As journalists increasingly find themselves in the political crossfire in the heated Brexit debate, a guide to help churches and Christians pray for the media has been produced by Christian group Christians in Media.
The five-page resource has been published ahead of the Day of Prayer for the Media on Sunday November 3. The day is being promoted by Christians in Media, a UK network and community that supports, encourages and inspires Christians who work in, and with, media.
The guide, published on the group's website www.christiansinmedia.co.uk has advice on why churches should pray for the media, what they should be praying for, and some suggested prayers to use. There are also ideas for churches and Christians to mark the Day of Prayer and discussion points for church groups.
Steve Cox, chair of Christians in Media, said: "Billy Graham once said, 'To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees'. On Sunday November 3rd, we have a chance to 'get down on our knees.'
"We want to pray both for the media in all its breadth and specifically for the many Christians working in, and with, media to be beacons of truth and integrity, and to shine for God's glory in this vital area of public life."
The resource includes prayers for the media from journalist and TV presenter Julie Etchingham; Archbishop of York John Sentamu; former general secretary of the Evangelical Alliance, Steve Clifford; Bishop of Norwich Graham Usher and Bishop of Repton Jan McFarlane.
Peter Crumpler, who trained as a journalist and worked in communications for local government, the energy industry and the Church of England before being ordained as a CofE priest, helped develop the resource.
He said: "From national newspapers to community radio, from websites to specialist publications, from TV networks to blogs, all have a valuable role to play. Churches are parts of international and national networks so a healthy global, national and local media matters to us.
"We want to know about our world, its celebrations, its problems and divisions and its joys, and we need a thriving media to help us engage with it."
The guide states that, at its best the media:
- give a voice to the voiceless, providing an opportunity for minority groups and people on the margins of our society to be noticed and heard.
- hold the powerful to account, ensuring that those with influence and resources in our society have their actions and motivations scrutinised and challenged.
- highlight unjust practices, investigating how people and organisations can take advantage of others away from public view.
- call for justice, supporting causes and individuals where the law needs to be upheld or changed.
- keep people informed, enabling each of us to participate in our democracy.
- bring us strong opinions to challenge our own, and
- tell stories to entertain us and show us more about our world.
Christians in Media are encouraging churches and Christians to pray:
For high ethical standards in the media - supporting the majority of people working in the media as they strive for integrity and truth.
For working in the media to be an honourable profession - encouraging Christians and other people of faith and goodwill to consider it as a calling and backing all those working in and with the media in our churches.
For a thriving, vibrant media and for positive engagement with the media - the national, local and regional media matter greatly. They are vital parts of our communities and help to hold communities together. We pray that our churches may engage with their media, supporting their important work, and supplying them with information and viewpoints.
For a media free of persecution - around the world, journalists are facing greater persecution, with reporters being arrested and, in some cases, murdered for seeking to report the news. At national and local level, Christians and church leaders need to be speaking out for journalists under pressure and calling for justice.
More information about the Day of Prayer for the Media can be found at: https://www.christiansinmedia.co.uk/pray4media/