can a retweet be a prayer? #digidisciple

This entry was originally posted over at  Please hop over and read the comments there too!

I’ll pray for you.

It’s so easy to say.  But do we actually go away and do it?  Or is it a reflex reaction to a confidence or a need?  Do we intend to do it and then go away and forget?  Or, if we analyse our motives properly, do we not really intend to at all?

Such thoughts can make us uncomfortable, or even indignant.  The very idea may make you feel heated.  That’s not true of me at all!

That may be the case, but I think many of us do fall into this trap of well-intentioned words.  And in a world buzzing with communication, these words are just as easy to type as they are to say – perhaps even easier.  Our circles have widened; we come across huge assortments of needs every day.  We all need prayer for the many things we do and encounter in our lives.  But do we make too many ‘prayer promises’ without genuinely praying, without feeling real compassion?  Does it become just about the right words?

It’s enough to make me squirm…

Yes, it most certainly is.  I’m right there with you.  A while back I posted on my blog asking the question: can a retweet be a prayer?  I queried whether simply clicking the retweet button really qualified as genuinely caring about the topic, or whether we were just going through the motions.  There was a varied response from readers – some felt that we should take more care; some felt that tweeting (or retweeting) about prayer could never be a bad thing.

I think a retweet can be a prayer – a genuine ‘amen’ to someone else’s words, but I want to be aware of the temptation to do it just to make myself look good.  More prayerful. A ‘good Christian’ – you know, that sort of thing.

You’re making me squirm again.

I’m making myself  squirm!  It can be so easy to do things because I think I should, or worse, to make it look like I care when actually my compassion tanks are running on empty.  A real prayer then would be a raw one – full of confession at my own emptiness.  I want to care.  I really do.  But sometimes I am lacking on the compassion front.  It’s easy then to click on a button rather than to cry out to the God of the Fatherless – O Lord, help!  

Here’s the thing that really bothers me.  If I pray on my blog, or if I pray in a Tweet, why am I doing it?  Is there a danger that something in me wants to write a prayer that’s retweetable?  Am I not really praying at all, but merely self promoting?  This seems a cultural equivalent to the scribes of Jesus’ time who liked to walk around in their trendy robes and pray loudly on street corners – see how well I pray!  Look how cool I am!

You’re coming across as very negative…

Well, I don’t mean to be.  I just want to do things for the right reasons.  I want to care.  I don’t want to fall into the trap of self-promotion rather than promoting the needs of others.  I want to let my prayers and my tweets, my ‘amens’ and my retweets be genuine.    Prayer is an amazing gift – a privilege to be able to converse with the creator of the universe, who cares about us – us!

I don’t want to waste it by talking to myself.

6 thoughts on “can a retweet be a prayer? #digidisciple

  1. Shahid Shahbaz Khan says:

    Very Interesting thought. I guess prayer is more and above than the modern techniques and facilities than our day and age provides. It the matter of ones heart and mind and soul and spirit than any other outward manifestation of our inward feelings. If someone believes in ones heart that God hears the prayer of a earnest heart…than that of tweet or retweet —- point for God.

    Thanks for your thoughts.


    • Lucy Mills says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, too. I think it is more to do with intent rather than the medium through which we express it…an earnest heart, as you say. It’s just that some of us prefer certain ‘mediums’ to others.


  2. Sara says:

    I believe a retweet can be prayer. I love the concept of the virtual prayer chain, the thoughts you are sending out as you click the retweet button. For even in that split second you are praying for the person In need. You then pass on that prayer to another who hopefully will to have that moment of prayer.

    I get frustrated so many times on the concept of prayer. The perspection that prayer is on your knees, quite time etc and yes of course times like that are needed, but for myself prayer is a constant state. The thanks I give God for the beautiful morning, the argument free school run and the coffee at Starbucks. Prayer rolls out of my heart while I’m driving, while I’m listening to a friends problems and yes while I’m on twitter.

    So yes a retweet for me is a moment I give in prayer for the person behind the tweet request.


  3. Joe Lenton says:

    Good points – it isn’t just what we do, it is also about why we do it – motive matters. Perhaps, though, there are also times when the discipline of keeping on praying, etc., is important too, even when our heart isn’t fully in it. If “re-tweet prayers” help us to maintain a discipline of intending to pray without ceasing, then even on the odd occasion when our heart isn’t fully behind it perhaps it still might have a useful role to play. Yes, heartfelt communication is always preferable; but perhaps half-hearted communication is sometimes better than none.


Comments welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.