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Praying the News

The Lord be with you

Praying is near universal. While we all, at some basic level, know what prayer is, knowing what to pray about is another thing. In the “Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus includes two petitions of particular interest in reference to prayer and the news: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and “Give us this day our daily bread.” Both of these petitions deal very much with our everyday lives. They can easily translate into praying the news.

My daily newspaper (The News Journal, Saturday, July 29, 2017) offers two examples on the front page that illustrate my point. The first headline is “Best Foot Forward.” It is an article about how New Castle County is returning police to foot parole. The goal is to increase contact between the people in the community with the police in a personal way. These “beat” officers become familiar faces; they can stop and play with local kids, referee a game, or join some of the community elders in a glass of lemonade. The officers are even given “business” cards so, in an emergency, people can call an officer they know and trust. Reports indicate that crime goes down in communities where such policing happens. How might this work into a prayer?

“Lord Jesus, you have told us that it is your will that we live together in harmony, respecting each other, treating each other with kindness and compassion. Grant protection to the police, especially those who patrol on foot, may they help bridge the gap of mistrust between police and some segments of our society, may they sow peace between neighbors, and may the neighborhoods they walk through know the peace that comes from knowing You. In Your name, Lord Jesus, Amen.

The second article was about the debate going on in congress concerning the Affordable Care Act. The focus was mainly on our two U.S. Senators. Sadly this debate, from its outset when Barack Obama was president, has been more about power politics then we would like. How might we pray about this?

“Lord Jesus, You establish governments so that we can live in peace. You have revealed to us that we are to obey lawfully constituted authorities, as long as they do not demand actions against Your will. But leading a country in ways that are in harmony with Your will is hard for us sinful beings. So we ask that You guide our United States senators and representatives in Your ways, ways of peace and concord, ways of talking openly and honestly, that our leaders might reach God pleasing decisions concerning the Affordable Care Act, and all the other decisions which they grapple with, that we may live in peace and that Your Gospel may be allowed free course throughout our land. In Your name, Lord Jesus, we pray. Amen.

If you had read the articles, your prayers would, no doubt, be different than mine. There is no single way that an article might prompt prayer. For example, the article about the ACA might prompt you to pray for those who have received insurance through it. The article about the police might have prompted you to remember families who have been harmed by local violence. The point isn’t exactly what you pray for but that the news can be an excellent prompt for us to offer prayers for our communities, our nation, and the world. In this way we can, in part, fulfill the command of our Lord’s to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

Blessings in Christ,

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