Tech Talk: Prayer and Social Media

I’ve been a regular at Eucharistic Adoration for just over two years, and it’s taken me this long to find a way to use the time as a prayer intercessor for others.

For too long, I’d gone to the Adoration Chapel with an agenda and a tote bag: a spiritual book (or three) to read, a rosary, a journal, and my iPad so I could pray Liturgy of the Hours. It was getting to the point where Adoration was another task to check off my list, a quiet hour to read a book I’d promised to review. Check, check, check.

Checking off tasks is not what Adoration is supposed to be about.

I’d been noticing for a while that my friend Allison Gingras would share on Facebook that she was heading to Adoration, and offer to pray for any special intentions people posted. I knew she wouldn’t mind if I adopted her idea, so I created a graphic with a photo from our Adoration Chapel and shared it on Facebook for the first time in late February.

adoration-today

The response was tremendous. Over 40 likes. Over 35 comments. And a whole host of messages with private intentions. And I wasn’t just hearing from Catholics. I filled 2 index cards, both sides, with intentions posted in under 3 hours.

People are hungry for that intercessory prayer. People carry secret burdens and don’t always know how to ask for help, or even prayer over their situation. It’s a comfort to know that someone else is holding them up in prayer.

I took those two index cards and my rosary to the chapel. I always pray the Franciscan Crown rosary, and it’s a good thing it has 7 decades, because at one bead per intention I needed all those prayers to cover my list, plus my family and one general prayer for any late-breaking intentions (I wasn’t checking Facebook in the chapel.)

Later that day I got an email from one of the deacons at our parish, who’s my friend on Facebook. He wanted to let me know that he and his wife were going to begin inviting their Facebook friends to share intentions, to be prayed for during their Adoration hour.

He also said that this is a great way to evangelize. I hadn’t thought about that, but it’s true. Originally I’d hesitated to mention on Facebook that I was going to Adoration–but this has shown me that it’s something needed and appreciated.

I created a rosary prayer intentions printable to use each week to list intentions: my own, as well as those of my friends on Facebook. It’s also a Franciscan Crown Rosary tutorial. Download this printable and set it up for your “intentional rosary.”

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz

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Of Prayer, Twitter and Red Minivans

Yesterday I was tagged in a tweet with an emergency prayer request.

twitter-prayer-request

After promising to pray that Emergency Novena for Christine’s friend, I messaged her to ask what color car her friend drives.

That may seem like a weird question, but I use visual prayer cues for special intentions. When I see a car that resembles one belonging to someone I know and love, that’s a reminder to me to pray for that person.

Christine told me that her friend drives a red minivan.

This morning at Mass, I remembered her friend in prayer, then resolved to turn off the radio on my way home and pray that day’s Emergency Novena.

After Mass, I got into my car, turned off the radio, and prepared to leave my parking space. The car in front of me moved away, revealing that the car parked in front of it was a red minivan.

A couple of miles later, I saw another one.

In your kindness, when you see a red minivan, say a special prayer for Christine’s friend. If you commit to doing this, I’m quite sure that God will make sure you see plenty of those cars.

intercessory-prayer-gets-behind-the-wheel
Photo copyright 2016 Lisa M. Hendey. Title added by author. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

…at least, I hope it turns out to be that way.

Today TheDad and I will return to Philadelphia for his 1-year cancer checkup. He has 3 appointments:  an X-ray, a CAT scan and a meeting with the surgeon. (No, there’s no surgery on the agenda at the moment, but we both thought that the surgeon was a better choice for our follow-ups, just in terms of personality and ability and willingness to explain things clearly.)

 

My pocket Rosary is ready to go; it will keep me company while I am waiting. Even if I’m too distracted to pray, there is great comfort in holding this Rosary, made (and prayed) by a caring friend, in running my finger over each knot that represents so much, in gripping the cord tightly in my fist.

Please pray for us as we wait, as we attempt to keep the balance between hope and dread.

Before there were Blogs

Before there were blogs, I had a cyber-lifeline. It was a group of moms on an AOL bulletin board. All of us stayed at home with our very young children. I think I found this board when Big Brother was a toddler.

At the time, we lived in a neighborhood that was primarily retired military. They were great neighbors; there was always someone at home (and out in their yards) during the day–but there was no one for Big Brother to play with and no moms for me to chat with.

