Prayer #126: For the Social Effects of Wearing Masks
With everyone wearing masks in indoor and some outdoor public settings, a different social aura is definitely being manifested. Without being able to see people's mouths, one cannot fully see or always interpret their facial expressions. Eye contact seems to be different for all of us. It feels the most unusual. Probably more than ever, then, speaking words of greeting are most important, even to those you pass in the stores.
Faces covered by masks can pose more difficulty for younger children, who are more apt to rely on facial expressions, as well as the tone of voice, especially from parents and caregivers, to give them emotional clues in order to interpret new situations. Psychologists call this social referencing. Thus, they frequently depend on their parent's facial expressions to help regulate their response to new people and new situations. In order to help their children, some parents have talked with their children about the masks, played games with guessing their expressions, and spoken more regularly to them with their mask on.
We pray today that the negative social impacts of mask-wearing would be overcome as people speak to one another kindly and courteously. Pray especially for Christians to use this social situation to reach out in love to our neighbors and those we meet in public places. Pray too for young children, who may struggle more with seeing everyone masked and not knowing how to interpret only partial facial expressions.
Prov: 16:24: "Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body."