Thursday, September 26, 2013

Exploring Prayer on Facebook

Today I have been exploring the three most recent Facebook post on 3 different Facebook pages. (I have taken out last names or cities they live)

From the Prayer Warriors Prayer Group:

"Plz remeber me i have cancer it went frm 3.9 to 4.3 i love my lord jesus .amen"

"May I ask that you all pray for my sister . She has a bad nasty cold . Thank-you"

"Thank you for all your prayers for my husband,he will only have to go for dialysis for two days a week instead of three,I know if it's Gods will he will be healed completely.Thanks to all for your prayers."

From the Prayer Request Group:

"Please pray for Zoe (Lauren) who is in an **** hospital in an induced coma. She and her boyfriend were on a motorcycle that was hit by a truck and trailer rig. The boyfriend was killed in the accident. Zoe was my granddaughter (step) as my daughter was married to her father. So many are hurting, prayers for both families, please! In His name."

"Amazing Grace is the love language that God uses to speak to the world!
His grace is big enough to cover all of our sins. 
His grace is big enough to offer us a second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, etc. chance. 
His grace is big enough to provide salvation through a relationship with His Son. 
His grace is big enough to transform the life of a sinner like me! 
And it is only because of His Amazing Grace that we have an opportunity 
to spend eternity in Paradise with Him! Not because we deserve it...but because He loves us more than we can even imagine and His grace is bigger than our sins!"

"Please pray for Roy. Aggressive treatment is being planned to work on several growths that have been found in several places. Also his wife, Colleen, has an upper respiratory infection and wants prayers to be able to help him get through this. They live in ********, but Roy's heart has always been here in ***** where he was raised. Colleen is a descendant of the **** clan. Thank everyone."

From the Four Men Prayer Group:

They have had 3 uplifting pictures that are posted with quotes in them.

"My every beat of my heart be a song of praise to Thy glory, O Lord God!"

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart on your own intelligence do not rely in all your ways, be mindful of him, an dhe will make straight your paths" - Proverbs 3:5-6


In both the Prayer Warrior Prayer Group and the Prayer Request Group are similar in how they show their religion and how they ask for prayer.
Both groups are very personal in their messages and how they are phrasing the message to hit home and for people to pray for them.
Some of them are very short and sweet, so that they get right to the point across in what they need for pray. Others tell you the whole story so you can relate better to them and maybe be able to pray for them in a more personal way. In the Prayer Warrior page- that is a lady that talks about the blessing that has come form the prayers and I see that as being very powerful to showing how she is giving thanks to everyone and God in the blessings that have come to her and her family. In the Prayer Request Group the lady does not say a pray but a quote of some sort that reminds everyone that God is love and he is there for you. This is very impacting for people who are going through a tough time and a good remind to people on the page of why we are praying for everyone. She is showing her religion by show love and spreading the word of God's grace. She is searching out for the positive and even though most of the post on the page are sad and many people ask why things are happening, she reminds them God is good in what he does. 
All 6 users from the first two groups are all unique in their own ways! 
The first guy asking for prayer for cancer you can see that he is short and sweet and to the point. He is probably exhausted and that shows through how he worded his message. All he wants is to feel better. The women asking for prayer for her sister is also short and to the point. The rest of them are a little longer, some longer than others, but they become more personal, reaching out to people who want more of a personal back ground of how to pray for them.  
In the First two groups there were no pictures of anything, but strong personal messages that can paint a picture in your mind. The trust that they have to post on a site about personal things shows which each post. The belief that with prayer good will come is also a huge point that stands out. They have no fear to ask for other people that believe to pray for them. 

Now the Four Men Prayer Group is a different kind of page to follow. Most of the post are created by people that created the page. They are inspirational quotes and pictures or bible verses. I understood the first two post but the last one I was not sure of the last word they used. I looked it up Eucharist: is the holy communion that is taken, being apart of the last supper with Jesus. This is part of the Christian Faith so that gave me more of the clue of where they focused their page on. 
All of their pictures and the quotes that are with the pictures are very uplifting and trying to remind you to live your life in the right direction. There is no comments under the pictures so I am not sure how the people that follow the page think of the pictures but I see them as uplifting. 
The aim of them using these quotes and the pictures is a way to say there is a new day and God is here and keep going on even if it is tough. Life is hard and the power in uplifting words of encouragement can help someone get through the day. They want to be there for men who need to stay on the right path.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Reflection on 3 Post Written 3 on Facebook Pages

I am observing the interaction of prayer and the use of Facebook to request for prayer and the need to post on a public site. I have not changed anything from my last post that I posted. I am though, going to narrow down my observation, and not focus on "how" people request for prayer but more of why they do it on Facebook and the responses from others on that page.

