May the Lord bless you and keep you this day; may His light shine down upon you. In a world full of technology, information and gadgets we as Christians get caught up sharing on social media our beliefs and engaging in the evilness of the world around us. Now while we are called to stand out and preach His word, we are not called to spend an average of up to nine hours a day on our social media sites copying memes or responding to prayer requests. Not every request for prayer needs a response on social media. God rather hear from you directly that read it online. So the question becomes why do respond online to prayer requests? Do we do it for the selfish nature of wanting others to see that we are praying for them? If this is the case is then not the true intent behind the prayer not about the prayer for resolution and comfort from God but about yourself and your charity? Some of the most faithful people may not respond to your request for help or prayer but it is not because they are not caring for you. It is because they may be on their knees communicating with God beseeching favor in behest of you.
The power of prayer is the strongest weapon we have as Christians. It alone can move mountains. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:22). Yet many Christians today do not use this power. Many of those that do use it only use it to ask for help. Giving praise in prayer is extremely important not just requesting help but to give thanks. Like the lepers healed by Jesus will we be like the Samaritan that comes back to give thanks for the grace that God bestows upon us? (Luke 17) Often Christians forget that the goodness that is bestowed upon them is not by their will and actions but through His and His alone. Yet we continue to post on Facebook in our selfish ways to seek the acknowledgement from our brothers and sisters for the prayers we provide. If this is so how are we any better than those that collected money at the temple? (Matthew 21).
Prayer should be conducted as Jesus instructed in Mathew 18. In small groups both in silence and out loud. Praying alone can be done but a greater emphasis on prayer must be placed on doing it when two or more are gathered in His name. By sharing we are able to afford people the opportunity to listen which often does more good to the person hurt than anything else. Listening is one of those skills my generation is failing to learn or accomplish. Reading tweets, blurbs and status changes is not the same as listening. More information can be obtained when we listen to someone share their message. Their nonverbal ques, their voice pattern, and their facial expressions this information can impact the need and emphasis we place on those requesting us to pray with them.
While social media will never go away, I understand as Christians we will always go there to update and see who needs someone to comfort them. But least we not forget to communicate verbally with one another to share our praise and burdens so we together can lift them to the Lord. But if we go on social media to share in each other’s burdens remember to pray first about it and then to follow up in a verbal conversation so the Holy Spirit can move you to comfort each other as you share each other’s burdens.
So this is the challenge I set before all my Christian brothers and sisters: Formally pray with someone everyday for 30 days for both the good and bad in your life. See how the Lord comforts you and brings you peace. If praying out loud makes you nervous pray with someone you trust. Let them lead you a couple of times. Pray with your family at every meal even when you go out. Let the Holy Spirit dwell within you by inviting Him in and see what wonders He will do for you in the next 30 days. Feel free to contact me with your experiences and I will share mine with you.
Prayer for the Human Family Book of Common Prayer 1928
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.