Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Prayer - There's an App for That!

My prayer list is out of control. Entirely!

When we were still in Asia, we were somewhat insulated from the rest of the world. We prayed regularly for the few other Christians we knew, for our own work and for the work of our coworkers; that list was relatively manageable. God was working on me to teach me so much about prayer. I wasn't ready to be a prayer warrior, I was at best a novitiate.

But when we moved to Wyoming, things changed dramatically. Our congregation has this wonderful white board that lists all our children and teens, those we know who are sick, grieving, or far from the Lord. It takes one of our brothers between 10 and 15 minutes to briefly pray on Wednesday night for all the people on the list.  I'm working on praying for them too.  When folks find out that my husband is the minister at church they are often eager to have us pray for some situation in their life. I want to do that-pray without ceasing even for those I met a Wal-mart. And then there are the people we are studying with, hoping to study with, or who are married to someone in our church with whom we are trying to cultivate a relationship. We're also praying for the people we love in Asia, just leaving Asia, and in the congregations that sponsored and supported us.

That's the easy stuff on my list.

I have a 9th grader and a 1st grader in public school for the very first time. They need to be submerged in prayer.

I have this amazing husband who is pouring his heart into ministry, and it's all new!

And my Uncle has a brand new and quite upsetting cancer diagnosis and a little girl the same age as mine.

See? My prayer list is entirely out of control.

Tired and sad, I would find myself saying the same things again and again, forgetting people, or their names, or the details of their situation. Worse I was fatigued and confused and constantly feeling like I needed to pray more but I wasn't praying well.

Guess what?

They have an app for that.


I recently saw a short review online for Echo. It's a prayer app. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it was free so I thought why not?

Here's how it works. There are two buttons on the front screen "Add a prayer" and  "Pray now." It was the "Pray now " button that made me leery. How was an app supposed to help me pray?

I started by adding one by one the things on my prayer list. First I named it and then added a description. I found this especially helpful because when my brain was nice and clear I could add the details I needed to remember, and when I wanted to pray a certain scripture over someone it was easy to write it there (not half mumble the half-memorized words). When God answered prayers, the app lets me mark them answered and moves them off the active list.

Once I had the list Echo will let you set up notifications  on your phone to remind you to pray! You just set how often and it will send you a reminder to pray for someone specific or for a random request.

When I hit the "Pray Now" button it will bring up a request from my list and (if I ask for it) the description. Then all I need to do is swipe to move from one thing I am praying about to the next.

I've been using the app for a week and I love it. For one thing, I haven't forgotten anyone, not their names or their details, and when I see them again I can confidently say I've been praying for them and ask about their situation. For another I don't have to wrack my brain in the middle of a prayer for what else I meant to be praying for, just swipe and keep going!

If you are thinking I could do all that with an old fashioned prayer journal, I'd say you were exactly right except for one thing. No one I know carries their prayer journal with them 24/7, but I always have my phone. So if I am visiting someone and stuck out in the hall at the hospital while the staff does their thing, I can pray. If you send me a text, I can immediately copy down all the information, so I can start praying right away.

I wouldn't want an app to tell me how to pray or when to pray-that would be invasive - but a personal assistant who reminds me when I wanted to pray and who I wanted to pray for is a great blessing.

Check the app store for "echo prayer" and then if you like it, leave me a comment! 


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.  

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