My Speech at the National Day of Prayer on Media
The following is the speech I delivered last week at the Selma National Day of Prayer rally. I was asked to spend 5 minutes talking about how we should pray for the media.
Three months ago in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, teen heartthrob Justin Bieber created a media firestorm. Why was Justin Bieber’s name all over the news the next day? Because he advocated saving sex for marriage. Then, when asked about abortion, he replied that he doesn’t believe in abortion, because “it kills a baby.”
Pro-lifers were encouraged that there was one more publicly pro-life person in Hollywood, where those kinds of people are an endangered species.
But pro-choice people went nuts. They freaked out because they were worried that some teen girls would change their views on abortion, after hearing what Justin Beiber said.
On one hand, this is great! More pro-life teen girls. Some of those girls may end up in unplanned pregnancies, and may think twice about abortion because of this.
On the other hand, I think it’s downright depressing that anybody in the media could have that much influence over the way young people think.
The media is unquestionably one of the most powerful and influential voices in our culture. I’d like to encourage us to pray today for three areas in regards to modern media.
First, we must pray for the family to take their focus off of media, and onto quality time with each other.
I’ve heard it said that movie theaters are the church of today; that television is the Sunday school, and the hymns we sing are the songs on the radio.
I think that’s tragic.
- Teenagers spend more than 72 hours a week using electronic media--defined as the Internet, cell phones, television, music and video games.
- Only 25% of teenagers can name the city where the US Constitution was written, (Philadelphia,) while 75% of teenagers know where you find the zip code 90210. (Beverly Hills.)
- Here’s the scariest statistic: In the average American home, the TV is on for over 7 hours a day, yet parents only spend an average of 38 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children.
My second prayer request is more pragmatic. Because media is unfortunately one of the most powerful communication methods of today, we must pray for people of faith, especially in leadership positions, to realize that if we want to have a greater impact, we need to become competent in communicating through that medium.
We saw the power of media this year when a pro-life group called Live Action shot some investigative footage inside of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics, and exposed that many of them seem willing to aid and abet sex trafficking. Those videos are the reason Planned Parenthood was nearly defunded. In the process, Planned Parenthood took the biggest PR hit in the history of their organization.
Meanwhile a simple slideshow I created several years ago showing how fearfully and wonderfully we are made in the womb has been seen on YouTube by 2.3 million people. Those beautiful pictures of fetal development are what those people will think of the next time they hear someone call an unborn child a “clump of cells” or a mere “blob of tissue.”
Let us pray for more people of faith to utilize creative and artistic media to the glory of God.
Last, we must pray for ourselves. That we wouldn’t get lazy and just expect media to bring people to Christ. We shouldn’t rely on media to do the job of interacting with people and helping them to come into the kingdom. We’ve got to be ready to do that. We need to be out in the world, having face to face dialogues with those in our sphere of influence. We can use media to open the door for those interactions. Not evangelism just for evangelism’s sake, so that we can get a few more notches in our Christian belt. We need to be in long-term relationships with the people around us, so that they will see that we really care about them, making it more likely that they’ll see that God really cares about them.
So we must pray, not just today but every day, for parents to have the wisdom to take their family’s focus off of media, and onto quality time with each other.
We must pray for people of faith to become competent in communicating through media.
And we must pray that we will not get lazy, but instead will do the hard work of living life with people who are different from us, because that’s exactly how Jesus lived.
Thank you, and God bless you.
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