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NightSG

Matthew 6:5-6

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Well, after a few requests that folks not flood an ongoing breaking news post (with updates happening in the comments) on FB with posts of "prayers" (and worse: some actually type out their entire prayers in the posts) I finally gave up and posted the above Scripture, and now I'm being accused of "twisting the words of Christ to suit my preferences."

Now I don't claim to have always been innocent of that, but this particular passage seems exceptionally clear to me: keep your prayers between you and God through Christ, and don't announce them to everyone. Am I missing some other interpretation?

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1 minute ago, NightSG said:

Well, after a few requests that folks not flood an ongoing breaking news post (with updates happening in the comments) on FB with posts of "prayers" (and worse: some actually type out their entire prayers in the posts) I finally gave up and posted the above Scripture, and now I'm being accused of "twisting the words of Christ to suit my preferences."

Now I don't claim to have always been innocent of that, but this particular passage seems exceptionally clear to me: keep your prayers between you and God through Christ, and don't announce them to everyone. Am I missing some other interpretation?

I think you have an excellent point, and I would think that it has something more to do with the motivation (i.e. Zoramites and Pharisees who prayed to be seen of man). In the Book of Mormon the prophet Nephi had a tower in his backyard that he was praying privately to God in a public area. So much so, that people stopped and listened to him pray, which lead to his trial.

As far as I can tell, it appears to be centered around our motivations -- who are we truly worshiping (the praise of man or the praise of God)?

 

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21 minutes ago, NightSG said:

Well, after a few requests that folks not flood an ongoing breaking news post (with updates happening in the comments) on FB with posts of "prayers" (and worse: some actually type out their entire prayers in the posts) I finally gave up and posted the above Scripture, and now I'm being accused of "twisting the words of Christ to suit my preferences."

Now I don't claim to have always been innocent of that, but this particular passage seems exceptionally clear to me: keep your prayers between you and God through Christ, and don't announce them to everyone. Am I missing some other interpretation?

Yup.  I'm with @Anddenex.  It's about motivation.

We have prayers recorded in scripture.  They were made public.  Was the act of making public intended to garner admiration from the public?  Or was it simply sharing thoughts that happened to be invoked in prayer?

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1 hour ago, Mores said:

We have prayers recorded in scripture.  They were made public.  Was the act of making public intended to garner admiration from the public?  Or was it simply sharing thoughts that happened to be invoked in prayer?

But what could actually be shared by posting only "prayers" to a group of people almost certainly unconnected to the incident?  It's not even "hey, I'm praying for you" but "hey, random people, I'm praying for this other random person."

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8 minutes ago, NightSG said:

But what could actually be shared by posting only "prayers" to a group of people almost certainly unconnected to the incident?  It's not even "hey, I'm praying for you" but "hey, random people, I'm praying for this other random person."

I don't know.  I'm not the one judging them.  You are.  I'm not reading them. You are.

What I said was neither a justification nor a criticism of what a particular individual did in a particular situation.  It was a general statement about the question you initially posted.  Take it or not.  Apply it as you will or not.

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2 hours ago, NightSG said:

Well, after a few requests that folks not flood an ongoing breaking news post (with updates happening in the comments) on FB with posts of "prayers" (and worse: some actually type out their entire prayers in the posts) I finally gave up and posted the above Scripture, and now I'm being accused of "twisting the words of Christ to suit my preferences."

Now I don't claim to have always been innocent of that, but this particular passage seems exceptionally clear to me: keep your prayers between you and God through Christ, and don't announce them to everyone. Am I missing some other interpretation?

I agree with you. It smacks of being a matter of applying pressure to public figures—and who's more of a pubic figure than God?

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58 minutes ago, NightSG said:

But what could actually be shared by posting only "prayers" to a group of people almost certainly unconnected to the incident?  It's not even "hey, I'm praying for you" but "hey, random people, I'm praying for this other random person."

I haven't read the thread you are speaking of, but from what it sounds like your post is accurate; however, I don't know all the posters and some might be motivated like Nephi, and other might be motivated like the Zoramites. I think what you posted, the scripture, is an accurate post and one that people should think about when putting public prayers on Facebook. Again, what is the motivation -- praise of God or praise of man?

