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Unplugged and Then Connecting

February 6, 2010

James 5:13-16:  Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (King James Version)

The other day I took the decision to spend the day unplugged from my laptop and my mobile phone.  A complete day without turning on my computer or my iPhone.  This is a massive decision as on a typical day I am basically connected all day starting at 5.20am and finishing late at night: constantly aware of my inboxes, readily distracted and experiencing what Linda Stone calls, ‘continuous partial attention’.

And I know this isn’t healthy so every few weeks I spend the day unplugged.  And when I do, something quite incredible happens:  I pray way more.  I spend way more time reflecting and thinking. I read more.  It is like being so connected to the internet reduces my ability to think, to pray, to reflect and when I take the internet away the thinking, praying and reflecting just flows out of me.

But I know the internet is a powerful tool, a new way of encouraging people into a deeper relationship with God.  Just look at what has happened with my Praying People page on Facebook.  Started 8 months ago it now has more than 55,000 members who commit to praying for and seeking prayer from each other.  My aim was to create a community, a space where prayer and support could happen, and that is exactly what is happening praise God!  There is now a growing team of prayer warriers who commit to intentionally praying for those who post prayers on the wall.  All glory to God!

But I recognise that I need to take breaks from being online and free the brain to reflect to read, and to pray way more.  This awesome reading in James clearly states the utter importance of prayer, and shows that if I am struggling or happy or sick.. I need to turn to God and pray.  And being unplugged makes that a much easier.

So I want to encourage you to consider making a regular time to unplug.  Will you join me?

God bless ya!

Mark

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38 Comments
  1. tammy permalink

    AMEN Brother!! I agree I try to take a day a week to spend with the Beloved

    it is a way to become closer and do what he wants instead of what I want !!

    it is a day to reconnect as with all relationships we need to do that after a long week…

    your work is amazing!! it is refreshing to read and wonderful to see the response you are getting from all age groups

    the Beloved is using you in such a wonderful way

    peace on you journey

    Tammy

  2. M.C. permalink

    This is great! I found the same thing. I fasted from Facebook for 1 week. I was just curious. Well I did spend more time on other things-important things. Now, I commit one day a week to no social site visits. I still job hunt on line so I still use my computer but not for anything but job hunting. It’s a blessing to disconnect from distractions.

  3. Cynthia permalink

    I had to do that with farmville.

  4. Joyce Morris permalink

    I appreciate the way yo share from your innermost being, honestly baring your soul. Too many superficial “I`m up here and you`re down there folks out there already. You are a breath of fresh air. I also find my computer takes more time from my quit time and want to change that. Pray for me as these tools of ministry can become addictive and over take us. Blessings upon you and yours!!

  5. Aryn permalink

    That’s an excellent idea. I used to give up social networking sites for lent each year but then stopped because I thought it wasn’t doing much for God. But my faith wasn’t as strong back then. Now I realize it can help me commit more time to immerse myself in His word, His love, and in all things through Him. Thanks for this awesome journey!

  6. God Bless you for such good encouragement.Thank you.VAUGHAN.

  7. HELLO MARK THAT IS ALMOST THE SAME AS THE CLIP I WATCH ON FACE BOOK YESTERDAY AND IT WAS SAYING WE ALL NEED TO QUIT FINDING OTHERS THINGS TO TAKE UP ALL OF OUR TIME AND WE NEED TO SPENDING MORE TIME WITH GOD THAT’S IN THE WORD AND IN PRAYER I AGREE SO MUCH THE EVIL ONE IS TRYING TO MAKE PEOPLE SPEND THERE TIME DOING OTHER THING AND LESS TIME WITH GOD I DID A BLOG THIS MORNING AROUND 1AM IT WAS CALLED {HE GAVE YOU LIFE YOU GIVE HIM TIME} I PRAY IT WELL HELP SOME PEOPLE TO SEE HOW THE EVIL ONE MAKE THEM NOT SEE THERE DOING WRONG HE MAKES EVERYTHING YOU DO SEEM OK IN YOUR MIND YOU KEEP PUTTING OFF READING THE BIBLE AND PRAYING AND HE CAN MAKE YOU THINK WAY YOU SHOULD NOT BE THINKING WELL I THANK YOU BROTHER MARK FOR YOUR WORDS IT JUST SHOW GOD IS TELLING EVERYONE THEY NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH HIM AND NOT IN THE WORLD I ALWAYS SAY GET OUT OF THE WORLD AND INTO THE WORD WELL GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR IN JESUS NAME CECIL AND JASON THE BURDETTE BROTHERS

  8. Joyce Kesterman permalink

    Your words hit home (as always) it is so easy to spend time on facebook,etc.
    and then not have quality time in prayer and reading the Word. Prayer and study should come before anything else we start our day with.
    God bless you.

