Re-thinking Facebook Prayer Requests

MEDION DIGITAL CAMERAOut of a light-hearted reaction to a question I’m asked quite often, I posted an update on my FB status that indicated the next time someone asks me what I plan on doing after seminary I might just go postal. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing this week. Then I added “pray for me”.  Of course its not always obvious in the one dimensional on-line format when when is serious or just being silly. In this case, it was the latter….pray that I don’t go postal on people. It was kind of a joke. Though I appreciated the people that indicated they were praying, it felt a bit hypocritical of me to send that out since I’ve come to the conclusion to not send out prayer requests on Facebook or Twitter.

On a more serious note, let me explain. I have come to the increasing conviction of how we utilize social media for pray requests. And when I say social media, I mean the feed that everybody sees, not private messages. Now, I want to be delicate here because I don’t want to give the impression that I’m downplaying the importance of prayer, that I don’t want people praying for me, or that we should not pray for others. Please don’t go there.  In fact, it is the significance of prayer that leads me to believe how blanket prayer requests on FB can actually undermine it.

For all the good that social media has done in connecting people and ideas together, it has also burdened us in a way. If you are an active social media user like me, just thinking about how much of the information you are exposed to now you would have been exposed to a decade ago.  Its a pretty big difference. This exposure has an overwhelming effect, which has actually created a greater superficiality. Just because we have a snippet of information does not mean we have substantial information. But more importantly, we have an expanded amount of superficial information through which requests come. Continue reading