When I was very young, my mother taught me to be respectful of professional people — lawyers, doctors, teachers, pastors, police officers. Do what they tell you to do, she instructed; they earned those titles and positions of authority. Later, life experiences taught me to blend Mom's lessons with a healthy dose of skepticism — respect people in positions of authority, definitely. But don't put them on pedestals — and be especially wary of the ones who put themselves up there.Mom passed away two years ago, but she was on my mind Thursday during the local observance of the 61st annual National Day of Prayer at Memorial Hall. I'd been asked to take part and offer a prayer for media. Her presence comforted and encouraged me as I sat on stage among a variety of religious, civic and government leaders, waiting my turn to speak. My Old Testament patron saint, Habakkuk, also came to mind. One of the least known and least quoted prophets, Habakkuk received a scribe's instructions from God, instructions any reporter would do well to embrace:“And the Lord said, ‘Write the vision, make it plain on tablets, so that he might run who reads it. Though it may tarry, wait for it, for it will surely come.'”The text of my prayer follows. Some of it comes from a prayer composed two years ago by Mike Smith, editor of the Spartanburg Herald in South Carolina:Father God, we thank you for a nation that recognizes free speech and a free press as unalienable rights. We are grateful for the right to seek and spread truth about our society and our government. We thank you for technology that enables a fulfillment of your words to the prophet Isaiah: “All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it.” And yet, we fail to see and hear your truth. Our culture values all ideas equally, except the idea that some philosophies are wrong, while only one is right. In short, we tolerate everything except the truth. We've abandoned the notion of sin and fail to see death as its wages.In such an environment, give news media a renewed commitment to genuine truth rather than the fallacy that all ideas, concepts and philosophies are equal. Let news media commit to the role of watchdog, not only of government but of all institutions and elements of society. Help us to remember the difference between journalist and advocate.Lord, economic pressures take their toll. Objective news outlets are struggling under financial pressure. Lord, give our people a renewed hunger for the truth and a willingness to perceive and uphold its value. You said in your word the truth will set us free. Too many of us are not interested in learning the truth. Too few of us are interested in spreading it. Change our hearts Lord. Revive our curiosity to learn the truth, and prosper those news outlets that reveal it.Finally Lord, no news is as important as your gospel. We are all part of the media who should be spreading that good news. It's the only story that can truly change the world. Give your people a passion for spreading the news that dwarfs all other interests. In Jesus' name, Amen.