  9. JOE FELTNER permalink

    PRAYER IS THE KEY TO HEAVEN. AND ALSO, BIBLE STUDY IS ESSENTIAL FOR AN ALL AROUND KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AND HIS WORKING IN OUR LIVES SO WE CAN ALL ACHIEVE THIS BY GOING TO SUNDAY SCHOOL ON SUNDAY MORNINGS. THANKS FOR THE ENTRY TODAY.

  10. But then if it wasn’t for Facebook this very message wouldn’t be getting out to the masses.My message to everyone is MODERATION in all things and WE should always put Christ first,YES, everything else in moderation!!

  11. Royce Cly permalink

    Thank you, Mark.
    Your messages are wonderful.
    I have to ask you this question, though. If God is our one and only Reverend, (and I believe He Is) why do you and other ministers call yourselves Reverends? This has troubled me for years.

  12. Rasheika permalink

    Rev. Mark, this is so true. I have experienced the same thing. I’m trying to improve my actions, dedication and commitment but sometimes, I get carried away and forget. Your reflections are blessing to me, no matter what I’m going through. This journey deeper into God’s Word is quite strengthening – spiritually and mentally. But,can you keep me in your prayers.

    Contiinue to be Blessed and take care.

    God is ABLE!!

  13. sonya permalink

    Excellent advice…i’ll take it! been strugglin’ lately…got it now. Thanks.

  14. Angela permalink

    I want to thank you for your praying people page on facebook. I agree with you “the internet is a powerful tool. … It is a new way to turn to God and pray one for another” . Also, it is a way of learning more about God´s word in a different language . For instance, many people who don´t speak Spanish come to Venezuela but they speak English so that we can help them to talk about the gospel in our own language by traslating their speech. God bless you .Que el señor le bendiga grande y poderosamente. Reciba cordiales saludos desde Venezuela.

  15. My Father God constantly blows my mind how He knows what is best for us and the words you share are exactly what Jesus showed me ; may we be strong in His Word and not just be listeners yet rather be doers! God bless you my brother!

  16. I enjoy your posts and times are pretty tough right now but I keep the faith with your words!

  17. Rochelle permalink

    Thanks Mark. This also has hit home for me too. Nothing like a distraction to keep us away from God. Getting my act together. I love the scriputre James 5v 13-16. Pray without ceasing. The closer we r to God the more HE will reveal Himself to us. Never lacking. God bless u. Im unplugging too.

  18. I started realizing that i would get lost in time online doing this and that , looking at my bible , saying in a few minutes ill read then hours seems to pass by , now i limit myself to online time , i dont do any chat groups anymore , except facebook and my myspace and its used to share Gods words and encourgements … and long distance family members … we can so easly get distracted and yes the internet is a powerful tool to spread Gods word and light , but also when we do too much of one thing we start to lack in others .. i find my prayer time is getting stronger and longer and my reading is getting there too , i find myself continually thanking God for his love and mercy and grace … and quality time is given more to him now that ive made those choices … its awesome to see others getting the same message just shows how the Body of Christ works together and were all on the same page … AMEN thank you father

  19. agy wanzala permalink

    YES WE NEED TO UNPLUG AT TIMES ITS VERRY IMPORTANT FOR REFLECTION.

  20. Rev. Mark and all,

    I too have guided my attention away from the computer. I would like to note that I fast when I am in the need to be closer with God. I would like to suggest that on the unplug day you may want to consider fasting also. This I feel will not only bring you closer to God, but will also help you in praying more and helping others more that you have prayed for.

    May God Bless!

  21. janet s permalink

    great advice, Rev. Mark, I need to try that once a week or so. Thank you,Mark

    Janet and Mark

  22. I somehow believe your message today is another way God is trying to get my attention by unplugging. In the past 18 months, death has taken my husband and 2 sisters. I have walked closely throughout my life with God and He strengthened me and provided so much after my husband died. The most recent death of my sister on 12-27-09, just seem to put me back to ground zero on the journey from grieving the loss of my husband. Instead of drawing closer to God, I just turned to playing all these stupid games on Facebook and have completely shut down to the world around me. I just want to escape into something…I guess it’s Satan’s way of separating me. Thanks…it’s good to get this off my mind.

  23. charmaine permalink

    That is so awesome,we need to stay focussed,and spend some quality time in his presence in order to grow spiritually.If we do anything replacing God then we in trouble with him.

  24. Julie Anne Dahlberg permalink

    Hi Rev. Mark,

    As you take time in Prayer will you please pray for us? My husband is a pastor as well. I run my own business and it needs to do better in order for us to survive. We have a huge ministry with it as well! We feel like Satan is attacking our family in a big way and are very overwhelmed. We are facing losing both of our Mothers. My husbands is on hospice care and mine was just diagnosed with cancer. I know that if you are doing God’s work, Satan will do anything he can to put a stop to it!

    I will be praying for you as well…. This is a great thing to do ( unplug! ) I need to have my husband read this….. he is so consumed by calls etc…. that he needs to do this as well.

