8/30/11

Prayer: Sending positive energy?

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It's not unusual for folks on FaceBook to post news of the difficulties, illness or passing of family members and friends.  We benefit from how quickly we learn of the needs, distress and grief of others and the opportunity to respond immediately.

What's catching my attention is how people respond.

Given the nature of FaceBook, my responses (on a public post) are usually brief, something along the lines of:

Sorry to hear things are so difficult: be assured of my prayers!
-or-
Be sure that John, all of you, and those caring for him are in my prayers!
-or-
My heart goes out to you in your loss...
Be sure that Mary is in my prayers as she passes from this life to God...

But I notice a variety of other kinds of response on these same posts:

Good thoughts coming your way!
-or-
Positive vibes for John and for his speedy return to health!
-or-
 Sending you a heartful of sympathy...

Am I mistaken or do such phrases belie a reluctance to offer prayers or to connect the moment's difficulties with the divine?

I don't write to be critical of what others are saying but simply wondering what's coming to speech here and what's behind it.

Is this a politically correct effort not to presume upon the faith of the original poster?  Is it an effort to support without invoking anything religious?  Are these writers folks who no longer believe in God or in prayer but who want to reach out (up?) into that sphere where something good might be had, might be wished, might be passed on?

Again, this isn't a critique - I'm just wondering aloud...

Have you noticed the same?

In fact, I even found a page for those who don't offer prayers on FaceBook!

How about you?

Do you offer your prayers to those in need - and articulate your desire to somehow bring this to the Lord?

In the same way...  When someone posts on FaceBook some news of a happy, joyful event, I often reply with the simple phrase, Praise God from whom all blessings flow!  Perhaps even more than in posts about bad news, I see that my faith-based statement sticks out even more, standing apart from other congratulatory phrasing.

And yet, something one often sees on FaceBook is the simple exclamation:  O.M.G.

Go figure!

And, what do you figure here?  How do you respond online to good news and bad news?  And what are your thoughts about promising prayer and praising God on FaceBook?


 

 
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8 comments:

Joanne said...

Very interesting post. I do leave posts that say I am praying for others. I think that a lot of people don't say they will pray for them, because they don't really pray consistently. Or they don't want to look like a "Holy Roller".

Fran said...

I am very open about saying things such as "I will keep you in my prayers" on Facebook. But you are right - there are a lot of those other types of phrases.

My own experience of blogging and FB has revealed to me a wide spectrum of people. There are some, otherwise kind, so vitriolic when faith is mentioned. I have had people respond in comments that I better NOT pray for them. I have had others write behind the scenes - many of them - who want to ask for prayers even though they do not really believe. But they don't want to be seen asking, as if it is shameful. (Although sometimes out of privacy, which is different.)

After a few skirmishes, I came up with this, "I offer you my every good thought, wish and prayer." I do wonder if I am going all milquetoast when I do that though...

I'm not pushing anyone on anything; I do think that prayer is important and I do not want to be ashamed to ever say that I pray.

Thanks for posting this - it is very thought provoking.

concord Carpenter said...

I tell people I will say a prayer for them, and then do it.

Anonymous said...

I don't facebook, but I do know that when talking to people that I am careful about what I say. The other day when someone was having a difficult time I said "we all have issues we have to deal with" and the person exclaimed "I am so glad that you did not say 'crosses to bear'." This person knows how deep my faith is but I also knew some how not to say that. It is funny, but I am more careful around people that I know well than people that I do not know in terms of my language, but regardless I do pray for them whether I say it or not.

Friend

Linda Reid said...

I see this all the time - I have a group of online friends of many (and no) faiths.(It is art that brings us together) When a request for prayers appears on the list, several send the "positive thoughts" as a gesture that they are thinking about the person. The rest of us are not hesitant to post "sending prayers" even though we know there are some non-prayer-ers on the list. We know that they respect our beliefs as we do theirs.
But Facebook is a bit different and I think many are hesitant to connect anything with religion for fear of being labeled.

michelle said...

In general,I guess I feel already and always DIFFERENT- and that I am not doing it "right" or the way others do it-

and on Facebook, this is no exception-
but I also somehow feel "safer" saying how I feel (mostly) and people can "like" it or not-
I do talk about prayer and God because this is very important to me and really is part of my whole life (work, personal, etc)- (and others don't necessarily know this)-
but I mostly just say this when talking about my own experiences- and then also for people, generally-
I tend to pray for individuals quietly and privately and do not tell them that I am doing it directly- at least on Facebook-
I guess I feel that this is okay, and respectful- and no matter what their personal beliefs, I believe that God knows all of that- and my praying couldn't hurt-

Anonymous said...

Facebook is another world and all the world belongs. There are many great Catholic groups, Thank God. I have no problem with God bless you, a thank God, I will remember you in my prayers, and every night I ask God to bless my computer friends in need. On Facebook I usually always post a little prayer. Be not ashame lest He be ashame. He's my love and am proud He is. Sometimes it's good to put prayer where it is empty and pray it gives pause to reflect. Thank you dear Pastor for all you do and God bless you always.

victor said...

i CANNOT IMAGIEN MY LIFE WITHOUT PRAYER.As a lonely shy child,I got
confidence and energy to study through mn prayers.I survived depressiosn,great challenges, losses,revolutios and so on.As a MD,
DEAFNESS STRUCK ME WHEN MY DAUGHTERS WERE AT SCHOOLMy God this is worse than death I used to complain.But it was a blessing in disguise,as I do research and life goe onGLRIA TIBI DOMINE