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How An App Revitalized My Prayer Life
September 19, 2014
I say it without hyperbole: PrayerMate revitalized my prayer life. It has been at least a couple of years since I made the move from organizing my prayers in a book to organizing my prayers in an app, and, at least for now, I don’t ever see myself going back. I know that praying from an app is not for everyone, but for me it has made all the difference. Let me tell you how I use it.
PrayerMate borrows from the physical world and mimics an organized collection of index cards. Imagine a card file: Each of the dividers marks a new category, each of the categories contains several cards, and each card contains a prayer. Now just take that paradigm and translate it to an app. You create your categories and cards, and each day the app presents you with a collection of items to pray for. It’s that simple!
I created categories to match the way I pray: Praying in concentric circles. I have included a list of my categories below. Beside each you will see numbers in brackets, like this: (5, 1). The first number tells how many items (prayers) I have in that category and the second is how many of those items I pray for each day:
- Gospel (5, 1). These are Scripture passages that speak of the gospel (Isaiah 43:25, Romans 8:1, etc). I begin prayer by reflecting on the gospel, and this shapes my prayer by reminding me of who I am, who God is, and what he has done for me. (Again, the brackets indicate that I have 5 items in this category, and I see one of them each time I pray.)
- Confession (5, 1). These are Scripture passages that help me confess my sin. I pray the passage, then confess my sin and receive God’s forgiveness for it.
- Personal Godliness (9, 1). Here I have a selection of items I pray for myself. These reflect my roles (father, husband, pastor) or areas of Christian character where I wish to see growth (humility, godliness, evangelistic boldness). I change them regularly.
- Aileen (7, 1). These are things I pray on Aileen’s behalf. I pray for her various roles and for her growth in character.
- Son (5, 1). I pray every day for my son and pray through a number of items that reflect his roles and character.
- Daughter (5, 1). I pray every day for my older daughter and pray through items that reflect her roles and character.
- Daughter (5, 1). I pray every day for my younger daughter and pray through items that reflect her roles and character.
- Family (7, 1). Here I have one card for each member of my extended family—parents, siblings, and so on. I pray for one of them each day.
- Elders (9, 1). There are currently 9 things I pray on behalf of my co-elders at Grace Fellowship Church; I pray for one of those things for them each day.
- My Church (112, 7). This is a list of all the people or families who consider Grace Fellowship Church their home church. I currently pray for 7 each day. Each card contains the name of an individual (for singles) or a family (for couples and families). For each person or family I have certain items I am praying on their behalf. I may ask people how I can pray for them, I may hear them make a request at our prayer meeting, or I may simply know how I ought to pray. I coordinated this list with my Address Book which then inserts a picture of each person on their card.
- Unbelievers (10, 1). There are certain unbelievers I am burdened for, and I pray for them here. These may be people in our family, neighborhood, or church.
- Special (7, 1). These are other people I wish to pray for—friends from outside our church, church planters, and so on.
- Ministry & Mission (6, 1). These are missionaries and ministries I pray for.
Of course there is so much more I could pray for. I could pray for the nations, though I do that week-by-week at our church’s prayer meetings; I could pray for rulers and politicians but, again, I do that at our prayer meetings. For now these are my categories. Each day I grab my phone, open up PrayerMate, and do business with the Lord. It is often the best part of my day.
Let me share one tip: Maintain your prayer list. Block off a bit of time every week or two to keep it updated. My joy and confidence in prayer are directly related to the freshness and relevance of the things I pray. The more I maintain and update my prayer list, the more I love my times in prayer.