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**See Update Below Regarding Dakota Miller of Greenup, KY 5-16-17**

Friends, so many of you have shared and prayed for the little boy Dakota whose story has been shared over and over and over recently. There are nine things you need to know about Dakota and his story.

1. This story in one fashion or another has been passed around on the internet, primarily through Facebook, since 2014.

2. It is unconfirmed that this story is accurate in any way. Many recent post identify his dad as Michael Bass; other than that, this is similar to posts in 2014.

3. One version of the prayer request appeared at an online prayer board managed by Woodland Hills Baptist Church in Longview, Texas. That version contained a few specific details, including Dakota’s last name,”Wells,” and that he was from the Big Sandy area of Texas. Another site relates the young boy’s name is Waylon, and he was airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center on 3 December 2016.

4. You care. Thank you. The fact that this has been passed so many times between friends on social media simply represents that you care. The Apostle Paul teaches the idea of mutual care between believers. “But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:24-26, emphasis mine).

5. Because Christ-followers desire to serve each other, stories like this easily deceive. In addition, the Bible teaches that our first instinct should be to believe what people tell us, so it is a natural instinct to believe a prayer request shared with us (1 Corinthians 13:7). In reality, social media is a great asset to all of us to share and distribute prayer requests. If you are going to err, err on the side of sharing instead of skepticism. A false or hoax prayer request like this can make us all skeptical which is not helpful.

6. The other incredible implication of this is that you pray. How exciting is that! The Apostle Peter exhorts us to always be ready to pray, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7). To be watchful means that we are poised and ready always to pray for another person. To be serious means that we pray according to God’s will in the situation.

7. Prayer is the source for help to which we must turn. Paul encourages us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The writer of Hebrews welcomes the Christian into the throne room of God to make our requests known to Him. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

8. When you do pray, pray for the circumstances at hand while recognizing God is in control. God has this. He loves, cares, pays attention, and demonstrates His mercy to us in the situation (Romans 8:31-39; 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:2-18). So, bring your concerns and situations to Him in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7).

9. Most importantly, pray for the response (especially the heart) of those involved. Throughout the New Testament, the emphasis is on the response to the situation more than the situation itself (cf., 2 Corinthians 1:3-11). When in prison, Paul asked people to pray for his courage and discernment, not release from prison (Colossians 4:2-4). In Paul’s own prayer, he sought God to provide comfort for people in the heart (inner man) and help them to do what was right in the midst of their circumstances (outer man). He prayed, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

Thank you for praying for Dakota and all the Dakotas of the world.
Thank you for sharing your prayer requests on social media.
Thank you for trusting each other and entering into each other’s lives with care.
Thank you for turning to God in Christ for your hope in the midst of crisis.

Join the Conversation

Where have you been encouraged by someone praying for you from a social media request?

Update on a Different Circumstance and a Different Story from Greenup, Kentucky from May 16, 2017. A middle school young man, Dakota Miller from McKell Middle School in Greenup, KY was in a horrific accident on May 10th. His family has asked for people to pray for him, for which I am happy to pass along. The first names are the same; however, the situations are very different. Please pray for this family and young man who is in the hospital in West Virginia. You can read more at his grandma’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.munn.75. This is a recent article from his local newspaper.

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