This year, Ash Wednesday is on February 26th, so before this month is over, we will be in the midst of Lent. Lent is typically a time when we do some “house cleaning” in our spiritual life and the way we do that, is to practice some spiritual disciplines. One of the disciplines commonly used is prayer. Just as there is an app for most things in this world, there is an app (or many apps) to help us with our prayer lives. Last month, I shared with you three Bible Study apps that I use. This month, I share with you two apps for prayer!
The first is called “Echo.” In the free version this app, you can create your prayer lists, you can connect with your friends and share prayer lists. You can also set reminders for your prayer time. When prayers have been answered, you can also mark them as such. In order to use the app for your prayer time, you set the time for however long you would like to pray, then click “pray now.” Once you click pray now, the various prayer lists you have will rotate through the screen. You can adjust the speed at which your lists rotate, and you can select how many of the lists you want to have rotate through any given prayer time. If you subscribe to “echo+” you can create groups where others in the group can add or change prayers, and there is a “feeds” option which is a modern take on a prayer chain.
I have found this to be a helpful way to keep track of my various prayer lists and have them in one place! It is also nice to have the option of rotating the lists and having a set time which will ring at the end!
The other prayer app that I have been using is called, “Centering Prayer.” Centering Pray-er is a specific type of praying, it is silent prayer where you typically choose a word to focus on. As you sit in silence, and focus on your word, you are opening yourself up to hearing what God is saying to you. In the app, there is access to resources to use, and links to help learn more about this practice. In order to participate in the Centering Prayer, you are given options.
On the main page, you choose your “vestibule” which can be nothing or can display the “Four Guidelines of Centering Prayer.” You can choose your opening prayer, which will be displayed on the screen for you. You can choose the beginning sound, which calls your attention to the start of silent time. You choose the duration of the silence, and the ending sound. Since it is suggested that Center-ing Prayer is done with your eyes closed, having a closing sound is helpful so you don’t need to look at the time as it counts down. Then there is a closing prayer, which comes up on the screen after the ending sound. You can also choose the background on your screen! Once you have made all of your selections, you click “begin” and start the prayer journey!
I have found Centering Prayer to be helpful in that it can calm me down. At times when I feel overly stressed, or unsettled, I will have a session of Centering Prayer and it brings a sense of peace in my life. It’s a time of quiet (which in our world, we don’t really get much of). One of the things I also find difficult is remembering to take time to listen during prayer time. This practice, of just focusing on one word, builds in that time of listening, which can be powerful!
As we prepare for Lent, and the disciplines we will work on, I hope this information is help-ful! If you have other prayer apps that you use, or try these and would like to share your experience, please let me know!