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Pray the News

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Do you ever pray as you watch or read or listen to the news? Bob Hostetler shares some tips that will elevate your prayer focus.

Jesus once told a parable to emphasize to his followers the need to pray continuously (Luke 18:1, CEB).  

Paul, the great church planter of the first century, told at least one church to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, KJV).

Yeah, right. Like anyone has time for that. We all have way too much to do. The kind of prayer Jesus and Paul recommended seems impossible.

Maybe so. But one simple habit can make prayer much more a part of your day than you may ever have thought possible. I call it “praying the news.”

Whether I’m reading the newspaper, listening to an update on my car radio, watching breaking news on TV, or scanning the Internet, I often pray as I do so.

I don’t say anything eloquent or spectacular. Usually just a phrase or two enters my mind or escapes my mouth. But praying the news long ago became a part of my ongoing conversation with God. 

For example, a recent edition of the newspaper prompted a conversation something like this:

ISIS ADVANCES  (Lord, have mercy; protect the innocent and stop the fighting.)

ELECTRIC MOTOR SPARKS FIRE; 4 HURT BY SMOKE  (Lord, send healing.)

CONVENTION MAY MEAN $4M TO ECONOMY  (Lord, grant jobs for the jobless.)

JUDGE MAY NOT FACE NEW TRIAL ON 8 COUNTS  (Let justice and mercy meet somehow.)

I’ll even admit I pray the sports headlines sometimes, too.

As you can tell, my prayers are seldom very long, and often very similar: Lord, have mercyBring your kingdomHave your way, etc.

I pray for hurting people to be healed and for the hearts of those who have done wrong to be turned toward righteousness.

Also, by praying the news, I pray far more often–and more intelligently–for the poor and disadvantaged around me, as well as for other nations and peoples.

It lifts my praying above and beyond my usual focus on just me and my problems. And, most importantly, it keeps me and God talking throughout the day.

Do you ever pray as you watch or read or listen to the news? How would doing this affect your routine? Your perspective on the news?  

Written by Bob Hostetler

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