Social media, gateway to prayer?January 16, 2018
The thread on her Twitter feed read:
1/ I’m going to get vulnerable here for a sec.
2/ Watching my mom suffer alone for the past ten years with horrible illnesses is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. She’s suffered so much, and I spend hours of every day wishing I could make it better and praying. I don’t know what else to do. I love her so much.
3/ She raised my brother and I all on her own. I feel so helpless because I can’t do anything to make it better. For years I have prayed for some sort of relief. But she’s a fighter, and she shows me that every day.
4/ I’m going to be honest here. I don’t even know how to pray for this situation anymore. My heart screams for the mercies of Jesus. I remember the story of Job.
But I still don’t understand. I still feel crushed and overwhelmed.
5/ I’m trying to go to law school and live out my dream. I know I make her proud every day, even in my failings and shortcomings.
6/ I remember the words of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the book of Daniel.
“…but if not.”
I know the Lord is faithful. I know He is always good. I trust in him and continue to wait.
7/ But I would appreciate prayers for my family right now. Prayers for hope, love, grace, peace, understanding, wisdom, and mercy.
God is good even when I don’t understand.
8/ Thank you for reading this and for your prayers. We really appreciate them.
I felt strange “liking” it but there’s not a “feeling your pain” response on Twitter.
I replied to the Tweet requesting prayer and then I prayed.
I also watched and waited.
This young accomplished woman has far more followers on Twitter than I have. She has tens of thousands of “likes” – but seemingly no one was seeing this particular thread. Maybe followers were silently praying or just didn’t feel comfortable “liking” such open vulnerability. Or maybe, if they were seeing it, they were saying to themselves, “This is Twitter. This the platform where news and religion and politics collide. It’s not a place where you get vulnerable. Ever.”
But Twitter, along with all the other platforms, is SOCIAL media. It is designed for interaction. It could be a digital agora for ministry if we would allow for such vulnerability.
So, I thought I’d reach out through Twitter’s more personal means: the Direct Message.
I sent her a DM: …my little family is weeping with you as you weep. Your pain is felt. Your cries are heard. You and your family are not alone – the family of God lifts you before the Lord who alone can comfort and heal. We are praying for your mom’s pain to go away and for the source of the pain to be resolved/healed. We are praying for the peace which passes all understanding to flood into your heart and mind and those deep places down in your gut where your muscles hurt from crying so much. We are praying for you to physically feel the God who is there and is not silent – the God who knit you together in your mother’s womb, the God who called you by name and went to hell and back in order that you could have unfettered access to make the desires of your heart known to Him. We are praying with you and we are praying for you – precious sister in Christ. Know that you are heard and you are upheld in prayer this night. – Carmen
Almost immediately she replied.
Is her problem resolved? Partly. She knows she is not alone in her grief. She knows she’s been heard and that there is at least one other person knocking on heaven’s door for her mom.
I do not pretend to know what God is doing in all this, but I know what God is doing in me. I was provoked to pray not only for this Twitter acquaintance but to pray for another friend whose mom is also chronically ill. Then I was provoked to pray for my friend whose mom has been burdened for years in a marriage to an unhappy, demanding, unkind man. I was provoked to pray for my mom – so grateful am I to God for her. Which led me to pray with thanksgiving for my mom’s mom, Rhobenia Ringwald Benefiel. I am who I am in so many ways because of who she was. These prayers led to prayers for others the Lord brought to mind. A door opened by a Tweet.
How social is your social media feed?
What if you saw it as a way to feed your prayer life instead of just stoking the fires of hot debate?
Someone in your social media feed right now needs prayer. They need to know they are not alone in their pain and suffering. They need to know that they are known beyond the follow and the like. They need a direct message – and right now, you’re the ambassador God’s got positioned as His go-between. You’re the mutual friend. Make the connection.