Let’s read the parable of that Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14, “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

The hypocrisy of the Pharisee in this parable is apparent. He prayed “with himself”, he compared himself favorably against other people, and he boasted of his lifestyle and generosity. It is clear that his intention was to look good in front of any who might be watching him. The tax collector (publican) also prayed publicly, but he was humble in his actions and words before the Lord. While the Pharisee exalted himself, the tax collector humbled himself before the Lord.

We often find prayer requests on Facebook these days. Some ask for prayers for an ailing loved one, some may ask for prayers to help find a job, some may ask for prayers to help them discern the will of God for their lives, etc. To ask for prayers from others is not wrong. In fact we read where the Apostle Paul asked for prayers from others in his letters in 1 Thessalonians 5:25, 2 Thessalonians 3:1, and Hebrews 13:18. These were public requests for prayer from fellow believers, much like Facebook today. I imagine that some of the prayer requests you see on Facebook might be less than sincere. Perhaps some people might just be looking for attention. However, I prefer to err on the side of love and compassion, so when I read prayer requests on Facebook, I will pause and pray for the need that is stated. Often, I will continue to pray until I learn that the need is no longer there.

We learn in James 5:16 that “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” It is good to solicit the prayers of others when we feel we need them. 1 Corinthians 13:7 tells us that love, “Beareth all things, BELIEVETH ALL THINGS, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” I humbly suggest that when you read prayer requests on Facebook, that you believe the need is real and sincerely bring their need to God’s throne of grace. Hebrews 4:16 instructs us, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (275.6)