“You will get a miracle in 1 hour, say ‘Amen’.” That’s what’s written on the photo of a man who is made to look like Jesus Christ. The photo, along with a lengthy caption, has been making its rounds on the internet.
Many of us have encountered posts like this on the internet. Similar chain letter-style prayers have been sent through emails, private messages, SMS and other forms of communication over the years. There have been many versions, but the formula remains the same. They appear to have good intentions, asking Christians to pray for what they want, then pass the prayer to other people.
The question is, are these chain-letter prayers actually helping Christians or have they become misleading and dangerous?
They usually start out innocently enough. Like this one, the post starts with a solemn prayer.
“Almighty Father, creator of Heaven and earth and everything in between, we humbly come before you with thanksgiving in our hearts, asking for your never-ending mercy,” it reads.
Later, it starts to talk about worldly intentions such as “a new job, promotion, freedom from debt, rebuilding of our relationships with our spouses and friends.”
These appear to be the usual things that someone would pray for. However, the chain prayer usually ends with a promise and a call for action. This one says, “God is going to shift things around for you today and let things work in your favor. If you believe, share it.”
While Christians believe that prayer is our direct line to communicate with God, there is never any prayer that guarantees results. These chain prayers give the impression that our prayers will be answered simply by continuing the chain. The rules are also often very strict. For example, this one says, “DON’T BREAK THE RULES, SHARE TO 7 DIFFERENT GROUPS.”
Sometimes, these chain-prayers even have a threat in the end. If you don’t forward the prayer to a certain number of people, some misfortune may befall you and your loved ones. That’s when it becomes dangerous and misleading. That is not how prayers are supposed to work.
There are no rules and prayers are not answered based on how many people you can forward it to. While posting prayers can be inspirational, Christians must practice caution and choose wisely before spreading this kind of “chain” prayer. Let’s not forget what prayers really mean for us and pray from the heart instead.