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February 26, 2018 at 02:30 PM EST

Chris Pratt might play a superhero in James Gunn’s films, but this time it was the Guardians of the Galaxy director coming to the defense of his star.

Pratt faced backlash for a series of tweets he shared sending up prayers for director Kevin Smith following news that the Clerks director suffered a massive heart attack. “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 tweeted. “Can you please pray with me people!?”

In a second tweet, Pratt added, “Praying for you. I will continue to. You inspired me with Clerks when I was a senior HS. I’m tagging my Lb/rb football coach who showed me the movie cause he believed in me and knew I’d be inspired @hodge1916.”

Twitter users responded, with some attacking Pratt for “praying,” referencing the argument many have used in the wake of mass shootings, telling politicians that “thoughts and prayers” are not enough. Many pointed to the role of science and medicine in saving lives, using that as a reason to discount prayer.

While Pratt did not respond to the backlash, Pratt’s Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn stepped in to show his support for his star’s tweets. “So I just read Chris Pratt’s tweet to Kevin Smith saying he would pray for him & made the mistake of reading the comments, many of which go off on Chris for saying he’d pray. I think people misunderstand the backlash against ‘thoughts & prayers,'” Gunn began. “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 went on to address gun violence specifically, writing, “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.”

He then addressed Pratt’s tweets specifically, saying “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..”

“I’m not tweeting this to defend Chris – he’s a big boy and can take care of himself,” Gunn added. “But for me, personally, prayer and meditation are great boons to my life and help me navigate my way through this world, and I don’t want to dissuade others who find those things useful.”

“I don’t think that means YOU need to pray. I don’t. There are many ways to navigate this life. Mine is only one of them. Prayer isn’t for everyone but, in the face of helplessness, it’s often meant as a acknowledgement that one cares (and we all care about @ThatKevinSmith),” he concluded. “If I am ever sick I will gratefully accept any of your thoughts and prayers. And will not be as grateful for some random fan knocking down my doctor and performing his own brand of kick ass surgery on me. Love to you all. Have a great week.”

Read the full series of tweets below.

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