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EDITORIAL: News stories are a call to prayer

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From the uttermost parts of the world to right here at home, readers of The Christian Index see various headlines – some joyful and some horrific – posted daily on the newspaper’s website.

In the past weeks, you've read of war and violence, famine and illness, and accidents and disasters. You’ve read of political division and strife.

And you've read good news as well. You've read of how fellow Baptists are spreading the Gospel. You've read of how relief workers from the Southern Baptist Convention and the Georgia Baptist Mission Board are aiding refugees fleeing from war and disasters. You've read of revival and baptisms.

What is the purpose of reporting on such a wide variety of stories? And how are we, as Christians, to respond to current events?

As the newspaper for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, the Index’s primary function is to keep Georgia Baptists informed. Some of that information relates specifically to the Southern Baptist Convention and the Georgia Baptist Mission Board to let readers know what those organizations are doing and where they are focusing their efforts.

Additionally, it is part of the Index’s mission to inform readers about what is going on in the world around them. In the Gospel of John, Jesus prays for believers, and says we are not “of this world.” But He also says that He has sent us “into the world.”

We are no longer tied to the world. The Bible says that through our faith in Jesus we are now citizens of Heaven (Phil. 3:20). Yet we still live in and interact with this world. It is important that believers know what is going on the world, because in that way we can offer informed and specific prayer.

When you read about a violent attack, whether in the U.S. or abroad, pray. Pray for the victims, pray for the responders, and, yes, pray for the perpetrators (Matt. 5:44-45).

When you read about a young man who fills his body with chemicals to achieve athletic success, pray. Pray that the Lord would reveal to him the truth about worldly accolades and eternal value.

When you read about children being killed in the womb, pray. Pray for the children, pray for the mothers and fathers. And pray for the people who have been deceived into believing lies.

When you read about people abusing others, pray. Pray for physical and emotional healing for the abused. Pray for truth to be revealed and justice to be done. Pray for repentance and forgiveness in those situations.

When you read about fellow Baptists working to spread the Gospel in the U.S. and the world, pray. Give thanks to the Lord for the faithful and selfless service of His people. Pray that the Lord would use those efforts to bring glory to Himself and grow His Kingdom.

When you read about revival in the church and the number of new believers who are coming to faith in Christ and being baptized, pray. Pray for the new believers and praise the Lord that He is building His church and His kingdom during uncertain and troubled times.

In short, when you read the Index, pray. Every story can and should be a call to prayer (1 Thess. 5:17).

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