8 Steps To Make The Most Out Of Your Prayer Request Responses
Should you have a thoughtful plan in place for responding to prayer requests on social media? Yes! Your response they receive can either encourage their next step or discourage further contact. Below you’ll find a thoughtful process you can start using TODAY on the next prayer request you receive. Make the most of these opportunities for more personalized, immediate conversations by responding warmly and with intention. By doing so, you can help someone feel heard and open up paths for them to grow in their faith.
Why does it matter how I respond to a prayer request?
First impressions can make or break potential relationships with people. Imagine you’re struggling. You’re scrolling through your Facebook feed when you see a post inviting you to share your struggle so someone can pray for you. You take a breath, type out what’s been going on in your life, and hit send. And you get this response back:
Thank you for your prayer request. A pastor will reach out to you over the next few days. If you’d like to speak to someone sooner, you can call the church office at….
Feel that letdown? Not really what you’d expect after sharing a part of yourself.
Prayer request responses matter because there’s someone on the other side of the screen hoping that they matter to someone else. You and I both know that you care! By taking these steps, you can be better prepared to help others.
Bonus: you can share these steps with staff and volunteers with a heart and gift for prayer.
Step 1: Use their name and tag them in your response.
This both personalizes your message and shows the algorithm this is a high-value conversation and benefits the account.
By using their name, you’re offering a verbal connection and recognition of them as a unique individual as you seek to begin a relationship between them and the wider church community.
Facebook prompts you to tag individuals when you respond to them. Follow their prompt and do it!
Step 2: Empathize with their problem.
React and respond with empathy, just as if that person was standing before you. Acknowledge their pain or concern.
Talking with someone in person, you can quickly see and respond appropriately. When it’s text on a screen, there are multiple layers of disconnect to overcome. No visual of their face, no audio to detect the tone of their voice, and any emotion.
The good news is, you can thoughtfully overcome this by taking a moment to express concern or sorrow for the difficulty of the situation they are dealing with.
Step 3: Ask questions when appropriate.
Allow them the opportunity to share if they are comfortable doing so. If nothing else, asking questions shows you care and you are engaged.
You’ll be able to better gauge what questions you ask as you interact with more people. This can range anywhere from asking where their sick mother lives to the name of their child struggling with addiction.
You may also uncover additional insights on how your church can minister to them beyond this initial prayer request.
Step 4: Find something positive/encouraging to say.
We are a people of the hope, love, and light of Christ. Through kind words and scripture, you can give them something positive to reflect on and remember.
“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” (Prov. 12:25).
Step 5: Pray with them right there in the chat.
Type it out. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. It just needs to be authentic.
In the past, prayer requests would have gone directly to pastors or other ministry leaders. With social media, due to time and technology, these requests may come to anyone from a communications director to a volunteer.
The great thing is, ANYONE can pray! Type out the words on your heart, as if that person was with you in-person.
Note: notice if the person uses “church-y” language. If they do, you can too! If not, then do be mindful of the words you use. God knows what’s on your heart – however, it will mean more to the person you’re praying over if you translate to layman’s terms. To put it another way, more Message translation, less KJV.
Step 6: Guide them to a potential next step.
Every person will have a different small step forward, depending on the nature of the conversation. When appropriate, ask them if they’d like one of the pastors to follow up with them (and if so, get their contact info). If they express interest in attending or viewing an upcoming service, share a page link with them for more information.
Not everyone will want to take a step right away. For some, just asking for prayer is a big step. That’s why the two final steps keep everything going.
Step 7: Log info into a shared tracking system.
No matter the size of your church, you likely have a long to-do list, along with urgent and important requests that pop up throughout your day.
That person who requested prayer still matters. Note their name, the date, and any relevant information for future reference.
Whether you use a spreadsheet or keep everything in a ChMS, keeping track of people can help your church be intentional about follow-up.
Step 8: Follow up afterward.
Set a schedule for follow up messages. If you have a team of people that respond, make sure everyone knows what that schedule is and sticks to it. You may choose a particular day of the week (ex: send a message on Thursday with an invitation to weekend worship services) or a set number of days after the last message.
If you’re handling these requests manually, that message should mention their initial prayer request. If you’re using a follow-up tool like Text In Church, see if they’re in the workflow before sending a message to minimize confusion on their end.
Want to level up on your guest follow-up? Check out more posts here!
Keep the steps in mind, and keep praying!
Social media provides an opportunity for social ministry. By following these 8 steps, you’ll be able to start conversations, show people you care, and thoughtfully walk with them as they allow.