Facebook has rolled out a new prayer request feature, a tool embraced by some religious leaders as a cutting-edge way to engage the faithful online.

The company has started testing this feature in December as part of an ongoing effort to support faith communities.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve seen many faith and spirituality communities using our services to connect, so we’re starting to explore new tools to support them,” said company spokesperson about this feature.

The feature is optional and must be turned on by an admin in the group’s settings for members to begin using.

Group members can request prayers in a post. People can see and respond by tapping the Pray button and then adding a comment or message to the requestor.

So the feature helps members can use it to rally prayer power for upcoming job interviews, illnesses, and other personal challenges big and small.

Facebook and other social media platforms continue to be tremendous tools to spread the Gospel of Christ and connect believers — especially during this pandemic,” he said. “While any tool can be misused, I support any effort like this that encourages people to turn to the one true God in our time of need.”

Adeel Zeb, a Muslim chaplain at The Claremont Colleges in California, also was upbeat.
“As long as these companies initiate proper precautions and protocols to ensure the safety of religiously marginalized communities, people of faith should jump on board supporting this vital initiative,” he said.

Under its data policy, Facebook uses the information it gathers in a variety of ways, including personalizing advertisements. But the company says advertisers are not able to use a person’s prayer posts to target ads.

Facebook began testing the prayer tool in the US in December as part of an ongoing effort to support faith communities during COVID-19

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