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.
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This is GREAT – but for even more reasons than I believe you mention.
I’m kind of a news and info junkie. I even still read the newspaper a few times a week – the online versions especially – paper sometimes too. If I’m working at home or hanging out, I’ll always have CNN on, or Fox News, (it’s very interesting to compare their coverages) or even more likely WGN AM radio out of Chicago (my favorite) or the Weather Channel. (Yes, I’m a weather junkie too!)
But it really concerns me when I talk to people in church work/ministry – pastors, worship pastors especially (my line of work) – people that need to be ESPECIALLY in touch with our world, the people we minister to, where our society is at, what’s in the news, what people are struggling with, anxious about in world or local news, what we need to be praying for so obviously as you said – and sometimes it’s obvious they’re clueless and out of touch with major news stories – both locally, state, US, and globally. And especially concerning is when they allude to something like “I’m just too busy doing ministry to pay attention to the news.” Well, then they’re most likely then going to be out of touch with their ministry and people that they are charged with leading, shepherding, and ministering to!! (and I’ve seen this!) And this seems to run the map between young and older gen – across the board. So if that’s the case, how many other things are they out of touch with in their lives and the world and the people they are charged to lead and care for?
I love the news!
Seriously, this is inspirational.
I think you’re right on, John – in an age of information overload, a ministry leader must be as well as informed as his or her people. I think this, too, goes beyond the scope of news and actually into the popular culture at large.