I have a terrible confession to make:
I find it hard to pray.
Actually, I don't find it hard to pray. As soon as I get going, there's loads of stuff I want to talk to my heavenly father about - things that concern me - people I love - expressions of thanks and praise for all he's done for me. Once I get started, I'm often like a ball rolling downhill. (Ask any of my daughters who regularly complain that my 'grace' prayers before dinner tend to ramble on a bit, and not always be just about the food!)
But there has now entered into my digitally-ordered world a new iPhone app called 'PrayerMate' that has done something really significant to make me more of a prayer warrior than I was:
1. It reminds me to get praying
The app is really very simple. It's basically a prayer diary that allows me to set up lists of people and situations to pray for. But the terrific feature is that, at the time I set every day, it pops up a message whatever I am doing saying: "Time to Pray?"
In and of itself that has been a massive help. My family and working life is ever-so-slightly chaotic, and finding a set time for daily Bible reading remains difficult - often being squeezed between getting up, school lunch making, making tea to take milady in bed, and leaving the house. Easy to forget or to get squeezed. The daily reminder is, quite literally, a God-send (via Apple).
2. It gives me a good structure
On opening, it presents me with a prayer from the Bible, which is often stimulating for the content and character of my prayers. Today was Matthew 9:38 The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest."
What follows on the sliding screens is a selection of people and issues from a number of lists I have set up: for family, my housegroup; my sunday school class and co-leaders; my work colleagues; friends, church etc. The nice thing here is that I can set the frequency of when they get prayed for. I talk to the Lord about each member of my immediate family every day, whereas only one of my work mates, homegroup and sunday school class pop up each day. Other things may be less frequent.
Importing the names as a dream from my address book, and there is room to add notes and issues to each person as time goes on.
This is the first version of this terrific little app - no doubt it will grow in sophistication with revision releases - but I hope the developers don't lose the practical simplicity of how it works at the moment. Technology has a habit of getting in the way of something that should be intimate and personal - and PrayerMate elegantly achieves being a helpful aid that does not intrude, but genuinely equips and encourages. Well done lads.