Seekers, members and visitors all share the same basic needs - they all have things that make them cry, things that make them pound the table in anger and things they long to complete before they die. As a Christian web master, we have the opportunity to connect with all of them on a very basic level and give them a place to voice their prayers.
As we begin to plan this feature for our sites, there are some general considerations we need to have:
- Anonymity - some people would like to remain anonymous, and we need respect that
- Accessibility - it should be available to everyone, just as it is in our services
- Privacy- not all details need to be disclosed (specifics about a surgical procedure, for example), and not all subjects of the prayers know the request is being made on their behalf. Submitters are also able to select the type of prayer for their request - private (ministerial staff, only), prayer chain (limited number of trained lay people), and public (offered during a church service)
- Discretion and Security- while most visitors and submitters will be discrete, there are those on the web that spam every form and deface web sites. Others miss the point of the request and only seek attention. If we allow anonymous submission, we need to decide how we will filter the requests.
- Notifications and Responding to Requests - once we receive a request, what do we do with it (besides pray)? Who sees it, how is it shared and what follow-up will there be? Many churches and organizations have prayer teams, prayer warriors or prayer partners. If this is a church site, then the pastors are another group that may receive requests for private prayers.
- The submitted prayer request is also a prayer, all on its own. Perhaps there is a need for teaching prayer, too. Even Jesus' disciples asked him to teach them to pray. Consider how you can extend the prayers back to the originator
There have been different approaches to adding a prayer module to a XOOPS site and the approach I find works the best at filling all the general requirements and is flexible enough for almost any situation, is the use of the Formulize module.