Praying Through the News

We may not be able to shield our children (or ourselves) from the travesties of the world, but we can teach them where to go with their pain and sadness.

Headshot2 Natalie Frisk

My radio station of choice is CBC Radio One. No, this isn’t an advertisement. It’s just a statement of fact. If you’re a reader from outside of Canada, CBC Radio One would be akin to NPR in the US or BBC Radio 4 in the UK. I only listen to the radio when I drive, but I drive a lot, so I listen to a lot of radio. In addition, I drive a lot with my five-year-old, so by default, she listens to a lot of talk radio, too.

Occasionally, she’ll shout other music requests from the backseat, but oftentimes, she is lost in her own world guessing cloud shapes or telling her imaginary unicorn where we are headed. So it surprised me a couple of days ago when she was fully tuned in to the news I was listening to.“What did they say, mommy?” she said. My brain had wandered, so I turned up the volume.

The victim was in his twenties and shot near a community centre in Mississauga.

“That’s sad,” she said.
“Yes,” I said, “that is sad.”
“Did someone kill him?”
“Yes, it sounds like it.”
“That’s very sad.”

I looked in the rear-view mirror at her concerned face. I really didn’t know what to say, so I said, “Do you want to pray?”

She thought for a moment, and said yes.

We prayed for the family of the victim, and the neighbourhood, and the other people involved. She said a somewhat sombre, “Amen,” along with me.

I didn’t want her little world to shatter, but I know I can’t guard her from every tragedy. So I thought teaching her my own coping mechanism was important: talking to Jesus.

I dropped her off at school, and continued my drive into the office. The news continued on: dozens of people were killed in Pakistan when gunmen attacked a police-training centre.
Help them, Lord Jesus. Be with the families. Change the hearts of the gunmen.

A major accident has injured many, with several killed in a California tour bus crash.
Help them, Lord Jesus.

Pedestrian struck on Toronto streets, in critical condition.
Help them, Lord Jesus.

The French will begin demolition of the Calais refugee camp…
Help them, Lord Jesus.

Residential school survivors…
Help them, Lord Jesus.

Woman who was a victim of sexual assault…
Help her, Lord Jesus.

I may not be able to shield my child (or myself) from the travesties of the world, but I can teach her where to go with her pain and sadness. I can teach her who will be present for her always, even when I am not around. I can show her that I trust in Jesus, and it is my hope she will too. I can show her that mommy may not always be able to “do something” about tough situations, but I do know someone who can.

That’s why I pray through the news.