Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Prayer - There's an App for that?

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Last week I was trying to find an Laundromat open near the campus where I am in school. The problem was that since most of the regular classes are not in session the closest Laundromats were closed. I asked permanent residence and even had a classmate making calls to help me find a reasonably priced Laundromat. Then came the voice of reason - ask your iPhone. Sure enough, I used my an iPhone app that found the nearest (and cheapest) Laudromat less than half a mile from my hotel. Score for the iPhone.
When it comes to prayer it is hard to say that there is truly an App for that. Nothing can replace the intimate encounter that occurs when we pray. Yet our technological work mitigates against slowing down to intentionally encounter the God who is not just there to met our every desire or answer our every immediately pressing issue. Francis Fenelon was quoted in class as observing, "Of all the duties enjoined by Christianity none is more essential and yet more neglected than prayer." My guess is this quote hits you similarly as it me. We know we need to pray more, we know prayer is important, but making intentional time and space for it seems to evade our grasps.
What our technological world does afford us is a variety of useful tools to help us pray. I'll be reviewing a few on the next couple of blogs.
The Daily Office from Mission St. Clare. This happens to be the App I use for my iPhone. This App is laid out well and is extensive. I really like that there is a morning prayer and evening prayer reading. There is lots of Scripture reading (as some have said, reading Scripture can be the hearing side of prayer). I like that there is a confessional in the beginning of each reading as well as the Apostle's Prayer, Lord's Prayer's Prayer, prayer for missions, etc. There is often a biography of a notable Christian among many other avenues to expand your prayer vocabulary. 
Confession App. This, as you might guess, is Catholic and as it notes is to be used "during the Sacrament of Penance with a Catholic Priest only and not a substitute for a valid confession." With that said, being a Protestant who believes we don't take enough time for confession, this can be a useful App. There is a place for Examination which comes from 10 Commandments. Then you move to Confession where you select which sins, broken commandments, you've committed. Then comes the Act of Contrition. There is a place to go direction to prayers to select from and this is App is password protected. Despite the obvious Catholic bent, I like the App.
UM App. While wanting to promote all things United Methodist, this isn't my favorite App. If you can spare only a minute in a day, then this would be for you. Each day has a very short devotion that comes from books by UM authors.  Usually there is a short Scripture reading and sometimes a short prayer. There are other aspects to this App about UM news that are helpful and it appears that it will be something they will be growing into. I hope so.
More to come soon...
What aspect of prayer do you struggle with the most?
Why do you think you don't pray enough?

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