Prayer in the Digital Age

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with my prayers. Now, I don’t mean I struggle to pray, but I struggle with the prayers I say, and the prayers that I tell others I will say on their behalf. Simply put: I’m forgetful and disorganized. For many years I have tried to come up with different solutions to consistently pray for others but simply put, none of them ever have any long lasting difference. At the end of the day, I still forget prayers that need said and I still forget to follow up with people that I am praying for.

A couple of months ago I downloaded Prayermate. Prayermate allows you to link prayers into your drop box. This is important because you can type more easily that way. At least I can. Then you can organize the prayers by categories such as personal godliness, family, biblical prayers. The app then randomly gives you different prayers to say each day and will remind you to pray. Or, you can schedule certain prayers for each day of the week or to reoccur as often as you like.

So I downloaded it, tinkered around and then set about creating prayers. I wrote Scripture based prayers to start each day based on my favorite devotional, Seeking God’s Face. Created categories and then scheduled them throughout the week. And most importantly, I made a general prayer request prayer that I could add to anytime someone told me of a prayer need. The app seemed to help for a bit but then I noticed something: prayers that were scheduled for a certain day were not showing up at all. And no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the most updated form of my prayer requests prayers to show up. So let’s say on Tuesday I’m supposed to pray for my family, the family prayers wouldn’t show up. Then I noticed the general prayer requests that would show up were 2 weeks behind.

Now, I’ll admit I’m not very technically savvy. I tried to figure out what was wrong but I couldn’t. I’m more than willing to accept this was a user error, but for this user–it wasn’t really what I needed. Still, I’ll share this app with you because I know it has helped others pray and it may be just what you need.

Then I entered the world of smartphones. And because I’m all in with Google, I got an android based phone. I started messing around on it, looking for some apps to help me with organizing my life and I discovered Google Keep.

Google Keep, like all Android related apps, is easy to understand and start using. I linked it with my Gmail account and downloaded it onto both our laptops, my tablet and my phone. It syncs your notes in real time and you can color code them by categories. Unfortunately, this is a bit cumbersome. That is really my only complaint: I wish you could create folders for Google Keep but the colors at least make it easier to see which notes are which category.

I created prayers for each day of the week, set to remind me on their specific day. When the reminder goes off, if it isn’t a good time, I can snooze it and it will remind me again later. The best part by far, however, is I created one note for general prayer requests. These are the prayers I say for others when they tell me of a problem or ask me to pray for them. Because it is on my phone, if someone says “Please pray for my aunt…” I can take my phone out and immediately add that request to my list while I talk to them. Then when I say, “I will” I know it is the absolute truth and not simply a reflection of good intentions.

Since then, I have been praying every day faithfully for the concerns I have and the concerns others have. Because of that, it has helped me remember to follow up with people. I can say, “Hey, I’ve been praying about this issue and wondered if God had resolved it yet or how you were doing.” That serves two purposes: one it lets me clear up my list and two, it lets the other person know that I do care.

So I guess the moral of this story would be that maybe there are some advantages to having a smart phone after all.  If you struggle to remember your prayers, I’d recommend looking into an app to help you with that.

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