Technology has given a whole new meaning to prayer chains
1. Prayer is unitive!
People of many religions value prayer. Believers pray! When we request prayers on social media, we provide an opportunity for those on our friends list to unite in faith, whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or something else.
2. Asking for prayer is humbling.
This may ring truer to some than others, but requesting prayers — especially publicly — takes humility. A prayer request reveals that our lives aren’t perfect and we’re not perfect, that we don’t have all the answers and we need help.
3. Intercessory prayer allows others to feel useful.
The desire to feel needed and useful is fundamentally human. Watching a loved one struggle can produce genuine feelings of helplessness, frustration and inadequacy. Requesting prayer of others gives the gift of participation, a sense of community and purpose. When prayers are requested of me, I feel privileged to help in a way that’s tangible.
More to read: The Click to Pray app aims to unite the world in prayer
4. It can jumpstart a lagging prayer life.
Sadly, prayer can fall into the category of “I know I need to do this but I don’t.” We might not take our own intentions to prayer, but we will bow our heads or bend our knees for someone else. The desire to help and keep our prayer commitments often leads to an otherwise unsaid decade of the rosary or a pop-in to adoration, and the graces aren’t limited to those we are interceding for — we get them too! Sometimes the best way to be reminded we need to pray is just to pray — and frequent prayer for others can lead to our own regular devotions.
5. Asking for prayer can teach us how to respond to prayer requests.
It’s true you have to be humble to ask for prayer, but pride is far from the only deterrent. You might not ask for prayer because you don’t want to open yourself to all the “help” that comes from unsolicited advice. A prayer request is just that, full stop. It’s not a request for tips, invasive questions or speculations. Occasionally we may come across an intention we’re not comfortable praying for, but luckily we can just say “God, may your will be done for XX” and call it good.
6. We can encourage different types of prayer.
It’s not unusual to see a status thanking people for offered prayers or the report of an improved situation — but how many of us have actually requested prayers of thanksgiving? I know I haven’t. What an opportunity to help remind people that there’s more to prayer then just submitting our order!
“Private prayer is like straw scattered here and there: If you set it on fire it makes a lot of little flames. But gather these straws into a bundle and light them, and you get a mighty fire, rising like a column into the sky.” ~ St. John Vianney