Another thought also, is how at times I will say online I am praying that the heart of "insert name" will be softened. Or, I am praying that my son will get better. Now, if I went to Facebook and said a prayer on Facebook about my son, well....I think your thoughts and scripture hit the core. How does this worship my God?

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2 hours ago, Anddenex said:

I haven't read the thread you are speaking of, but from what it sounds like your post is accurate; however, I don't know all the posters and some might be motivated like Nephi, and other might be motivated like the Zoramites.

 Here's part of one from a while back, and bear in mind I've blocked at least a couple dozen people who reply to every news item with "prayers."

received_2381476142090087.png

Now, imagine any major news item having 20-30 of these every hour for days, and trying to find actual information in the comments.

Edited by NightSG

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I would point out that there are different "kinds" of prayers.  There are personal prayers between and individual and G-d.  But there are other prayers.  For example there are opening prayers offered before starting a sacred meeting.  There are sacrament prayers.  Obviously some prayers are intended to be public and others are private.  I believe public prayers should not be private and private prayers should not be public.  

Which "type" are we talking about? and how do we differentiate between these two types.  I think it is simple.  If a person is representing themself before G-d - that is a private prayer that ought to be private.  If a person is representing others beyond themself (example - opening or closing prayer in sacrament meeting) then the prayer should be public.  I would say one other thing about public prayers (though it has already been addressed in this thread) - even public prayers should not be constructed to impress anyone but G-d; otherwise the prayer will have obtained its intended reward before it is considered by G-d.

After reading the preceding post - I thought to add something else from my opinion.  If I am praying for someone I would not make that public beyond the individual person for whom I pray (example: submitting a name for prayers at the temple).  Sometimes I think that if G-d does not reveal what is in such prayers to the individual - I do not think I should either.  But I see nothing wrong with indicating my prayers are with them - but I keep specific details private.  Usually when I submit a name for temple prayers - I do not tell anyone.  For me it is an pearl and swine kind of thing.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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2 hours ago, mikbone said:

C01B9D03-ADE2-4F75-AA62-ECE06E33BF68.thumb.jpeg.7d638d351132af62a37a7b497725d6a0.jpeg

Does anyone else find it odd that their catchphrase "Democracy Dies in Darkness" is a bunch of white letters in the midst of a black field?

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5 minutes ago, Traveler said:

I would point out that there are different "kinds" of prayers.  There are personal prayers between and individual and G-d.  But there are other prayers.  For example there are opening prayers offered before starting a sacred meeting.  There are sacrament prayers.  Obviously some prayers are intended to be public and others are private.  I believe public prayers should not be private and private prayers should not be public.  

Agreed; congregational prayer is a different item, so, have you ever had anyone stand up at the beginning of a meeting (Church or otherwise) say only "prayers" and then sit back down as if their mission was accomplished?  Or do they do their best to represent the shared intent of all present, so we can all say amen feeling that He received our message?

5 minutes ago, Traveler said:

Which "type" are we talking about? and how do we differentiate between these two types.  I think it is simple.  If a person is representing themself before G-d - that is a private prayer that ought to be private.  If a person is representing others beyond themself (example - opening or closing prayer in sacrament meeting) then the prayer should be public.

IMO, all FB announcements amount to is "Hey everybody, look how holy I am, praying over here!"

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20 minutes ago, NightSG said:

Now, imagine any major news item having 20-30 of these every hour for days, and trying to find actual information in the comments.

Well, I'd certainly find it quite tedious.  But I scarcely call it hypocritical based on that alone.  Keep in mind that very often, people simply say they're sending prayers as a replacement for "good luck" or similar well wishes.

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Just now, Mores said:

Well, I'd certainly find it quite tedious.  But I scarcely call it hypocritical based on that alone.  Keep in mind that very often, people simply say they're sending prayers as a replacement for "good luck" or similar well wishes.

