Growing Closer to God Through Facebook Prayer

by Paul on January 28, 2010

Prayer is a critical element of ministry and of movements.  Whether you minister – paid or unpaid – online or offline, you need a net work of people who pray for you regularly.  You need their prayers to help you resist temptation.  You need their prayers to help you grow in your relationship with God.  You need their prayers to help you proclaim and live the Gospel boldly and with grace.

But, just as important, prayer must be part of your life as well.  You need to have a relationship with God.  Prayer isn’t an animistic process of saying the right words to get what we want from God.  Instead, prayer is conversation and knowing God better is the goal of prayer.

I’ve talked before about how we can get to know God better by engaging the lost. In the last few weeks God has taught me something new – we can get to know God better by praying for others.

Facebook makes praying for others simpler than ever.  Here’s how:

  1. Open your Facebook account.
  2. See the menu item at the top that says, “Friends?”  Click on it.  You should see a list of all the people you friended on Facebook.
  3. Click on the first name.
  4. When their profile opens, you’ll see a link under their profile picture that says, “Send (your friend’s name) a message.”  Click on that link.  An email-style window will open.
  5. Write something in the subject line.  I wrote ‘Prayer.’
  6. In the message box,   write a short note.  I try to open with a couple of sentences that are completely relational and customized to that person.  (Sometimes, I don’t know much about the person – I met them in passing at a conference or something.  That’s ok.  If you can’t write anything personal, jump to the next step.)
  7. Write a couple of sentences that explain that you are going through your friends list on Facebook and praying for them.  Ask them if they have anything personally, or with their family, that they want to you pray for.
  8. Sign off the way you normally end email.

Here is an example:

Hey (Name of Friend)!

I hope all is well with you and your family! How was your Christmas? How are things with your ministry?

I’m going through my Facebook friends list and taking some time to pray for each of my friends. Is there anything you’d like me to pray about specifically, for you and your family, this week?

Hope you have a great day!
-Paul.

Here is a slightly different example:

Hey (Name of Friend)!

I love the profile pic! If my math is right, we met about 15 years ago! Crazy!

I’m going through my Facebook friends list and taking some time to pray for each of my friends. Is there anything you’d like me to pray about specifically, for you and your family, this week?

Hope you have a great day!
-Paul.

As you can see, these notes aren’t fancy.  What’s important is that you cared enough to write someone a note.  That you care enough about them to pray for them.

I’m about a third of the way through my Facebook friend’s list.  Over 50% of the people I write return my message.  Sometimes the prayers are very generic, “Pray for God’s guidance.”  Sometimes they are heartbreaking, “A friend of mine’s kid was just diagnosed with leukemia.” or, “I was fired today.”  I’ve never had anyone get mad at me for writing.  I write my Christian friends and my non-Christian friends.  I write friends I see at church and I write friends I haven’t seen since high-school.

Even if I spent only a minute in prayer for each request – often it is more – I would have spent over 100 minutes praying for my friends in the last two weeks.  That’s over 100 more minutes I spent with God than I did the previous weeks.  I talk with God about my friends.  I pray for their requests and more.  In the process, I draw closer to Him.  He helps me understand my need for His grace and love.  He gives me compassion.  Sometime I weep, because I know He is weeping.  And I remember how much He loves all of us, how much He deeply cares for everything that goes on in our lives – whether we choose to follow Him or not.

Oh, yeah, write them back.  Just a quick sentence to let them know that you prayed for them.  It means a lot.

It takes me an hour and a half to write 35 friends.  If I don’t have the time that day, I shorten my list.  Adjust the process to match your lifestyle.

I’ve found out that there are several benefits in praying this way:

  1. Some will offer to pray for you.
  2. The people in your friends list become real.  They aren’t social media notches or random profile pics.
  3. I feel God’s love and compassion like I’ve never felt it before.
  4. I know that I please God because I care enough about people to pray for them.

Well, that’s it.  Nothing earth-shattering, really.  If you’d like me to pray for you, friend me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pauldwatson.  I would be honored.

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January 29, 2010 at 3:48 pm
Ways Social Media has been used for the Good of Others | Media Outreach
July 6, 2010 at 8:50 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Phil Miglioratti February 2, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Thanks for the heads-up!

Posted & linked @ http://philsblog.net/

Phil

Stephen M Young II February 12, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Great blog entry, Paul. Can I share this idea on my blog and put a link back to yours?

This idea would also work well with a slight adjustment for email contacts, cell phone contacts, the little directory by your kitchen phone where you write down telephone numbers of friends and relatives, other social networking sites like Orkut, Ning, etc.

I like it a lot. This and the little gem from M Guy's blog about using the newspaper as your prayer list. Love it.

Paul February 12, 2010 at 11:02 am

Thanks, Stephen! Sure, go right ahead!
-Paul.

Odessa July 1, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Thank you. I will definitely do this today.

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