Prayer after the Evening News

The Evening News as an Agenda for Prayer By Father James Chelich
December 1992

An Invitation Do you watch the Evening News? Do you find that you are depressed when it’s over? Would you like to do something about the way it leaves you feeling? Then this is an invitation for you. The Evening News is generally a litany of personal human tragedies, blended with several accounts of graft and oppression at work on a grand scale, and lightly sprinkled with something just cheerful enough to both accent the vastness of the evil at work in our world, and make what little good there is look pathetic. The result is depressing! Whether it is planned that way or not, the News leaves us with a growing conviction that we really are powerless in the face of the dark forces at work on so large a scale in our human existence. We find ourselves counting ourselves lucky that these forces of human malice, greed and violence have not found their way to our door, and secretly resolving that we are certainly not going to tempt fate by raising our voices against them — after all, what can we do against evil and tragedy on so vast a scale? The effect of this, day after day, on our human spirit is devastating. We find ourselves shrinking more and more into ourselves. We find our spirit cowering before the human tragedies and evils that grip our world. We find ourselves less and less equipped to engage and deal with the sin, sadness and evil that does draw near or enter our life. Our manhood or womanhood collapses inward and we become victims — perhaps even more a victim than any we see portrayed on the news. Is it any wonder that Wheel of Fortune is TV’s most popular evening program? It comes right after the news. Anything to slip comfortably into a world of fantasy — where if the wheel turns just right and you have the right guess in hand, you end up a winner. So what is to be done? Complain? Refuse to watch? I want to suggest another alternative. I believe the effect of the Evening News can be turned on end and reversed. I believe that instead of leaving us with a sense of being powerless, it can be used to instill in us a new sense of being empowered. Instead of giving us the feeling that we can do nothing it can be employed to help us do plenty. Instead of leaving us victims, it can be used in a way that leaves us victors. And what is going to pull off this 180 degree turn of effects? PRAYER! — prayer and FAITH in the victory of Jesus Christ over sin and the powers of death! Instead of being an obituary for the death at work in our world, we can make the Evening News an AGENDA for prayer — an aggressive prayer that reaches out to every place where evil is at work to destroy human life, decency and hope; a prayer that brings the healing and liberating grace of God into the lives of both those caught in the grip of sin and those innocently victimized by the evil that sin unleashes. Father James Chelich HOW THIS PRAYER WORKS The Word of God for what we are about to do: “Do not live in fear, little flock. It has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32 “If you remain indifferent in time of adversity, your strength will depart from you. Rescue those who are being dragged to death, and from those tottering to execution withdraw not. If you say, ‘I know not this man!’ does not He who tests hearts perceive it? He who guards your life knows it, and He will repay each one according to his deeds.” Proverbs 24:10-12 1. While you are watching the News: Watch the Evening News with a note pad and a pen in hand. Briefly note each story you see on the newscast — for example: 1. Starving people in Somalia 2. Murder in Downtown Grand Rapids 3. Torture in Bosnia-Hercegovina 4. Earthquake in Iran 5. Bombing in Northern Ireland 6. A new drug to combat AIDS 7. Corruption in the Department of Housing and Urban Development 8. The Pope visits Africa 2. When the News is over: Turn OFF the TV. Take a CRUCIFIX into your hand (you can use the one on your rosary if you wish). Sit with the Crucifix in your hand and your little list from the Evening News in your lap. 3. Make the Sign of the Cross over yourself and say: “I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own. Christ is living in me. I still live my human life, but it is a life of faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:19b-20 4. Put On The Armor of God in prayer: Father, I desire to be strong in your Holy Spirit and faithful to Jesus Christ, my Lord. In obedience to your Word, I put on the ARMOR OF GOD as spiritual protection against the forces of darkness. I take TRUTH as the belt around my waist. Jesus, alone, is the Way the Truth and the Life. I am resolved to walk in the light of his truth. Satan is the Father of Lies. I renounce him, and all lying speech and deception of any kind. It is the lie that keeps us in bondage; it is the truth that sets us free. Lord, give me discernment to know the truth, and courage to speak it and act upon it. I take RIGHTEOUSNESS as my breastplate — not my own self-righteousness, but the righteousness won for me by Jesus. He took on my sin-addicted humanity so that I could become the very holiness of God. I accept His call to that holiness and commit myself to it. I put on the shoes of ZEAL to spread the Gospel of Peace. I have no faith in the peace this world offers. I seek the peace of Christ. By your love and your grace, help me disarm my own heart. Wash it clean of anger, bitterness and resentment. Let me assist in the healing of the hearts of others, and together let us break down the barriers of hostility that keep us apart from You and one another. I take FAITH as a shield to hold up before me in the face of every evil and harassment from Satan. My trust is in you, Lord, and you alone! Over my head I place the helmet of SALVATION. I recognize that my mind is the favorite target of Satan’s deceiving ways. By illusion and desire he draws my thoughts to things that destroy the integrity of my body, soul and spirit. Constantly he tempts me to place my hope for salvation in my own wisdom and strength, in that of another, or in the things of the