My kids love to play Minecraft. I don't get it. It seems like a really dumb game with 1980's graphics. Minecraft has some kind of character called Creeper and there is a saying and even a song with the same title as this post. I am not a creeper fan, but I have been doing some creeping on my friends' Facebook pages.
Every year for the last 3 or 4 years, for Lent, rather than give something up (like my Catholic friends), I have added something. I have committed each year that during the period of Lent I would pray specifically for each of my Facebook friends.
Last year I did a bad job of being faithful with the commitment so I ended up praying for each friend on the last day. This year I wanted to do better and I did (a little). While the effort wasn't as focused as it was the first few years, I have prayed for several of my Facebook friends over the last few weeks, as they have come to mind. But with a week left before Easter, I still had many more to pray for.
Last night I went to bed with a bit of an upset stomach and this morning I woke up feeling the same. So I stayed home from church while my family went without me. I slept for a few hours this morning and even this afternoon. But in between sleeping, I worked my way through my entire list of Facebook friends and prayed for each one.
I prayed generically for everyone to be healthy physically, emotionally financially, and (most importantly) spiritually. I also prayed for some of the specific concerns that they had Inboxed me about. But I also spent some time "creeping" their Facebook profiles to see what they are up to and get ideas for how to pray for them.
I prayed for sick friends, their aging parents, and even their children who are sick. I prayed for sprained ankles, broken arms, broken toes, pneumonia, emergency surgeries, cancer diagnoses, cancer treatments, and life threatening trips to the ER.
I prayed for some who have struggled with drugs or alcoholism. I prayed for strengthening of marriages, healing of friendships, men to be better husbands and fathers, and women to be better wives and mothers. I prayed for teens to be able to stand even if they have to stand alone when faced with peer pressure and I prayed for them to be surrounded by friends who would stand strong with them.
I prayed for friends who have lost loved ones, friends who are expecting, and friends who have recently welcomed new humans to the planet. I prayed for a friend who blames herself because she stopped a friend to say "Hi" and then let him out of the parking lot before her only to see his life ended too soon when he was T-boned right in front of her.
I prayed for pastors and their spouses to be faithful ministers of the Gospel and for them to be encouraged when times get tough. I prayed for a friend who started doing Biggest Loser at work and lost 14 pounds in the first 2 weeks. I prayed for friends with new jobs, friends who need a job, and friends who are retired. I prayed for friends who are trying to raise the money to follow God's call on their life to become missionaries (shameless plug http://followingthefowlers.com/).
I prayed for young families, old families, teenage years families, college decisions, and empty nesters. I prayed for those who are single, married, divorced, in a relationship, and it's complicated.
In short, if you are my Facebook friend, I prayed for you today and maybe even a few times over this past Lent season. I'm not telling you all of this so that you can think that I am such a great guy, because I'm not. I don't want you to think that I am such an amazing spiritual person, because I'm not.
No. Why I am telling you this, and what I learned the most from this is that I need to be praying for my friends more than just this one time of the year. You all have way too much going on in your lives to only be prayed for during Lent. And besides... your needs don't just wait until this time of the year. You have needs, concerns, and struggles all year long.
So, I think this is the last time that I take up the Lent prayer commitment. Instead, I hope to commit to praying for my friends all year long. So, if you are reading this, and if you are my friend, and if you could use prayer, just give me a call or drop me a line and I'll be more than happy to pray for you (if you call, I'll even pray with you over the phone at that moment).
Oh, and one thing... would you pray for me?