Turning Posts into Prayers

I have a confession to make. I spend entirely too much time on Facebook. Whew! Confession is good for the soul.

I’m making progress. I quit taking goofy quizzes like “What Disney Princess are you?” and “If you were a cat, what would you look like?” I stopped playing Candy Crush and other games with 8,999 levels. I drastically reduced my reading of random articles with headlines like, “21 Ways to Lose 21 Pounds in 21 Days,” and “63 Celebrities You Thought Were Dead but Aren’t.”

I’m still a sucker for surprise military reunion videos, cute animal pics, and crock-pot recipes with lots of cheese. Hey, a girl has to have a little fun, right?

What I love most about Facebook is the way it allows me to connect with people. When my Facebook pals are celebrating, I get to celebrate, too. On the sad side of the same token, when my friends are hurting, my heart aches.

My social media time is not immune to my efforts to live a pray-without-ceasing life. As I scroll through my feed and see what’s going on with my friends, prayer is often my response—prayers of praise, prayers of concern, and prayers for direction. Sometimes, I post my prayers right there as a comment, so my friends know the words I lifted up to God for them. My friends seem to like it, and it ensures I follow through with God’s prompting to pray. If I put it off ’til later, I’ll might forget.

Think about all the news you receive from your social media friends in a day. Are there any for which you could respond with prayer? Here are a few examples to get you thinking:

  • Your friend posts pictures of her brand-new grandbaby. In addition to your standard, “What a cutie! Congrats, Grammy,” why not post a prayer of praise and dedication. Lord, thank you for blessing this precious child with such a Jesus-loving gramma. May she come to know You early and honor You all her days.
  • Your friend posts her youngest child’s graduation pics. Go ahead and join in your friend’s “Woo hoo!” but how about also share a prayer. Lord, thank you for guiding Johnny to this exciting point in his life. Please guide him toward what’s next for him in Your master plan. And, Lord, hold his momma’s heart as she navigates her empty nest.
  • Your friend who’s been unemployed for months posts about his new job. Click that “love” button, but why not give God a shout-out? Lord, thank you for this new job for Joe! Please help him learn the ropes and make great connections quickly. Use him as a bright light in his new workplace.
  • Your Facebook notifications tell you it’s so-and-so’s birthday. A “Happy Birthday!” will bring a smile to your friend’s face, but a prayer will bring a fire to her heart. Lord, thank you for the privilege of knowing Suzie. Let this year be full of opportunities for her  to share Your hope.
  • Your friend posts from the surgical waiting room as she awaits her child’s surgery. It only takes a few seconds to type out the prayer you’re likely praying in your heart. Lord, please let Your presence be known in the operating room and in the waiting room. Please bring Kyle to full health and keep the whole family in complete peace.
  • Your friend admits she’s having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. “Hang in there” has a little encouragement umph, but prayer has power. Lord, lift my buddy’s spirits with Your joy that defies circumstances.
  • Your friend shares an ALS-awareness meme and mentions her mom who’s suffering with the disease. A frowny face sends loving empathy, but a prayer sends hope. Lord, please let Your peace that passes all understanding guard Amy’s heart today. Please assure her You haven’t forsaken her precious mom.
  • Your friend shares the sad news that a loved one has died. Resist the urge to post not-helpful cliches, and consider posting a heart-felt prayer. Lord, You promise to be close to the brokenhearted and to save the crushed in spirit. Please wrap up this hurting family with Your comfort and Your peaceful presence.
  • Your friend rejoices that her mom is now cancer-free. In the midst of your cheering, give glory to  God. Lord, thank you for this tremendous news! Use Sandra’s story to bring Your hope to many.

Now, don’t get me wrong, friends. I’m not proposing every comment you leave needs to be a prayer. Social media is just that—social. Laugh and joke. Encourage and cheer. Have fun on Facebook. It’s a good thing. But sometimes, a prayer is a perfect way to invite God into your social media life. When God’s behind the prayers, He’ll be glorified, and your friends will be encouraged.

That brings me to a gentle word of warning. Be careful not to try to pass off gossip and critical words as prayers.

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Would what I’m about to type encourage me if someone sent it to me?”

Lord, be glorified in my social media life. Show me when to turn my posts into prayers. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN

What do you think? Is prayer a welcome addition to your social media feed? I’d love to hear how you invite God into your social media life. 

 

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Timing is Everything

A new friend just lost her husband a few weeks ago. On Mothers Day night, he died in his sleep leaving his wife and three daughters reeling. They were anticipating the youngest daughter’s graduation the following week. She graduated, but her daddy wasn’t there to hug her and beam with pride.

When I heard the news, compassion punched me in the gut, and a prayer tumbled from my lips. Oh, Lord, help them.

When tragedy strikes in someone’s life, it’s easy to remember to pray for them—at first. But with time, other concerns push what once felt urgent to the periphery of our minds. It sounds terrible, but I think it’s just the way we are.  It doesn’t mean we don’t care. We just get distracted by, well, life.

I don’t want to forget to pray for my friend, so I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to pray for her daily. Before I set the alarm, I thought carefully about what time to set it for. What time of day would a new widow need prayer the most?

I decided on 10:30 p.m. While I’ve never been a widow, I can imagine bedtime would be hard. Though my friend has to be strong and present for her daughters all day, when she closes her door at night, it’s just her and God and a half-empty bed.

I’m praying for her to feel God’s arms around her throughout the night. I’m praying for peace to be her pillow. I’m praying for those new-morning mercies to wake her up with hope each morning.

I won’t keep that alarm on my phone forever. One day, the Holy Spirit will prompt me to set an alarm for someone else. And that time, it might be set for 8:00 a.m. or straight-up noon or 3:30 p.m., depending on who it’s for.

Think about someone in your life who could use your daily prayers.

  • Maybe it’s a friend battling cancer, who feels weakest in the morning.
  • Maybe it’s your husband who has his most stressful meetings after lunch.
  • Maybe it’s your child who has his or her toughest class sixth hour.
  • Maybe it’s your mom who suffers from insomnia.
  • Maybe it’s a missionary who teaches a bible class every Wednesday at 3:00.

Set an alarm on your phone for that specific time your loved one needs God’s help and strength, and let the person know about it. I let my friend know of my prayer alarm, not to earn kudos from her but to assure her of my daily prayers. She didn’t object to the time I chose, so I think I hit the mark.

Don’t get me wrong. God hears our prayers no matter when we pray, and His provision is right on-time, always.

But think about the last time you were going through something terribly hard. How encouraged would you have been if you knew someone was praying for you at just the time you needed it? Prayer isn’t just about talking to God; it’s also about encouraging the people for whom we’re praying. There’s such comfort in knowing someone’s standing in the gap for us.

Prayer is a powerful way to show you care, and sometimes, timing is everything.

Lord, keep my heart sensitive to the needs of those around me. Show me who needs my daily, timely prayers. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN

Who needs you to set a prayer alarm just for them? Leave a comment, and give me the privilege of praying for them, too.

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