Journalism: What’s prayer got to do with it?
There is the popular song about prayer being the key, the master key to resolving any issue, but how many of us pray when we need to write a story, get an important source or conduct an interview?
I never thought much about praying concerning journalism issues like the ones mentioned above until I read the story of Late John McCandlish Phillips, a former staff of The New York Times in a testimony he shared titled Faith in the Daily News Chase.
According to him, the secret of his being able to obtain richer, or more penetrating, or more factually complete information than his colleagues was that “I prayed silently on the way to nearly all assignments, asking the Lord to help me, to guide me, to get me below the surface, to give me all the content I needed for a first-rate report”
What the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, is that we should pray without ceasing, including committing every stage of our work to God who answers prayers.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
As simple or difficult as some journalism tasks may seem after practising it for years, when we trust in our own understanding and professional knowledge alone, we run a risk of making wrong decisions or not getting what we can get easily if we seek divine guidance.
Mayowa Tijani an award-winning journalist with AFP and The Cable who boldly declares his faith on his Twitter handle @OluwamayowaTJ “Follow me, as I follow Christ” last week shared a thread #spiritualjourno about how he uses spiritual means to get physical career wins.
Please read the tweets below and meditate on why as a journalist you must not relegate prayers in your professional pursuits.
“ I was running an investigation on the oil spill and rehabilitation in ogoni. I had visited the LGAs in Ogoni. Spoke to locals; ‘fisherwomen’, paramount rulers, DRs and who have you. So I needed an experts input. If I didn’t get it, my story wouldn’t be published. #SpiritualJourno
“ I worked my contacts, there were very few experts in the field. And they were very hard to reach. Couldn’t get any. It was Sunday before publishing. Editors had reviewed my copy and said that piece was really important. I worked my contact some more. Nothing. #SpiritualJourno
“ Someone eventually suggested a prof at UNILORIN, he was said to be the best in the field. And he had worked on the ogoni spill a lot. How to reach him before 8 am Monday. This was Sunday after church. It was 2017. I had turned to everyone I knew. Nothing! #SpiritualJourno
“ I went to the office and sat in front of my laptop and began to PRAY under my breath (do not disturb others. ALWAYS) As I prayed, I checked UNIs website, checked academic journals, I checked everything possible. Nothing. I kept praying. And was feeling victory. #SpiritualJourno
“ Not long, still as I prayed, a thought dropped in my mind to look to WordPress if he had a blog. I checked and boom, an ooooolllllldddddd WordPress blog. I read up his very early scribblings before he became a professor. One of them had his number. I typed it out and called. Wait.
“ As I typed the number and called. A lady picked up, “I’d like to speak to prof. So so so”. She said wrong number. Ahhhh wrong number bawo? She said this is her phone and she’s no professor. I had hit yet another brickwall. #SpiritualJourno
“ I was very disappointed 😥. But you know #JoyIsWar. So I pressed on and kept praying. While I surfed the internet for answers. Again, I had a thought drop, ‘check the number again’. I did, and boom, I missed one number. I rang the actual number this time. #SpiritualJourno
“Yes, this is prof, how can I help you?” and boom, we had a very fruitful convo. My story made it out on Monday morning. And we got a call from the minister, who took immediate action on the issues we raised. I had a meeting with him in Abuja. @estherclimate was at the meeting.
“FUN FACT: That professor is now the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin. He is Professor Sulyman Age Abdulkareem. #SpiritualJourno.
“I’m sharing this cos I was in a similar situation today and after praying like I did that day, we cracked it!
“Caveat: Can someone else get all these results without prayers and believing in God? Absolutely, and even better results. But I have only shown you an easy way I know. It’s how I open the doors before me. #SpiritualJourno says thank you for your time.”