If you look at your news feed and wish God would move, keep reading to learn how to pray the news and why we should pray the news. Can prayer make a difference in current events? Yes.
Our prayers make a difference in greater ways than we can imagine. According to Scripture, the prayer of a righteous man is both effective and powerful. If that’s true, and we believe it is, we must be vigilant observers of our culture and the world around us. We must look for opportunities to invite God into current events and troubling situations and ask Him to intervene.
The Prophet Elijah was a great example of prayer’s impact on the culture. At the urging of God, he prayed there would be no rain in ancient Israel and it didn’t rain for more than three years. (James 5:17,18). Scripture is filled with examples of world-changing prayers.
What Does it Mean to Pray the News
Christians, if we believe prayer is powerful, we should pray the news. As we scroll through news feeds (not social media feeds but actual NEWS), a variety of stories will capture our attention. It’s vital to know the difference between fake and real news. SNOPES.com or other online fact-check source can verify accuracy or lack of accuracy.
When we see troubling news items, our first response may be to question, “Can pray make a difference in current events?” Instead, consider how God might want to become involved in the stories you read. What intervention would bring glory to Him and line up with Scripture? Has God intervened in a similar situation in Scripture before? When you have an idea of what God’s done before and His potential plan, pray Scripture over the situation. We’ll give examples below.
Can prayer make a difference in culture or current events? It depends on how you view prayer, how you view God, and how you pray.
What is prayer?
The Online dictionary defines prayer as “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship,” or an “earnest hope or wish.” We define prayer as a conversation with the One who loves us most, Almighty God Himself.
Want to know how to pray the news? Start with relationship. When we choose to follow Jesus, we choose a relationship intended to be intimate and loving. The Bible, God’s word, is, in a way, a letter from God to those He loves. It’s designed so we learn more about Him when we read what He’s said. Conversation, or prayer, is the natural response to time spent in His Word. We learn to know Him through time spent with Him in conversation and through a faithful life of obedience.
Talking with God, or prayer is not limited by space, time, or whether or not a Bible is in our hand. God is omnipresent (everywhere at once) and omniscient (knows everything at once). God is wherever we are and knows whatever we’re doing. He sees what we see and hears what we hear. Our Lord is with us.
What prayer is not…
As important as what prayer is in regard to how to pray the news is what prayer is not. Prayer is not the token we insert into the cosmic dispenser of wants and desires with the expectation that whatever we ask will mysteriously appear. It is not the command of a general to a lower ranking soldier with instant obedience expected.
It is the humble request of a rank recruit requesting a favor of a 5-star general, the request of a child snuggled in the lap of a beloved daddy.
Can prayer make a difference in current events? If we pray as Jesus prayed, it can. His disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. His response (Matthew 6:9-13) focused more on who God is and what He wants than our desires and needs. Jesus began prayer with worship and honor to God, followed with a request for God’s will, and, only then did He move into personal requests. Jesus asked for needs, rather than wants. Our prayers should follow that same formula.
Why we should pray the news:
The God who loved us enough to send His Son (John 3:16), who forgives our sins and carries our burdens (Psalm 68:19), cares about us. He’s concerned about the things that concern us. God desires righteousness and justice and, according to Scripture, is involved in the affairs of men in significant ways.
Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” If God can change the heart of a king, do we want Him to change it to a focus on righteousness and justice? Certainly, we do.
Do you still wonder why we should pray the news or can prayer make a difference in current events? According to the apostle Paul, the answer is yes, prayer can make a big difference. The most important reason to combine prayer and politics or prayer and current events, however, is not because we think it will help. We pray the news and for current events because God commands it.
“First of all, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4
How to Pray the News
Regardless of our political party or ideological preference, we are to pray for those in authority whether we agree with their policies or not. Those “authority figures” include elected officials, political appointees, and law enforcement officials, as well as managers and administrators in offices, teachers and administrators in schools, pastors, elders, and deacons in churches, and parents in homes. Even committee chairmen hold a position of authority over those in the committee.
Those who have direct impact on our lives, whether as leaders of other nations or retailers in our communities, need our prayers as do our family and friends.
Rather than allowing the news to become a source of controversy, arguments, and emotional outbursts, let it drive us to our knees. Want to learn how to pray the news? Check out these examples of prayer needs from recent newsfeeds include:
- School shootings: family and friends of victims, impact on the students and community, safety of students in our schools. Issues of troubled teens and intervening before the problems become catastrophic.
- War in Ukraine: Soldiers on both sides, refugees, those caring for refugees, and those who aren’t able to escape the war
- Threat of nuclear war: Prudence and caution for world leaders, protection for vulnerable nations.
There are, of course, many more news articles and many more needs for which we should pray. Will pray make a difference in school shootings? In the war in Ukraine? Not if you never pray. Instead, pray with boldness and specific requests directed toward God’s will and His glory and we can be sure He will hear and answer our prayers.
How to pray the news? The Specifics
Prayers for peace, healing, hope, and protection are appropriate in any situation. Prayers for righteousness and justice to rule, as well as for evil to be defeated are good choices. Pray Scripture. I use the Psalms on a daily basis to help direct my prayers, but the prayers of Paul and, of course, of Jesus are also excellent models. Perhaps the best prayer of all, however, is the prayer Jesus prayed when He faced the cross. It’s been described as “the prayer that never fails.” “Not my will, but Thine be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Does prayer make a difference?
According to the prophet Jeremiah, our job is to seek God with our whole heart. If we do, He promises we will find Him. We are to call, come, and pray and He will listen and respond. (Jeremiah 29:11-14) If we begin by delighting ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart. Does that mean we get all we want? All we ask? No. God changes our desires to His, then gives us what we desire. (Psalm 37:4-6)
Will He intervene in our societal and cultural issues? Yes, according to Proverbs 21:1, God intervenes, directs, and adjusts the cultural climate to accomplish His desires. Did you catch those last two words? “His desires.” When His people pray, God moves. It may not be in the way we hoped or the way we expected, but He will respond to our prayers.
How to Pray the News: Seven Easy Steps
- Read news from a reliable source and take note of the article/articles that concern you.
- Look for things that break God’s heart and consider how those things might be changed.
- Ask God how He wants to be glorified in the situation and pray accordingly.
- Is there injustice? Abuse? Sin? Ask Him to intervene.
- Ask God to intervene on the basis of Who He is and the things He loves. Justice. Mercy. Kindness. Grace. Humility.
- Be sure to pray for His will, His way, and His timing.
- Pray for God to be glorified in His answer to your prayers.
Are you tired of the changes in our culture? Frightened by the decline of the moral code in our nation? It’s time to make a difference, and you can help. Open your news feed, bow your head, and discuss the situation with the King of Kings. Your prayers have more of an effect than you know.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6