The news has been quite depressing lately, hasn’t it? Every time I turn on the TV and see the latest updates coming from Aurora, Colorado, my instinct is to turn it off, block it out, and pretend the heartache doesn’t exist.
But so far I haven’t found a single command in the Bible for believers to block out the bad news of the world or to retreat into a Christians-only bubble of quoting Bible verses, singing camp fire songs and sharing pot luck dinners. What I have found are commands to love, to pray, to give, to influence and to serve.
But when the faces and names on TV are of strangers who live way outside your circle of influence, is it still possible to touch their lives? Can you still pray even when you don’t know the specifics of their situations?
Yes, you can! Here are five things you can pray for during any and every tragic news report that comes across your television or radio:
1. Praise God that He is bigger than the tragedy
Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The darker the circumstance, the brighter God’s light can shine. Thank Him for His sovereignty and for the fact that He conquered all sin on the cross!
2. Pray for the salvation of those involved
God’s will is that all will come to know Him. He “is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9) When you see people on the news, pray first and foremost for their salvation.
3. Pray that God would be glorified
God is not in the business of working miracles for entertainment purposes. His goal is to bring Himself glory that we may know Him, serve Him, and worship Him. Pray that God would be glorified even through the tragedy.
4. Pray that He would work all things for good
God has the divine ability to take the horrible, add it to the despicable, mix it with the tragic, and sprinkle in the unimaginable in order to make something wonderful! (Rom. 8:28) Pray that, in time, those who believe would be able to recognize the good and praise God for it.
5. Pray that the “workers” would be plentiful
Jesus and His disciples saw a lot of hurt and a lot of needs as they traveled from town to town teaching. He acknowledged the needs, but He never expected His disciples to personally meet every need they saw. Instead, He told them to pray that God would send others to work the fields where the harvest is plentiful. (Mat. 9:35-38). When you see tragedy on the news, pray that the Christians and the local churches will rise up and influence those in their community who are hurting, vulnerable, and in need of God’s hope.
You may be called to do more than pray for those you see on the news. God may prompt your heart to give or even to go and serve yourself. But praying for the people involved is the least we can do in these tragic circumstances.
Q: How do you pray when you see people on the news who are experiencing tragic situations?