Monday, 11 November 2013

Praying With A Foggy Brain - There's An App For That.

(Check out the preceding posts to this: "What Was I Praying?" and "Is Prayer A Duty Or A Joy?")

I’ve been looking for ages for a journal app I can use for prayer, notes and thoughts. 

I needed one that enables me to use larger fonts on a clear and uncluttered background. 

None of those from Christian app writers cater for people with vision problems, so that shrunk the possibilities a lot!  

I also wanted one I could use across all devices - not easy when your computer/tablet is Apple and your phone is Android! 

But then I found and iPad/iphone app called ‘Awesome Note’ . (Christian app writers could learn a lot from looking at this very accessible app!)

This app is completely customisable - even down to what folders you want, what you want them to look like and how you want to use them. You can arrange the folders in any order and name them too. 
It also syncs with Evernote - my chosen note taking app, so I can look up stuff when I haven’t got my iPad. It's the best £2.99 I’ve ever spent on an app!

So why did I need an App?
It’s because of the tools I have found useful for my prayer life - with this app I can put them all in one place, and make notes as I use them. With a brain like mine I can easily forget.

These things are:
  • A Prayer Book - I love old prayers - they have ancient and beautifully crafted words, and much thought has gone into what is in them. My favourite is the  ‘Prayers of the Reformers’ book. I bought a similar kindle prayer book and often ‘screen shot’ prayers and drop them into Awesome Note to use more frequently - especially if one mirrors how I feel I should be praying for a specific person or circumstance.
  • Written Prayer - I have those moments where I start to pray for someone or something and then think “I don’t know what to pray”. (Yes I know about tongues - but not everyone has that gift….). I think it's helpful to write specific prayers and drop them into this app. I don’t think God minds us doing that. Somedays I'll read it as my prayer, but on other days it may be the catalyst for more. 
  • Bible verses - There’s some great examples of praise in the psalms, there’s also some great examples of pleading with God. The Epistles give us some lovely examples of praying for others. I like to drop these into my journal too so I can pick them out to pray with. 

For example:
Ephesians 1:15-19(MSG)
“That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

  • Music - I sometimes find it a distraction, but sometimes it’s something that draws me to prayer. If I come to prayer agitated I find it often ‘resets my soul’. I can't drop the actual music into the app, but I can write in a part of my journal if a song has helped.
  • Devotions - More often than not, my daily reading will set a conversation going with God - so I have my journal in Awesome Note too. A good place to look back when I need reminding of what God is saying to me

Using all these things is a help, but I am also aware that change is crucial. This app is useful for this too - I can have lots of ways to pray in there. If I'm having a bad day I can use a more guided/prescriptive approach (Written prayers and Bible verses). On my better days I can be freer - rewriting prayers as circumstances change or the Holy Spirit reveals more.

Using something completely different to pray on some days is good - I sometimes use my prayer arrows book to focus on the different aspects of prayer. (That’s another blog!) I've dropped all the pictures from this book into Awesome Note so I can recall them, because on my bad days I won't remember all of them (If any!)

Others use the Lord’s Prayer as a guide, or an acronym such as A.C.T.S (“Adoration, Confession. Thanks and Supplication” Lots of big words there, which is why we wrote the prayer arrows). If you go for this approach to quiet times - you may want to use these and drop them into a journaling app..... or even a hand written journal if you prefer!

I hope this is helpful.

Be blessed in your praying.

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