Using the News to Pray

In previous articles like, “What’s in the News,” I have written about why I think it is important to follow the news. Watching the news we typically hear more discouraging news than uplifting news. Recently, I have begun trying to use news headlines as the source of material for prayer. I still advocate to follow the news more in-depth than just looking at headlines but this might be a good approach for part of our prayer life.

I would like to provide some examples. I will begin with the national news using the CBS News app on my phone. I offer no endorsement of any particular news source. This just happens to be one I have. You should be apply to do the same with any news app or website. (These headlines are as of 1:25 pm, October 18, 2021).

Headline #1 – “Colin Powell dies at 84 from COVID-19 amid cancer battle” – Colin Powell was vaccinated but still contracted COVID. Here is the prayer – “Lord, we thought we made things much better when the vaccines came out. The number of new cases was way down. Then came the Delta variant. Lord, we need your help. We ask you to help those who become ill with COVID. Please help those who care for them in their work and in their own health. Lord, we ask you to help people, whether they are vaccinated or not, know that they still need to make wise decisions like wearing face masks when appropriate. Help us to persevere in making wise choices.”

Headline #2 – “17 missionaries kidnapped by gang in Haiti, police say” – I offer this prayer – “Lord, being a good Christian is not easy. All but one of Jesus’ Apostles were martyred. It seems like it should be easy to be your disciple but it is not. We must be willing to take up our cross and follow you. When we want to hide our Christianity, may we always remember that your Son, our Savior, Jesus opened preached the gospel for us, till the point of his death on the Cross. Help to persevere in being Christian.”

Headline #3 – “Yard sale funds random acts of kindness” – “Lord, we are thankful to hear that there are good people who want to help make things better. We can’t eliminate all suffering in this world but we can help one another through our sufferings. Lord, I don’t always know what I can do to help but let me be inspired when I see others helping. I offer these words in prayer from the beginning of the Serenity Prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”?

Now, I change to a headline from

Headline #4 – “Pope Francis names USCCB evangelization chair as new bishop of Crookston diocese” – “Lord, I know nothing of this bishop except to note that the headline says he chairs the USCCB evangelization committee. I pray that he will be a good shepherd of the diocese and care for the people. I pray that he seeks to do your will in all things. As I see great importance in the work of evangelization, I pray in thanksgiving that he is involved in evangelization.”

Now, I offer two headlines from a local news source –

Headline #5 – “Gas leak reported in Elmira Heights, road reopens after temporary closure” – “Lord, we pray in thanksgiving that there was no explosion and no one was hurt from this gas leak.”

Headline #6 – “Chemung County woman indicted for welfare fraud, grand larceny” – Lord, it would be easy to say we are happy that this woman got caught. We certainly want justice. After all, the Seventh Commandment says “You Shall not Steal.” However, there is something bigger to think of here, the people who really do need help. Lord, we pray for those in need, that they have what they need through your grace and the work of our hands.”

I hope this inspires you to think about how you might pray about what you hear in the news.


Fr. Jeff


  1. Thank you Father Jeff for providing another way to pray. I look forward to your upcoming webinar on prayer. I encourage all readers of this blog to sign up and attend the webinar.

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