A prayer chain consists of people who accept prayer requests by telephone, online or electronically, and pray for those requests. A prayer chain activates when a member receives a prayer request, prays about it and passes it on to other members of the prayer chain. Some churches use software, such as PhoneTree, which automatically calls everyone on the prayer chain list and provides a recorded version of the prayer request.
Some prayer chains operate with a set of guidelines that instruct members to pray immediately, pass the prayer request on immediately, pass on the exact wording of the prayer request, and keep it confidential to avoid gossip. Each person on a telephone prayer chain list typically calls the next person on the list. Sometimes the telephone prayer chain gets broken, such as when no one updates the list or someone on the list is not at home.
Some prayer chain groups use text messages and email to share prayer requests, which can reach more members more quickly than the traditional telephone prayer chain. Some prayer chains use social networking groups, including Facebook and Google Groups. There are websites that invite people to post their prayer requests, anonymously if desired. Members of the prayer chain choose requests and pray for them.