on TV. Where does all that positivity come from?’ I’ll let you in on a little secret. I pray before work,” Inaba wrote in 2015. “Backstage, getting ready to be a judge on the TV show Dancing With the Stars, while I get my makeup on and make final adjustments to my gown, I always say the same prayer: ‘God, thank you for all that is, was and will be.’”
That three-part prayer soon became more valuable than she would have ever expected.
Although Inaba’s smile is genuine on TV, the 53-year-old host confessed that prayer grounds her when life gets difficult.
“There’s a reason my prayer never changes. It sums up what life is about. It’s my spiritual template, my foundation. And it has never let me down, especially these last few difficult years,” Inaba said.
This is evident in the first part of her prayer, thanking God for all that is.
“The way I look at it, you learn from everything that comes into your life—the good and the bad. Even illnesses. I have a few and I see them as gifts from God. They’ve brought me closer to him. I think of my prayer almost like a dance step with God.”
Four years after Inaba joined DWTS, God tested her faith.
“Four years into the show, I was sitting at the judges’ table and turned to say something to my colleague Len. I couldn’t move my head. It was stuck. I couldn’t see Len without turning my whole torso, like I was a robot. It was scary, but I told myself, It’ll go away. No big deal,” Inaba recalled. “Dancers are used to dealing with pain. You feel an ache and you just dance your way through it, like the athlete that you are. That night, though, every bump on the drive home sent a searing pain through my neck. A good night’s sleep and the healing presence of my pets (more on that later) would turn everything around, I hoped.”
She continued: “I was no better in the morning… I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. My doctor performed a small surgery that helped. Even so, I would have to be very careful.
“‘Any sort of trauma to the neck,’ he said, ‘any extreme movement, could paralyze you.’ He didn’t have to tell me what that meant. No more dancing. He might as well have told me that the world was ending.
“Except it wasn’t. Remember the ‘All that is’ part of my prayer? God had been out ahead of me. Way ahead. He’d prepared me for this shock by putting me in the judge’s chair on DWTS. I didn’t know it at the time. I was just having fun. Yet if I hadn’t had my gig on the show at the time of my diagnosis, I don’t know what I would have done.”
However, even as her physical ailments piled up, Inaba showed gratitude to God.
“Not long after my neck became a problem my feet began to ache, worse than the usual pain dancers endure. Back to the doctor I went (this time Mom didn’t have to tell me). The diagnosis was arthritis, probably related to years of dancing,” Inaba said. “There was no surgical option. Any secret hopes I had of someday miraculously returning to dancing were off the table. Again, though, I felt incredibly grateful for all that I had been given. Even my aching feet were a reminder of the blessings I’d received.”
Reflecting on her past enabled her to thank the Lord for all that was.
“All That Was. That’s the second part of my daily prayer,” Inaba said. “I was born and raised in Hawaii, and my parents sent me to a Christian school. Lots of kids acted bored or just plain acted out during chapel. But those services were the highlight of my week. The chaplain really communicated what it meant to believe in a loving God and how that could change your life.
“I listened to his words like they were the most important instructions I would ever receive. And this idea that life was about love—it made more sense than anything I’d ever heard. It put the world totally in perspective for me. So that’s why we’re here…” she added. “Yes, I wanted to be a dancer, more than anything, but I was determined to find other ways to share God’s love, to be an instrument of his goodness.”
Lastly, Inaba wrote that the final portion of her prayer deals with “All That Will Be.”
“There is the God of everywhere, past, present and future. It is the one thing I know I can predict, the one sure thing about life,” Inaba said. “I still have questions. Will I be on a TV show in five, ten years? Will I be able to rescue all the animals I hope I can and give them the beautiful life they deserve? Will there be some medical breakthrough that relieves all that ails me, even gives me the chance to dance again?
“It may be too much to hope for, but isn’t that what hope is about? That’s why I thank God every day for what was, is and will be. And that’s why when you watch DWTS, you’ll see that big smile on my face. I want my faith to shine through everything I do.”
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