Have you ever logged into your Facebook account and seen a post like this on your News Feed?

When I see posts like this, I wonder if the person who posted it is truly sincere… or if somewhere deep down they want to be the first person on Facebook to tell the world about the news.

There seems to be a fine line in our Christian culture sometimes between asking others to pray for people and gossip. With social media giving us the power to spread news faster than ever before, it’s a good idea to stop and consider just a few things before we post prayer requests on Facebook.

Does the whole family even know yet?
Can you think of a more shocking way to find out that something horrific has just happened to someone you love than reading it in your Facebook news feed?

Is there a better way I could share my sympathy?
Call them. Visit them. If you have no other way of reaching the person besides Facebook (which, let’s face it, that’s extremely rare), shoot them a private message.

Is there a good time to pray for them publicly?
Eventually, there’s a good chance from the immediate family will post something in the Facebook News Feed. I usually take that as a good time to show my public support.

Follow Stephen Sanders on Twitter @1stephensanders