In one of the perhaps 4 times that my wife and I have been able to leave the house together since our son became seriously ill, we happened to run into a friend we used to attend church with. It had been a few years since we had spoken, yet she greeted us with, “Tell me how are things going with your son. We have heard so much about him from Facebook.”
I have to say that I reacted with quite the concoction of emotion. I first wondered why, knowing what was going on, she had neglected to visit, call, send a message, something to let us know that she was praying for us. Then it occurred to me, “Even though Facebook has been around for some time, perhaps people are not sure how to use it to enter into these situations with those of us who are struggling with life’s circumstances.”
Here, then, are tips that I have come up with to specifically address how to use Facebook to help offer care, support, and prayer for people who are ill or in need. If you think of any more, please feel free to contribute by adding your thoughts in the comments.
It has been a very long time since I last wrote an update on Tinsley. Let’s just say that for the most part things have been going swimmingly. Swimming being something that Tinsley cannot do until he no longer has a trach (although I am not sure how well he would do with that anyway).
Dr. Escobar, Tinsley’s developmental specialist, explained that it is as if he has been in a serious car accident and needs the extended period of time to recover. Tinsley definitely has some physical delays, which are common with babies with achondroplasia, but with his added medical complications he has a few more.
However, his brain is very sharp! Everyone comments on how intelligent he obviously is and how amazingly social he is. He is excelling beyond expectations in both of those areas. Tinsley has an amazing attention span (the envy of his mother) and even without language he tells us how he is feeling.
Sadly enough, the prayer life of the average Christian is not unlike this report from Onion Radio News. In this report a Christian loan shark prays for the strength to break thumbs. Let’s not even mention that a Christian loanshark should be a walking oxymoron, but the earnest prayer of a scoundrel of this sort, well it is as likely to be answered as any other.
Certainly a characterization of prayers that people actually offer (then there are those for the high school football team victory), prayer has become for many a payment in a vending machine. What has happened is that we have begun to have the em-PHA-sis on the wrong sy-LA-ble.
Christianity is about putting God first. We believe God’s ways are best, even if they do not meet our own desires. It is not only our duty, but it is an outpouring of the example and action of Christ himself: while we were yet sinners, Christ gave his life for us. God came to us, so God is first.
…thy will be done… (Matthew 6:10)
He to whom I bow only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring “Thou”…
And all men are idolators, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.
Take not, oh Lord, our literal sense.
Lord, into Thy great,
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.
Way back in 2006, the John Templeton Foundation published the results of its study on prayer and its effect on people who were suffering from major heart conditions and undergoing heart surgery. The study was double-blind and used a control group. Two groups were chosen, one of which were prayed for and the other which was not, but neither were told which group they were in. A third group served as a control were prayed for and told this.
After 2.4 million dollars invested from the Templeton Foundation and 2.3 million invested from the federal government, here are the results:
- More people (59%) in the control group suffered more complications than in the groups who did not know if they were being prayed for (51%).
- 18% of those in the uninformed prayer group suffered major complications (including heart attack) as compared to 13% in the group that did not receive prayers.
These results have precedent: the New York Times reports on a study done in 1997 studied 40 alcoholics in recovery. Those who were prayed for did worse than those who were not.