Facebook as a Vehicle of Prayer

March 1st, 2012

When I interviewed the pastor and a small group of lay leaders and staff at the United Methodist Temple in Beckley, W.V., I was thrilled to learn of a most unusual way that this congregation is finding new ways to pray.  It has been their desire to connect and continue praying for the young adults, both away at college and in the workforce, who grew up in the church. Many leaders had noticed that this group slowly disconnects from their church family.

KassiJo Farris, the current director of youth ministries, knew that these young people were well connected through cell phones and Facebook, so she created a group on her Facebook page and in her cell phone. The group of approximately 40 adult members of Temple who want to pray, share Scripture, and/or send words of encouragement to the other young adults "friend" KassiJo on Facebook, then go to her wall and enter a short prayer. KassiJo hits a single key and reaches the 40 young people in the friend group. She does the same with prayers that are sent to her by text on her cell phone. KassiJo has indicated that she has received affirming comments from the kids who’ve received, read, and prayed the prayers.

Mary Thomas, who is a big motivator of the prayer ministry at United Methodist Temple, tells me that each adult who commits to praying and sending the prayers is encouraged to send a minimum of one prayer a week. The adults are encouraged to pray Scripture prayers and write prayers that are not just focused on the college experience. The program began in mid-August 2011 about the time college classes began. So far, several adults have committed to supplying a month of prayers for the young adults. Mary will continue to recruit new folks to pray, and encourage those who want to take another month to reach out to the young people. 

As the Toward Vitality team interviews churches throughout this project, we learn from all of them the importance of an active and vital prayer life throughout the congregation. Prayer influences the way a congregation comes to sense God’s purpose, effects the way a congregation behaves together, and, as we see through the example of the United Methodist Temple, helps the church family to stay connected throughout different phases of life.

Check out other aspects of how churches change on the Toward Vitality Facebook page.

comments powered by Disqus