A few years ago a student came to me with a simple idea. “We should make a group on Facebook so people can share prayer requests during the week.” At the time, I thought it was a great plan that wouldn’t gain much traction. We’d tried groups for Bible studies and accountability and service projects and the one thing they had in common was they always fizzled out after a few weeks.
Five years later, and hundreds of prayers requests posted, the group continues to be one of the simplest ways for our group to connect during the week. The idea is very simple, create a closed group and invite your community to post prayer requests. As others see the requests and pray for them, they click the “like” button to indicate they’re praying.
There are a few things we’ve learned over the years.
The Group Should Be Closed
In order to allow as much sharing as possible, the group needs to be closed. It is still a public forum, but there is difference sharing online with people you see at church versus just posting for all the world to see.
Unlike our other youth group Facebook groups, where we ceremoniously remove graduating seniors, this group is made up of current and former students. It’s encouraging when juniors in college pray for junior high, and a good way to keep former students connected to our spiritual community.
Parents Can Join
Letting parents be in the group allows them to glimpse into the spiritual lives of teenagers. We’ve found it works well to let parent participate in praying for each other’s kids, and lets the students see there are perhaps more caring adults out there than they realize.
It’s (Usually) Self-Filtering
Those who’ve worked in church long enough know that “Prayer Chain” can often mean “Rumor Mill.” While there is a risk of spreading gossip, this method provides a couple of failsafes against that.
- The request comes straight from the person. The request isn’t passed through multiple people before it gets to you, you read it just as it was posted.
- The request reflects the comfort level. A student (or adult) will post however much information they feel comfortable sharing with the whole group. They can choose to be more vague if they wish, which lets youth leaders call and have a confidential conversation about what’s happening.
It Reminds You To Pray
Prayer is one of the unfortunate casualties of a busy schedule. Having a reliable source for prayer requests, and a steady stream of incoming ones, creates a natural reminder to constantly be in prayer and a list of requests to lift up. I know it’s helped me improve in my prayer life for my students and their families.
I’ve been amazed at how well this has worked, and very grateful to have yet another way to spiritually connect during the week. It takes very little time to set up, and pays big dividends. I suggest you set one up for your group.
Oh, and if you do, here’s a cover photo you can use to explain the group quickly and simply.