I know that for people of all faiths prayer is an incredibly important part of life, not only for one’s own sense of connecting to God, but also in order to stay connected to the people around them. As social media gets further embedded in our everyday lives, this sense of who is “around” us is changing, offering an opportunity to expand our understanding and experience of community. Prayer has always been a means to cross-over bounds of geography, personal experience and other divisions in order to lift up a common hope that God’s love, hope, peace and joy will be made known and Social Media, when used well, can be a powerful means of further crossing those bounds.
Over the past few years on my Facebook page I have regularly called for people to lift up joys and struggles for the community to hold in prayer. I suspect that most folks who have responded don’t know each other personally and only share this common bond of one Facebook page and an open spirit to share prayers and pray for others. From global tragedies to deeply personal struggles, folks have gifted the community with the hopes and struggles of their lives. And by these actions, I have been deeply moved.
So in 2012, I thought I would try something a little different. While I will still occasionally offer a call to prayer, I am also inviting folks to join in on a year-long “Prayers of the People” Facebook journey. I have created a simple note of explanation, but am asking folks to offer their prayers of hope or struggle there, like other prayers so people know that others have heard and commit a very small part of one’s Facebook energy to stepping a little deeper into what it can mean to be a community gathered in prayer.
I hope you will join us.
Bruce Reyes-Chow is currently studying for a Doctor of Ministry degree at McCormick Theological Seminary and serve on the Boards of The Public Religion Research Institute and CA Faith for Equality. Follow him on his blog and on twitter @breyeschow.