Thursday, February 21, 2013

Is #Run3rd a Prayer?

Is #Run3rd a Prayer?
Sean Astin @Sean Astin

Yes. No. Maybe.

#Run3rd is an invitation to people of all faiths or no faith at all. The basic premise is that we naturally put our own needs first. This is markedly different from most religions which place God above everything. Therefore, #run3rd is not intended to be a formal prayer; rather it is an exchange of sorts between people.  The #run3rd dynamic does, however, carry some important similarities to praying. The essence of a #run3rd dedication is an outward sharing of some piece of our self. There is no substance other than an impulse to include others in something special that we feel. Its only tangibility is the backlighting of characters on a Twitter screen, and the notion that somehow we are being seen and heard and appreciated.

When someone asks for dedications, three key dynamics are in play. First, a person requesting that others make dedications is acknowledging that it is right and good to value other people. Second, they are offering to be a repository of sorts for the sanctity of other people’s concerns. Third, the absence of any financial or other contribution places this offer in a unique category strongly resembling prayer. Many faith teachings convey that absorbing the pains and hopes of all beings is critical to achieving heightened spirituality. In this way, the time and consideration that goes into asking for and making #run3rd dedications is an exercise in sentient communication.

Hopefully, the person who makes or places a #run3rd dedication in the Twitter sphere feels something very positive about trusting a little piece of themselves to others. Likewise, the person who reads the many #run3rd dedications should feel a sense of pride and nobility for the privilege of taking the emotional weight of those people’s feelings on board. Carrying the thoughts, hopes, dreams and yes prayers of others, in their minds and hearts, even physically printing them out and toting them in a pocket, completes the #run3rd cycle.

The question becomes, does it matter? If no money is being raised for charity, if there is no doctrinal expectation of providential intervention, then why make #run3rd dedications and why accept those that are made into our consciousness?

The answer is… because. Because the currency of a #run3rd Twitter dedication is the hope or good feeling that comes from knowing that a piece of ourselves is being transmitted to and perceived by others, and that potentially, that act alone will be beneficial in some way. It is a salutation of sorts among mostly strangers in the ether. It’s a type of gesture that can be made that says, for a moment in this busy world, I see you, I note the existence of you and your loved one or cause, and it means something to me. It says I hear you and I accept you. It says that what’s important to you, counts with me. Prayers may derive great power from the collective will of those praying and perhaps in its own way, either with or without the express invocation of God, #run3rd does too.

And it’s hard to work into the body of this text, but the word LOVE deserves a mention!


  1. What a good and intersting read! #Rund3rd is such an amazing concept to me and the more I read about it and hear about it, the more excited it makes me. Keep up the good work and good luck at Princess this weekend!

  2. "And it’s hard to work into the body of this text, but the word LOVE deserves a mention!" - In my circles, you're talking about "Agape", Sean, and it TOTALLY fits into exactly what you're talking about...

  3. Gods are not made, nor are they born. They are chosen.


  5. Sean, a year ago when the #Run3rd concept was in its infancy, someone equated it to a community prayer. Then another person chimed in and said it is a form of community prayer that includes nonbelievers. Even if someone is not a person of Faith, the #Run3rd process promotes faith, trust, love and acceptance.

    The runner puts faith in himself on the line and offers himself to others. I will carry your concerns, fears, wishes and hopes with me as I run. The runner assumes that additional burden. The paper the dedications are written on may not weigh much, but the emotions that it represents must indeed be weighty. The bible says in James that Faith without good works is dead. The runners are exhibiting their faith by running for others as they run for themselves.

    Trust is placed in the runner by the person making the dedication. Trust that the dedication is seen, recognized and manifested by being written on the list the runner carries with him.

    There is also a level of acceptance that occurs not only from the runner receiving the dedication but also from people who witness the placing of a dedication. For example, this past weekend I was extremely depressed. I tried talking to a real life friend about it and she responded with, "God, your are being SO negative right now. Get over yourself." I was devastated by that remark. Not only were my feelings denigrated by that comment but also the situation that I was upset over. When, in desperation, I placed a last minute dedication to you to #Run3rd for me, I received numerous tweets from people invovled in the #Run3rd movement who witnessed the placing of the dedication. They gave me the love, support and acceptance that was denied to me by my friend. It really was the world to me at the point. Making that request, that dedication, and the response I received made such a difference!

    And that it is all based in love is obvious to even the most casual observer. Again, to use the words of my faith...."Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God and everyone who loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God for God is love. Beloved, let us love one another." (1st John 4: 7 & 8)

    Whether you are a person of Faith or not, doesn't mean that you don't possess faith. You need faith to get up every morning and to to try it all over again. Whether you call it thinking positive thoughts, cosmic alignment, good Karma, praying, Faith, or holding close to your heart, they are all #Run3rd. And it is a beautiful way to share our humanity.