RELIGION
08/31/2015 07:59 pm ET Updated Sep 01, 2015

Technology Is Forever Changing How We Pray

Social media provides another outlet for religious expression, experts say.

Christian leaders are no strangers to social media. On any given day, even Pope Francis will use his Twitter platform to offer a prayer of peace or healing to the world.

But does posting a prayer on social media distance us from the actual act of praying? In a recent HuffPost Live segment, host Zerlina Maxwell posed just that question.

Maxwell's guests included Donald Cyprian, developer of a new religious app; Tim O’Malley, director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy; Heidi Campbell, a communications professor at Texas A&M University; and Dr. Pauline Hope Cheong, an associate professor of communications at Arizona State University. Each weighed in on how technology is changing the way we pray -- and why this might not be a bad thing.

"Social media allows people to find their spiritual tribe online," Campbell said.

Roughly 1 in 5 Americans shares their religious faith online in an average week, according to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center. Forty-six percent of Americans say they have seen someone else share “something about their religious faith” online -- which may allow social media users to more easily connect with others who share their spiritual beliefs.

Among social media users, millennials are much more likely to engage in almost every platform than any other age demographic, according to Pew. The HuffPost Live guests discussed the ways they hope millennials will engage with social media as an outlet for religious expression, especially if they don't connect as well with traditional worship practices.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about how social media is shaping prayer here.

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