But in every other context I'm familiar with, those people either say that to the victim(s) or to a person connected to them to be passed on to them.  These are replies to a news item, usually posted by some random staff member, and often about travelers who were only passing through the area on I-20, US281 or US377 anyway.

Really, it's like picking a random name from a different city's phone book and using a megaphone to announce to everybody within a couple blocks that you're praying for that guy; your odds of winning the lottery without buying a ticket are better than having that person find out you're praying for them.  (Trust me on this one; I've won something like $400 now on tickets people threw away because they didn't understand the game.)

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8 hours ago, NightSG said:

Now I don't claim to have always been innocent of that, but this particular passage seems exceptionally clear to me: keep your prayers between you and God through Christ, and don't announce them to everyone. Am I missing some other interpretation?

I've heard several other interpretations of this.  The most common is the "vivid hyperbole" interpretation, which claims that Jesus spoke in extreme language as a way of teaching us about the colossal gulf between the ways of God and the ways of humans.  The first example that comes to my mind is Luke 14:26: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple."  This is obviously not meant to be take literally.  Some believe that Jesus is teaching us to love God so fiercely and with such focused devotion that the ordinary human love we have for our parents will seem like hate in comparison.  Maybe the teaching on public displays of righteousness in Matthew 6 is following this pattern.  I don't know.

In any case, I belong to a Facebook group for my county sheriff's office, which is very good about posting breaking news about accidents, traffic jams, and even suicides that need public attention (because streets are closed or yellow police tape has sealed off large areas).  I'd say 75% of the comments are the "prayer" post, either the folded-hands icon or the word "prayer" spelled out.  Hundreds and hundreds of them flow like lava down the page and then harden, spacing out the realtime updates and making them harder to find, as you say.

It would be nice if Facebook had a "Like" button for prayer that could be simpy tallied up and displayed as a single number before the first comment.  I just Googled this, and someone actually proposed this feature three years ago.  Facebook's answer: "We'll keep your suggestion in mind as we continue to improve Facebook."     

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If course, FB could just catch up with software written before Zuckerberg was even born, and allow everyone to set up their own simple content filters, but that's been "in consideration" since it went live. 

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3 hours ago, NightSG said:

But in every other context I'm familiar with, those people either say that to the victim(s) or to a person connected to them to be passed on to them.  These are replies to a news item, usually posted by some random staff member, and often about travelers who were only passing through the area on I-20, US281 or US377 anyway.

Really, it's like picking a random name from a different city's phone book and using a megaphone to announce to everybody within a couple blocks that you're praying for that guy; your odds of winning the lottery without buying a ticket are better than having that person find out you're praying for them.  (Trust me on this one; I've won something like $400 now on tickets people threw away because they didn't understand the game.)

Sounds good.  Do you now understand why I said that I'm not the one who's judging them?  All I have is a screenshot without any context.  How am I supposed to know what's happening.

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8 hours ago, Mores said:

Sounds good.  Do you now understand why I said that I'm not the one who's judging them?  All I have is a screenshot without any context.  How am I supposed to know what's happening.

It's a daily phenomenon. Original posts range from car wrecks to found dogs and everything in between.  The latest was a head on between two 18 wheelers, both drivers died on impact, neither from this area.

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On 8/1/2019 at 9:22 AM, NightSG said:

Well, after a few requests that folks not flood an ongoing breaking news post (with updates happening in the comments) on FB with posts of "prayers" (and worse: some actually type out their entire prayers in the posts) I finally gave up and posted the above Scripture, and now I'm being accused of "twisting the words of Christ to suit my preferences."

Now I don't claim to have always been innocent of that, but this particular passage seems exceptionally clear to me: keep your prayers between you and God through Christ, and don't announce them to everyone. Am I missing some other interpretation?

Honestly, it is about intention. If you do it to be seen of men, then YOU go ahead and stop. But you can't magically mind-read another's intentions from an internet post, bub. The thought I had about others saying that was it is to generate hope and foster a feeling of unity and support in otherwise powerless situations. And for me it achieves that. Remember Alma 34:17. When you shoot down others for praying and sending thoughts because you're being judgmental, you're no better than someone like AOC who condemns it because she hates religion/thinking.

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