Bible in One Hand, Newspaper In the Other

by | Oct 28, 2022 | Formation, Reflections

It popped up in a google search for material related to the words of a theologian “Pray with the bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other”

In this Vincentian Mindwalk I share two aspects on what that might mean.

Reading the news from a Christian perspective.

I was hooked by the way Andrew McCarty began a 2019 article How to Read the News as a Christian

When you hear someone say, I don’t know about you, but I just love… (take your pick)

Fox News



I don’t even need to see you right now to know what you’re thinking!

Roughly half of you want to close this window immediately because you judge me for upholding the stereotypes of White men while others silently applaud my right-side enlightenment.

McCarty says what I believe we know… each of us carries gut-reaction biases to the ABCs, CNNs, or FOX’s of the world.

From biases to prayer

By taking hard stances we divide ourselves from others, instead of drawing each other into a Kingdom of love and grace. Conversely, by insulating ourselves, we risk surrender to apathy.

McCarty effectively addresses how bias gets in the way of praying the news of the day and calls for us to

  • approach the news as learners,
  • receive news from a broad array of sources,
  • deepen our awareness of our bias, and
  • have the humility to pray about the news long before we react to the news

Then,  “Prompts for Praying the News, took me beyond our biases to actually praying the news we consume.

What if there is another way? What if, when engaging the news in our context, we first create space to meet with God in the midst of a hurting world?

Prompts for praying the news

To begin, take some time—either before you read the news or after you have heard a particularly moving story—to quiet your heart. After taking time to quiet yourself, follow these prompts for praying the news:

“Read through or watch the news story, and offer your initial reaction to God.

“What do you carry as you come into this time? Surrender that reaction to him and ask for a heart that reflects his. Take a few more minutes of quiet.

“Who in the story do you feel yourself drawn towards?

“Who do you feel a resistance toward? Has your mind created a dichotomy between “us” and “them” or a “good vs. bad” mentality? Ask God for the humility to see that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Do you see anything rising up in you that is not of the spirit (i.e. hate, stressful striving, fear, impatience, arrogance, pride, ugliness, apathy, or impulsiveness with words or actions)?

“Keep in mind that sorrow over the brokenness in the world mirrors God’s heart. Anger at injustice or brokenness can be the exact thing that moves us towards action, (unless it turns to self-righteousness and condemnation of others).

“In what way can you move toward the kingdom in your own life with regard to the story you’ve just read or witnessed? “

“How can you move in love towards your enemy?

“How can you seek to understand another’s perspective?

“What is your prayer towards this situation? How can you move that prayer into your hands and feet and life?

“If you feel an anxious energy to act immediately, sit with this longer. Be sure you are being motivated by love. Your anxiousness may be an indicator of something other than love (i.e. self-protection, ego, etc.).

Try it… you might be surprised into prayer!

Originally posted on Vincentian Mindwalk