Are you praying about it or just posting about it?
I often ask myself this question. It’s something I struggle with. I’ll find myself on Facebook, scrolling through my newsfeed, and right in between a post about politics and a cat video is a prayer request. It’s just become second nature for me to comment and say “I’m praying for you!” then I continue scrolling on to the next funny meme. I forget about praying for them, I forget about what they might be going through and I am quite ashamed of it.
Social media has proven to be both good and bad in many different areas. On one hand, it allows us to connect with so much of the world and on the other, it disconnects us from the real people in our day to day lives. It can be used to encourage others or discourage others. It can be a tool to help you in life or it can consume your life.
Recently, I feel like it’s taken a toll on my life. Sometimes too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. It’s put a big wedge in my prayer life. When I’d rather be scrolling through Instagram, instead of spending time with God there is a big problem.
There are so many other, productive, more fun, edifying, life-giving, and interesting things I could be doing with my time; instead, I continue to allow myself to be completely captivated by my phone and all the posts flooding my newsfeeds. Opinions, pictures, places, food, the cutest outfits, the perfect couples, the best homes, anything and everything you can think of that people post on social media. It becomes addicting, and I have become lost in screens and digital reality.
Why does it seem that our WiFi connections are stronger than our human connections?
We see all these hashtags about praying and it seems as though every day there is a new trending prayer topic. Are we really praying though or are we just posting the hashtag on our twitter and calling it a day? Are we really taking the time out of our social media-driven lives to pray for the lives taken, and the families affected? I know I haven’t always stayed true to my word with this.
When someone asks for prayer in person I am much more likely to stop what I’m doing and pray for them. So why can’t I manage to do that when someone asks for prayer online? Maybe it’s because I’ve become so wrapped up in myself when I’m scrolling online. I see the post as just a post and continue to scroll. I don’t see the severity and the real human need for prayers, I just see a post. I don’t really reach out. I just do the obligated, bare-minimal, and post in a sea of “Praying for you” comments. The situation isn’t real to me, so sometimes I just nonchalantly brush it off. When in reality, if I say “I will pray for you” and then don’t, I just lied to myself and to the person asking for prayers. I forget that behind the screens and notifications is a real human asking for prayer and guidance. I’ve let social media desensitize me to the real human need for connections and community. But this stops today.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
I’ve made a choice to set aside time in my day specifically for prayer. Anytime I see something online about someone asking for prayer, I will write their names down in my prayer journal and I will pray for them. I will not be led astray or take lightly the importance of prayer anymore. I will continue to challenge myself to put down my phone and seek God’s guidance. If you have ever felt like I have, I hope it encourages you to do the same.