Social media can be a great tool for gathering a community in prayer. I know of no better way to quickly tap into the communion of saints on earth and dozens upon dozens of prayer warriors than by logging on and asking for friends to pray.
We all know the dangers of social media. It sucks time, distracts us from work and family time, keeps us from connecting to the person next to us in line…and yet, great good can come from intentional use of social media. I’m reminded of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who used the media–a typewriter–to spread the Gospel. We have, quite literally, at our fingertips the greatest too, of our time. If it isn’t smart phone or tablet, nearly every home has a computer. With a few quick taps, we can rally the prayers of friends and friends of friends quicker than we’d reach two people on the phone in a prayer chain.
About 3 months ago, I was very nearly ready to ditch social media. Instead of completely signing off, I switched Instagram to “private” and decreased my time on Facebook. One reason I remain on Facebook is because of the incredible potential for rallying prayer warriors. Brilliant saints before us have recognized the good in media for evangelization (think St. Maximillian Kolbe and St. John Paul II)…and following their example, I’m not giving up on social media. Nope, I’m using my time and my posts intentionally, and one way I’m choosing to do so is in asking for prayers, and praying for my friends when they request them.
I’ve seen the power of prayer. It is incredible. About a month ago, a friend in a women’s group on Facebook shared the devastating and terrifying news of a life-threatening condition affecting her and her unborn child. Next week, she will deliver this child by c-section, and then undergo a lengthy surgery which will hopefully save her life, but the recovery will be long and hard. Without sharing all the details, imagine this: because of social media, she was able to share with many people at once. Immediately, the other women in this group started posting to our personal FB pages, asking for prayers. And then suddenly there were hundreds of people lifting up a prayer for a mom in need.
This past week, another friend of mine found herself facing a parent’s worst nightmare. Again, within minutes, we had hundreds of people sharing, asking for prayers to surround her and her family. In *minutes*, the communion of saints calls upon our God to be present, to heal, to comfort, to rejoice.
It is beautiful, you know?
About eight months ago, a mom shared fears that she was losing a child to miscarriage…using FB as the tool, she begged friends to join her and her husband in prayer for this child. We prayed. We asked our friends to pray. Friend of friends prayed. Just before Christmas, her child was born.
Friends share losses, and we pray that they will be comforted. Friends share triumphs, and we rejoice and praise God together with them.
We *are* the communion of saints on earth! We have this incredible avenue for connecting with people all around the world, in seconds!
“The Internet can offer magnificent opportunities for evangelization if used with competence and a clear awareness of its strengths and weaknesses. Above all, by providing information and stirring interest it makes possible an initial encounter with the Christian message, especially among the young who increasingly turn to the world of cyberspace as a window on the world.” -Saint John Paul II
Social media offers us this great opportunity to pray with and for others. It is so simple, and yet so powerful. I read friend’s status updates asking for prayers, and offer a quick “Lord, help this person…” or “Thank you for the great news shared…” or “Lord, have mercy.” Sometimes I pray a “Hail Mary”, and other times I commit to a more intense prayer, like a 24-hour rosary chain or the Divine Mercy Chaplet at a certain time for a specific person’s need (or for the world, as has happened so many times recently with tragedies in our nation and abroad).
If you’re thinking of how to better spend your time with social media, try praying with and for your friends. And Moms, especially those with tweens and teens, what a great example to set for our kids who are entering into the wide world of the interwebs, when it can be so full of meanness and temptations. Set the bar. Set the example. Use social media *with* your kids to lift each other up and use it as a tool for good.