In 2006, we had “pc4pc?” In 2013, it was “like for a tbh.” Now, in 2021, Facebook wants its users to “post for a prayer.”
Ok, maybe that’s not really what Facebook is saying. However, Facebook is encouraging its faith-oriented users to share their prayer requests on the social media platform.
The company is currently testing a new feature where users can ask for or respond to prayer requests. “Prayer posts” allows users to post their own prayers or click a “pray” button that lets others know they are praying over the request.
“Our mission to give people the power to build community extends to the world’s largest community: the faith community,” said Nona Jones, head of global faith partnerships for Facebook, to Religion News Service.
The new feature was inspired by the way many users relied on Facebook and other social media platforms to stay connected to one another throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to a spokesperson.
Facebook users made more group calls through Messenger, Facebook’s private messaging app, during the week of Easter and Passover than ever before, as seen in Facebook’s 2020 Year in Review. Additionally, spiritual or religious-affiliated Facebook pages hosted more Facebook Live broadcasts than years prior.
The disconnect caused by social distancing caused many families and organizations to reevaluate how they interacted with one another. Social media became the “unsung hero” of the crisis by allowing loved ones to stay as close as possible.
“As a local church pastor with my husband, I know very well how disruptive the last year has been for people of faith and the houses of worship that serve them,” said Jones. “This is why we are committed to finding ways to build the tools that help people connect to hope on Facebook.”
The new feature is currently still in the testing phase, and most users won’t see it for a while. Until then, you will just have to ask for prayer the old-fashioned way: at the end of your weekly small group meeting.