“A newsfeed isn’t just a content list. It is the prayer warrior’s battle plan.”

Reading the news is a struggle for me. On the one hand, I want to be a well-informed citizen, kept abreast of the latest issues facing the nation and my city so that I can hold an informed opinion and an intelligent conversation. On the other hand, I don’t want to torture myself by scrolling through endless stories highlighting conflict, debauchery, and human depravity. In my quest to become informed, I often end up feeling defeated and heartbroken. Unfortunately, the cost of knowing what is happening in the world is...knowing what is happening in the world.

So when a sermon on prayer mentioned the notion of praying through the news, I took note. Mentally I’ve always assented with the idea that, Yes, it is a good thing to pray for people around the world. But somehow that became more of a passive ingesting of prayer requests via missionary newsletters, or requests relayed from people that I knew personally. The moment of conviction came when I thought about how I’d been praying for my uncle and his family, and their whole neighborhood—people who lost their houses and everything they owned in the Santa Rosa fire last year. It hit me that I’d heard so much about those fires in the news, but I didn’t pray about them until they affected someone I care about.

This is the barrier of sin in me, the desire to focus entirely on myself: How and why should I care about the rest of the world’s problems when I can’t even handle my own? What’s the point of staying informed when all it does is depress me?

And yet, there is a great big world out there, burning not just literally in wildfires but metaphorically burning itself it down to the ground. Every war, every murder, every natural disaster is all a stark, unyielding reminder that this world is utterly broken and hurting with sin. And any newsreel worth its salt is the undeniable proof. So instead of passively taking in headlines through a newsfeed, I want to actively pray through the news. I want to fight the natural inclination to consume, consume, consume content, and invoke the supernatural privilege that has been given to me to bring these things before the Living God of the universe. A newsfeed isn’t just a content list. It is the prayer warrior’s battle plan.

When I see a story of a family grieving a loss, whether from natural disaster or mankind’s sin, Lord, help my heart to truly grieve with those who grieve. Let me never forget that numbers and figures represent the lives of actual people You fearfully and wonderfully created in Your image - people You love truly and deeply.

When I see a story of injustice done to the marginalized and the oppressed, Lord, help me to remember Your heart for the “least of these”, the widows, orphans, and the foreigner, and to pursue justice on their behalf for Your name’s sake.

When I see a story of victory, of an obstacle overcome or justice carried out, Lord, help me to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to praise Your name for the unending mercy and grace that You show to broken people.

And Lord, when I have taken in too much of the news, to the point where I am listening more to man’s word than to Yours, please refocus my attention to Your word and Your promises, which are always true and can always be trusted. Let me not be conformed to this world or be tempted to put my hope in mankind’s actions or lack thereof, but let me be transformed by the renewal of my mind according to Your truth, setting my hope fully in You.

Ashley Ross

Ashley is a member of Cornerstone and serves as a Web Content Editor.

Additional articles that might be of interest.