A Proverb says, "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." (25:25) But sometimes another kind of thirst takes over when the news isn't so good. The media often feeds an unhealthy appetite for details of sad events. If we aren't alert, bad news can be intoxicating, luring us into tales of horror that paralyze us, stone-cold, mentally. Isaiah describes "a thirsty man [who] dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite." (29:8)
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.
When sickness had come up before, I found turning to God in prayer to be a most effective and quick means of healing. Now, faced with this illness, I turned to prayer again with the expectation of seeing good results immediately. But I knew that in order to pray effectively, I first had to stop watching the television reports.
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.
As I prayed, I remembered a Bible verse that says, “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him, and the Lord shall cover him all the day long.” (Deuteronomy 33:12) The compassion and love of God as a constant Parent to his children touched me. I thought of the child actress who had passed on and realized that God's love for her had never, and would never, stop. I felt tangibly, that because God’s love is ever-present, everywhere, no one could be outside the range of its healing power—no matter where they were, no matter what they were afraid of. As a parent, I felt myself yielding to God's parenting of me, and my child, and all children.
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.
This experience completely changed the way I watch the news. I believe we need to be more alert to what we allow to influence us. What do we expect from the news? Do we watch to find out what is happening in the world? Do we take what we see at face value? Or do we accept the counsel of John who said, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world"? (I John 4:1)
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.
NOTE TO READERS: The posts aren't the jewels of this blog. The jewels are the links to wonderful articles on spirituality.com that take you deeper into the subjects than a simple post can. I hope you will make full use of the links while they are here. In a couple of weeks, the majority of these links will be available by subscription only. I am looking into other options for linking in order to continue to provide access to free content that adds value to the subjects under discussion.
I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no