The first group I have observed this week was "Prayer Warriors Prayer Group". One thing that stuck out to me right off the bat was that at the end of a post that someone has requested prayer for there is usually a "amen", "thank you...", "God is good", "God bless you...", or something along those lines. It is interesting to me because how they start off the post, it does not sound like a normal start to a prayer, but how they end it they end it in a traditional prayer ending. In someways I can see that they may not be speaking right to the group on the page but having a conversation with God and ending by saying "amen". Some people have an easier talking when they can write it out. This observation still does not answer the why do they post a such personal things, like I have cancer, my family is going through..., and other things that most people only talk to their closes friend about. A theory I have is that maybe they don't have someone close enough in person to talk to, but an open group that accept any post about prayer is easier to be able to open up about their personal life. Another interesting thing I have observed is that some post have more likes than a comment below it. Now maybe there is a social norm that I don't know about but most of their prayer request are quite sad and to see someone like is bad communicate. A like does not say they are going to pray for it and it could say they like the drama in your life. I feel if it is something as personal as needing a prayer I would take "likes" as being a lazy way of communication to something that can be so personal.

The "Prayer Request Group" has about the same observation that I talked about above for the other group. They as well do the "amen", "thank you", and "God bless". More likes than comments for peoples personal, heartbreaking prayer request. This Facebook group is also a lot larger than the one above. The "Prayer Warriors Prayer Group" has about 10 people that post quite a bit on the wall every week, but the "Prayer Request Group" has over two thousand members and has many post every week by different people.  But one thing that is different is that there is so many members on this Page but only a few post a day. All together in a week it adds up, but just this past day there has been 4. I just find that odd with over two thousand people on the page.

The last group "The Four Men Prayer Group" is completely different than the two above. The two above has many people posting on the wall asking for prayer and reaching out for others, but in the "Four Men Prayer Group", most of the post are from the group themselves and no one that I have seen so far has posted a request for prayer and few comments on the post that they do post. Now I am not sure of what personal messages that they may receive from their group but seems like a group that is for more of a read me and be done with me than an interacting group. This type of group can appeal to people, something that can get them through the day. Also this groups seems to be Catholic, many Pope pictures and quotes. I do not know much about the Catholic faith but maybe a take in message is something that is more normal for them. This group is also bigger than the first group I talked about, a little over a thousand people have liked this page.

All of these pages are trying to open up a prayer group for people to be in, but there is many limitations to the personal aspect of prayer. Many of these people do not live in the same state or city... If someone one was in dyer need all they could do is comment and say... "prayer coming your way", no help could really be given like in a traditional church community. Also the "likes" from a comment can be interpreted in different ways, that is something I will have to look more into but people could take it the wrong way. The function of traditional prayer is taken down to a few sentences on a page. The sacred message through a prayer is taken out in a way.

The primary message about religion that I have observed so far form these groups, is that if you post on a page and someone says they are going to prayer for you then the need will be met. The fulfillment that the poster needs in having someone say they will pray for them is filled and may be the only way they believe things will get done. They try to form come kinda of community by the person who created the group posting on their every now and then with an update for the group or saying rules that need to be respected on the group, so setting some kind of community in a scene with boundaries.

This will be an interesting to see unfold during the weeks to come.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Prayer Proposal

For a religious case study, I have chosen Facebook as my platform to focus on. As I look at Facebook I am wanting to observe how people request for prayer on Facebook. I have followed/liked 3 different pages that I will observe for the next 6 weeks. The three groups are called "The Four Men Prayer Group", "Prayer Request Group", and "Prayer Warriors Prayer Group". The reason I have chosen there 3 as my pages to study is because I saw them as all being different in a way but also being able to find similarities between the three as well. I really want to look into how people ask for prayer of Facebook. As a Facebooker I know I will post thing on Facebook more than actually saying them because I feel more comfortable being able to write it out and think every thing through before I "post" it.
I am hoping to be able to observe why people want to post their difficulties on Facebook and ask for prayer more than praising God. Prayer is more than just asking for help or listing what needs fixing, so I find this interesting in how people post prayers for themselves.
I feel that this is different than the usual prayer form that is in the church. By not going to church or asking your friends for prayer, you can open your heart out to a computer and ask people you know, or may not know to pray for your difficulties. 
Media has played a big part in making people more comfortable to be themselves and open up to complete strangers on the internet. Although prayer is not a dangerous thing to ask for or tell people about, it is still very personal. The personal part about a prayer is where I feel this study to become very interesting. I look forward in observing these groups and see what makes them so comfortable to open up their personal lives on a Facebook page.