    Thank you so much,
    God Bless this time for you!
    Julie D.

  25. WE need to let go of our cell phones/internet for a day to become more God focused. Praying/reading and total focusing is necessary for our growth. I just wish our churches could get their congregations to consider doing this. I feel as a nation we become totally focus on technology instead of God.

  26. Rae-Veronica permalink

    Hi there, fantastic idea, I have just put on my status update, that as from this week, as the week only starts on a Monday right!!! Each Wednesday and Sunday I will be unplugged, no internet or phone will be switched on….. and I wonder why I am not clearly hearing from God and moving away from Him. Thank you for the inspirational challenge for such an idea.

  27. Susan permalink

    We were doing a fast at church a while back and instead of fasting food (I am on a special diet and couldn’t right then) I fasted the internet for the weekend. I couldn’t believe it, but I went through a type of withdrawal. I was quite surprised at how much it bothered me to not be able to pull up my e-mail or facebook. I am really enjoying the Bible readings we are doing daily. It is making a real difference in me.

  28. Mija permalink

    Thanks i think I am going to start doing that with my iPod because I always go on the Internet with it every single day!! God is way more important than my iPod.. Thanks again

  29. Lydia Reyes permalink

    A while back , I was about to give up Face Book on the internet and that night I found this Bible Page. I decide to follow thru and I am very grateful because it is helping me so much in my walk with God. I am all for having time off from the internet but I do , want to get the scriptures you post and the comments that come with it. So What I am doing is taking off the same times you get off so I would’nt miss out on anything . I also follow all the readings for each day. I can’t thank God enough for the good work he is doing in the lives of all of us. Thanks Mark and may God Bless you and yours.

  30. Michele permalink

    Yes, I realize that I need to unplug for a day too. I just havn’t commited to a day yet and I need to. I notice that even doing Godly things online get too be too much at times and being unplugged let me think clearer and keep my eyes fixed on the Lord. Its a refreshing thing to do. Thanks for the reminder brother Mark. Blessings, Michele

  31. Jon permalink

    Just wanted to say you blog has been such a blessing. And I think the unplugged day is a great idea, I find I spend more and more time in my blackberry. Maybe an unplugged day would be a good idea for me.
    Pea

  32. mick permalink

    Something so simple is so hard for us to do. We have to be busy, our minds need to be occupied or we feel the pain of our existence.

    I try to spend time each day just sitting quietly, I am lucky enough to cycle through the forest to get to the city. On my way home I stop and sit on a bench and spend time looking around at the course of nature.

    I spend my sitting time in prayer too. The forest feels like God is very close, more so than in any Church, built by the hands of men.

    Every time I sit, without fail, and without asking, a new idea comes into my head, sometimes a direction and sometimes a solution to problem.

    It seems to me that many of the far eastern philosophies focus on just sitting, whereas, Christianity is more focused on prayer, but we cannot hear God unless we learn to shut off our minds and egos, let God take control, stop asking for this or that, if we know that God’s will be done, have faith and ask it to happen. Then let it happen. Not try to take control and convince him to do otherwise.

  33. Jo Heatley permalink

    Hi Mark!

    I have only recently opened a FB account as it is agood way to stay in touch with my sister and her familiy who have only just emmigrated from England to Australia. However it has become strangely addictive!!! I log on usually twice a day to check my emails and FB account. I have found that you can get lost in this world and before you have realised it an hour or two has passed!

    Of course I have benefitted from this time as I too endeavour to journey deeper into God and have found God has used you to speak to me in many ways and just responding to your writing clarifys my thoughts. However. I also realise that I need to be aware of how much time I am spending doing this as it could be used as you say for more prayer, reflection and reading.

    Thanks for making me aware of this. x x

  34. Margie permalink

    Thank you Mark, I needed to read this because I do way to much facebooking. I spend less with my faimly and reading my bible. I hope you find what God is trying to show you. I never want to lose the sight of God. Thank You Margie

  35. Chrisey Alfree permalink

    I sure will make it a point to unplug. Thank You, and GOD BLESS YOU. Chrisey Alfree Dover, Delaware…

  36. Sandra permalink

    Jesus is my very best friend! He is with me 24/7, by the Power of the Holy Spirit! I am by no means perfect…but I am forgiven! When you live by the Golden Rule and walk in the spirit…you are praying without ceasing! Our lives don’t depend on what is happening to us~our lives depend on how we let JESUS react through us!;) have a blessed day in the Lord!

  37. Great post! I am also plugged to the Internet all day everyday, and I am very much aware that it is not good. But then, I spend my time reading studying the Bible online and reading posts on your Bible Facebook page. When not in front of the computer I sit with my dog outside and stare at the clouds, and through it I could feel God and I rejoice in His works. I am gonna do more of that, and praying as well! 🙂

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