Thirst for news is as normal as thirst for water. But where we turn for news, and what we do with it after, makes a huge difference.
Years ago, the sudden death of a young child actress became a major reporting event in the US. Experts spelled out in great detail the symptoms and risks associated with her condition. A strong pull to these reports kept me glued to the television for days – until my own 17 month old daughter fell suddenly ill, exhibiting most of the symptoms described on the news.
Sometimes under the guise of public service, the media airwaves are filled with warnings and advice that generate or perpetuate fear. Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “The press unwittingly sends forth many sorrows and diseases among the human family. It does this by giving names to diseases and by printing long descriptions which mirror images of disease distinctly in thought.” She continues, “Many a hopeless case of disease is induced by a single post mortem examination, - not from infection nor from contact with material virus, but from fear of the disease and from the image brought before the mind; it is a mental state, which is afterwards outlined on the body.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 196).
But we aren't helpless. Science and Health also advises, “Instead of furnishing thought with fear,. . . correct this turbulent element of mortal mind by the influence of divine Love which casteth out fear.” (ibid. p. 180)
Eddy further reassures, “When fear disappears, the foundation of disease is gone.” (ibid. p. 368)
I turned away from the television and realized that my latent insecurity as a parent - the fear of having a vulnerable child or of not knowing how to handle a big problem, rather than a particular disease - was the “turbulent element of mortal mind” that needed correction. I turned my attention entirely to the Christ - to God's eternal ever-present message of love for His creation - to know what to do and how to pray.
I held my sleeping daughter in my arms while I prayed. Her skin color returned to normal before my eyes. Prayer continued. Her functions rapidly normalized, too. She was completely healed that day. Neither those symptoms nor my fear of her vulnerability to life-threatening illness ever returned.
How do we prepare ourselves for the news? Prayer before watching can do a lot towards the exercise of discipline to watch enough to know where prayer is needed, and to stop watching before we become hypnotized by fear. Prayer can also guide us to healthier sources of news - those that emphasize quality over sensationalized reporting.
Watch your motive behind news watching, and the motives of those that you allow to enter into your circle of influence. Quality news, books, films are like trees. When watered with prayer they bear good fruit. If what you watch and read in your leisure doesn’t support your progress, or if you have to work double time to recover your confidence, clarity and peace in prayer, is it worth it?
If you want to find your prayer MOJO today - that feeling of hitting your stride and making the spiritual progress that heals - be alert to what you are doing with the news. Let prayer quench your thirst for what is happening in the world before you turn on the television or read on the internet.
Pray first, pray during, pray after. The world needs you awake - not hypnotized by the claims of evil. The world is athirst for the clear insight of the Christ, God's message of love and care, to be found in your prayers.
Prayer gives the most accurate view of the real news - what God is doing - around us.