Since joining Facebook in 2009, not only has my community of friends expanded but my awareness of the struggles and suffering of others has as well. Every day my Facebook newsfeed is filled with posts about illness, accidents and death. As someone who struggles with sometimes crippling anxiety, this aspect of social media nearly drove me away from it. However, the ability to connect or stay connected along with an awareness that there is clearly more good than sad on social media, caused me to seek guidance from the Holy Spirit, instead of leaving. I desired to find a positive and productive way to deal with the barrage of difficult news sprinkled among the smiling wedding, special birthday and silly squirrel pictures.
Praying Your Newsfeed
What emerged was a movement of the heart to pray for others. Now, as I peruse social media instead of allowing worry to overcome me. I do what I call “Praying Your Newsfeed,” a concept I introduced along with other uses for Pinterest on Catholicmom.com in a 2014 Tech Talk. The practice consists of simultaneously praying for the person and their intentions as you read through your social media posts. That simple activity not only reduces my anxiety but also helps me justify many hours spent on social media (half kidding with that last part).
Find out more about praying your newsfeed from my 2014 BLINK from CatholicTV:
[tweet "Evangelizing by offering to pray for others: @reconciledtoyou's #prayer ministry"]
Requesting Prayers via Social Media
In addition, I felt the need to be proactive in seeking the prayer intentions of my new community. I began by posting a simple message, “Can I pray for you?” I was amazed with the considerable number of requests I received. After a few weeks, I decided to add, “Going to Eucharistic Adoration today. Can I pray for you?” I saw this amazing opportunity to share a bit about a special aspect of my Catholic faith that is so dear to me. What a beautiful opportunity to catechize with a very authentic request for prayer. Over 3 years later, I continue this prayer ministry. An unexpected and incredibly humbling phenomenon has been how many others have followed suit – now posting their own requests for prayer intentions. As a good friend of mine always says, “prayer is not the least you can do, but the most you can do.”
So, I am going to Eucharistic Adoration this week. Can I pray for you?
Copyright 2017 Allison Gingras
About the Author
Allison Gingras created the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV), including "The Gift of Invitation" and "Seeking Peace: A Spiritual Journey from Worry to Trust." Her ministry focuses on the grace of prayer, Scripture, and sacrament. Allison is the national WINE Steward for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization and hosts A Seeking Heart podcast.