Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Prayer on Facebook

Who are you praying to when you type out your prayers on a facebook status update? Can a tweet be a prayer, and if so to whom is it directed?

Prayer is the privilege—the gift—of an opportunity to take all our cares and thoughts to the creator of the universe. We can speak directly with the person in charge. But sometimes that doesn’t seem to be what we want. We want to speak to people who are a bit more tangible. By that I don’t mean prayers in the Catholic sense directed at a saint or the virgin as though they have more time for us than an omnipotent omnipresent God, but rather a desire to let the world know all our troubles. Sometimes we are more interested in fishing for pity than comfort.

This is nothing new. Long before the days of internet social media, we had those wonderful prayer chains. The idea of course is to get as many people praying about an issue. (And that is an interesting concept in its own right. Does prayer work in direct proportion to the amount of people praying?) However, nearly every prayer chain in the history of the church has a degree of abuse. Some I have known have been more gossip vehicles than calls to prayer.

The question is one of purpose. When we pray, do we seek God’s help or rescue, or a response from people to a circumstance in our life? If we want God’s help, He is right there with us in the moment. We do not need to go to Him via a computer interface. On the other hand, if our goal is a response from a lot of the people we know, then why couch our statement in the form of a prayer? (2 Cor. 1:3-7)

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