The Archbishop of Canterbury will take part in an online question-and-answer session Sept. 5 on Twitter. Archbishop Justin Welby has chosen prayer as the theme.
People are invited to ask questions using the hashtag #AskJustinWelby. The Archbishop will post answers to selected questions beginning at 12:15 p.m. GMT (8:15 a.m. EDT) Monday.
Twitter users have begun posting questions, although some do not treat the exercise seriously.
Twitter user Andy Millington asked, “Does the Lord ever get prayers asking if he was in an accident [within] the last 5 years?” in reference to ads by “ambulance-chasing” attorneys. User Ivan Jelical asked: “If I pray more than 3 times in a day will the good Lord think I’m being needy?”
Among the serious questions asked so far, Christine Grew wanted to know: “What counts as prayer? If I think of someone, say, doing an exam, and hope it’s going well for them, does that have power?”
Some were theologically complex. Random noise asked: “Prayers of intercession imply expecting transcendent intervention. But God refuses that in the name of free will. Why?” And others asked Archbishop Welby for details of his prayer life, including Colin Cameron, who asked: “How long do you pray for each day? What is your routine (daily offices v. quiet contemplation, etc.)?”
While this is the first time Archbishop Justin has hosted a Q&A session on Twitter — where he has almost 95,000 followers — this is not the first time he has used social media to interact with the public. In recent months he has used the new live video feature on Facebook — where his public page has almost 130,000 likes — to host an interactive Bible study seen by more than 895,000 people; and a Q&A with Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, that was seen by almost 253,000 people.