That’s where the SAHMs came in–the Stay At Home Moms from the AOL bulletin boards. We had our own little meeting spot where we could stop in at any time and post a message; in no time at all, it seemed, someone would leave a comment for us.

We encouraged each other through births of children, infertility, deaths of parents, job losses, military deployments, potty training, temper tantrums, food allergies and health crises. And when we gradually moved away from AOL, we took our core group with us and formed an email list. That petered out after a while, but then along came Facebook–and magically, we’re all back in touch again.

Now it’s time to support one of our number, as we’ve just learned (via Facebook) that one of the SAHMs has suddenly lost her 20-year-old son. He was a college student, and an intelligent young man of many talents and great promise.

I request the kindness of your prayers for the repose of Mark’s soul, and for his parents and two brothers and many friends and relatives who mourn his loss.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. And may those he left behind be comforted.

It Still Ain’t Over

Since I’m still experiencing a fair amount of discomfort after Saturday’s horrible backache worked its way to diffuse lower abdominal pain and hung around all of Sunday and today, I went to the doctor today. After waiting 45 minutes to be seen (good thing I had a Kindle to keep myself entertained!) the doctor ordered blood work and a stat CAT scan.

That will be tomorrow’s fun (the CAT scan.) Got the blood drawn right then and there. I had an abdominal ultrasound a month ago, following up on this summer’s procedure, but I’d never heard the results from the gynecologist (even after I called last week to ask about them). My internist thinks that this very well could be related, and went after those ultrasound results herself. Then she called me at home to tell me she’d gotten them and that, yes, the cyst is back and almost as big as it was late last spring. I’ll know more after the CAT scan, I’m guessing.

Meanwhile, my mother is armchair-quarterbacking the doctor who did not remove my ovaries when I had the hysterectomy in January–even though she (a hysterectomy patient herself) knows exactly why they don’t routinely do that. I should be working right now, but I’m not in the mood. At the moment, I’m thinking that Haagen-Dasz is a better idea.

Welcome to my pity party. In the scheme of things, I’m lucky that this is all the problems I am having. But I’m asking for your prayers anyway!

It Ain’t Over

…till it’s over.

This morning I’m heading to the hospital for an outpatient procedure to drain a large cyst that has developed on (or near) my left ovary. Apparently it’s the size of a softball.

The doctor hopes that one it’s drained it will be done and I won’t have to worry about it anymore. There will be ultrasound followups periodically, and if the cyst returns I will have to have it surgically removed.

This all should be easy, but prayers will be appreciated!

UPDATE: Thank you! 1/2 liter of fluid (that’s a water bottle, folks) has been removed. I can no longer feel a lump in my abdomen. I’m sleepy, but definitely happy to be home and grateful for the prayers and my comfy couch.

Prayer Request

…for my dad! He had a fainting spell in church today. He was taken to the hospital and has had a few tests, as he’s had a pacemaker since 1983. So far, everything shows that he’s fine. It might be a touch of Whatever Virus is Going Around. The doctor says if all the rest of the tests come up negative (which really is a positive thing) then he can be discharged in the morning.

I can’t get there today: I’m over 2 hours away from there and flying solo this afternoon, so no one to chauffeur my kids who aren’t at home at the moment. So I’m kind of feeling helpless.

UPDATE: they finally got him set up with a phone so I got to chat with my dad for a few minutes this evening. All indications at this point are that he has some kind of stomach-flu thing. He’s on IV fluids and is not feeling well, but he’s angry that he has to miss his class tomorrow (he’s a college prof) and cranky because he can’t be home. I made the strategic error of opining that if he’s got a stomach flu, he’s better where he is so he can stay on the IV and stay hydrated. He was not happy to hear my thoughts on that matter. My guess is, since he’s moved from freaked out to cranky, it’s not serious. Thank God!

Tsunami heads for Hawaii

I just read that Hawaii is under a Tsunami warning. The first wave is expected to reach Hawaii in about 7 hours (4 PM EST).

Please join me in praying for the safety of my blog-buddies Esther and Sarah, and their families and friends, and all in the path of this Tsunami.

UPDATE:  Denise has family members currently in the earthquake zone in Chile.  They’re safe, but there are an awful lot of people who are injured and homeless now.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for them.