world. I choose instead, to place my hope in Christ and the power flowing from his resurrection. I want to share in his sufferings. I want to be formed into the pattern of his death to sin and his life for God. In this way I hope to arrive at resurrection from the dead. Finally, I take up the Sword of the Spirit, that I may unsheathe the WORD OF GOD and its promises against the forces of evil that hold our hearts and our world in bondage. Enable me to use the infallible Word of God not only to defend myself against the forces of darkness, but to claim its promises of freedom and salvation for others. Lord, send forth your Spirit to lead me into the spiritual battle. You know the weakness of my faith and the hesitancy of my words. Most Holy Spirit, enter into my prayer and supply all that is lacking. I ask this in the name of JESUS, my Lord. Amen. 5. Unite yourself to the Communion of Saints in the Body of Christ : Lord, I cannot stand alone against the sin at work in my own life, let alone dare to stand alone and confront the evil that grips the lives of those around me. I will not stand alone! I will pray as member of the Body of Christ, in communion… with Mary, the Mother of the Household of God and my mother; with the angel powers of heaven, especially my guardian spirit _______________; with the saints, my older brothers and sisters in the Household of God, especially my patron saint(s) _______________; with my fellow christians everywhere who are in prayer at this time, especially my prayer-partner(s) _______________. Jesus said: “I tell you, if two of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatever, it shall be granted you by my Father in Heaven. Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.” Matthew 18:19-20 6. Claim the Promises of God: “It is no part of my Father’s plan that a single one of these little ones shall ever come to grief.” Matthew 18:14 “If you live in me, and my words stay part of you, you may ask what you will — it will be done for you.” John 15:7 7. Begin to pray for the items on your list: Take up your list from the Evening News and start with the first item — for example: 1. Starving People in Somalia Begin by saying: With the Cross of Jesus , I move in the power of the Holy Spirit to… Name the place: …Somalia. Next say: In the Name of Jesus , I ask… Offer a personal prayer asking assistance or protec-tion for the starving people in Somalia. Try to pray for a specific person or family — for example: …that food be received by one starving family and that the life of just one child be spared. Finally say: May the Blood of the Lamb fall upon and break the evil of … Name the particular power of evil over this situation or this person’s life — for example: …famine and greed that is oppressing the lives of these people. Move to the next item on your list — for example: 2. Murder in Downtown Grand Rapids. Pray in the same three-part pattern as before: With the Cross of Jesus, I move in the power of the Holy Spirit to… Downtown Grand Rapids. In the Name of Jesus, I ask… …that the family of this woman murdered on our streets be consoled, and that whoever committed this crime comes to justice, and finds redemption at the hands of God. May the Blood of the Lamb fall upon and break the evil of… …violence in our streets. * * * * * Always use the same introduction for each item: With the Cross of Jesus, I move in the power of the Holy Spirit to… Then name the place. Next, offer your personal prayer for the person or situation. Start by saying: In the Name of Jesus, I ask… Finally, ask that the power of evil at work in the person or situation be broken by saying: May the Blood of the Lamb fall upon and break (heal, wipe out) the evil of… (name the evil). Here are more EXAMPLES from our sample list: With the Cross of Jesus, I move in the power of the Holy Spirit to…Bosnia-Hercegovinia. In the Name of Jesus, I ask…that an innocent family with children be protected from harm. May the Blood of the Lamb fall upon and break the evil…bitterness and hatred working in the hearts of these terrorists. With the Cross of Jesus, I move in the power of the Holy Spirit to…the site of the earthquake in Iran. In the Name of Jesus, I ask…that the heart of the world be opened in charity to the victims of this disaster and that the heart of one grieving person be strengthened with the knowledge of God’s love through this prayer. May the Blood of the Lamb fall upon and heal the evil of…this terrible destruction. With the Cross of Jesus, I move in the power of the Holy Spirit to…the side of a victim with AIDS. In the Name of Jesus, I ask…Lord, encourage the heart of one person suffering from this terrible disease. Let them know your love for them. Guide the minds and hands of the researchers in finding a cure. Open the hearts of us all in compassion to the victims of this disease. May the Blood of the Lamb fall upon and wipe out the evil of…this terrible disease. With the Cross of Jesus, I move in the power of the Holy Spirit to…the federal offices in Washington. In the Name of Jesus, I ask…Lord, defend the poor against the greedy and the powerful. Open the heart of just one political official to the desperate plight of those they are appointed to serve. May the Blood of the Lamb fall upon and break the evil…hold of greed over the hearts of those in power. With the Cross of Jesus, I move in the power of the Holy Spirit to…the side of our Holy Father in Africa. In the Name of Jesus, I ask…that his words touch the hearts of the people and turn them to the light of Christ and the truth of His Gospel. May the Blood of the Lamb fall upon and redeem… all who remain in darkness and the shadow of death. 8. Conclude by praying: OUR FATHER, who art in heaven… SAINT MICHAEL, the Archangel, defend us in the battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly Hosts, by the power of God, drive into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who wander throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. HAIL MARY, full of grace… Copyright: December 1992 Father James Chelich Basilica of Saint Adalbert, 456 Davis, N.W., Grand Rapids, MI 49504