It only lasted about 30 minutes. And here in America, it occurred in the middle of the night. So when Facebook went down briefly last week, it was not a highly significant event. Or was it?
During that down time, someone tweeted: "Hold me Twitter. Hold me close. Please get me through this." Hmm. Humorous yes, but also revealing. That person was experiencing a temporary void. And one that people seem determined these days to constantly keep filled with some form of social media.
Here is a novel idea. How about filling that void by visiting with the Lord? Just think for a moment what could happen if every Christian in America who uses Facebook would replace 30 minutes a day on Facebook with 30 minutes of prayer. Just imagine what it could mean for our churches, and for the spiritual revival which is so desperately needed today.
Facebook down, spirituality up. And I don't just mean any kind of spirituality. I mean the biblical kind. The spirituality that is deeply rooted in the cross, and flowing powerfully in the Holy Spirit. It involves a hunger for the Word, a passion for prayer, and a strong desire to serve others. You know, that kind of spirituality.
Only God can give us such an experience and the results that flow from it. Facebook can keep a person occupied, but only the Holy Spirit can fill our soul with power. In our nation today, there is such a tremendous need for God's power. Where are we to turn in our time of national crisis? To God of course. He holds the answers for all the problems we face. But are we willing to spend the time it will require to meet with the Lord?
"Hey, I talk to Him now and then." OK. But what if you were to talk to Him a lot today? And then a lot tomorrow. And what if it became a habit? You know, like the habit of going on Facebook. But in the case of prayer, you are seeking the Lord's face and His power. Do you see what I am getting at?
I know that Facebook was only down for 30 minutes, but it raises some encouraging possibilities. Each one of us could afford to spend 30 fewer minutes online everyday, and 30 more minutes in prayer to our Lord. And if we did, just imagine what God would do. After all, He has always responded to the prayers of His people. So why would He stop now? Especially since the current needs are so great, not only in America, but around the world.
The Lord said, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14) The Lord made it abundantly clear in that passage what He will do when His people seek His face. So 30 minutes less on Facebook can turn into 30 minutes more of seeking God's face. And the blessing of God will fall upon His people and upon this nation.
Your Facebook friends can help you with some of your problems, but none of them can do for you what God can do.
Sometimes it is only in the "down time" that we take time to look up. And when we do, we gain a renewed vision for prayer. It's not that God "needs" our prayers in order for Him to work on our behalf. Rather, it's that God has ordered things in such a way so as to attach miraculous answers to persistent prayer.
Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7) Sometimes we ask for something that will honor the Lord, but then we stop praying. We don't seek Him any more in prayer concerning the matter. And we don't continue knocking on heaven's door with our noble request. We stop praying. We give up. We move on to Facebook, or whatever other distraction appeals to us at the moment.
Meanwhile, the answer was being prepared to come to us from heaven. But we stopped praying after asking for it a few times. We didn't persevere in prayer. Is that halfhearted approach really supposed to convince God that we believe He will grant our request? God knows how strongly (or weakly) we believe He will hear and answer our prayers. He sees everything. And yet, He often waits to give us time to continue praying.
And when we don't persist in prayer, it's as though we are telling God, "I didn't think you really wanted to answer it anyway. I just thought I would give it a shot." Our prayer life demonstrates how much we truly believe that God answers prayer. The more we believe it, the more we will actually continue praying to our Father in heaven. Why wouldn't we? That is, if we truly believe His promises.
So do we?
Facebook down, spirituality up. We can replace the down time with prayer time. Or better yet, create your own down time everyday and turn it into prayer time. That approach will start to shake some things up. Just watch. You'll see.
In the vernacular of Facebook, I think you will "like" what you see God doing as you spend significant time everyday in prayer. And I know that the Lord will like it. After all, He created us to be in constant fellowship with Him. And anything which threatens that fellowship really does need to be brought down a notch, or two, or three.
So let's hear it for the 30 minutes Facebook was offline last week. Maybe there is something in that down time we can build on.