I don’t like to watch the news. It’s pretty much always bad reports, with killing, natural disasters, high gas prices, and robberies. No, I’m not a news guy – I’m a sitcom guy.
Sitcoms are alot easier to watch. There’s a few laughs, the introduction of a minor problem, and then everything is wrapped up neatly within 30 minutes. That’s nice. That’s easy. So you can likely find me opting for an episode of Seinfeld than 20/20 pretty any evening.
But I wonder if that’s what God wants me to do. I think not. I think God wants me to watch the news.
But I think He wants me to watch the news actively and with purpose. Most of us watch to see what’s going on, so we can be informed, and so we can have an intelligent conversation the next day. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think we can watch the news with more of a participatory goal in mind.
What if we watched the news with a pad and paper in hand? And as the stories start to roll through, we begin by asking the Holy Spirit to direct us to specific stories in which we can participate in ourselves. If not actively, at least through prayer.
I remember a number of years ago watching as the US invaded Afghanistan. It was an incredibly historical moment, but also a moment that warranted much prayer. We can pray that the seed of bitterness would not grow up inside the Afghan people toward Christianity. We can pray that freedom would come to that country, and that more Christ-followers would move to the area for the sake of the gospel. We can pray that oppression of women would end and that in that region, the gospel would catch fire as it has so often throughout history in oppressed peoples.
We can do the same thing now. We can watch the news in order that we might pray more specifically for God’s will to be done in the world. After all, it’s one thing to pray for that to generally to happen; it’s another to pray for His will to be done in specific situations we have knowledge of.
So in this year, when I’m really, really tired of election coverage, I need to pray more. I need to participate more. I need to see more so that I might be more involved in how I approach the throne of grace.