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6 Ways Your Phone Can Help You Pray

How smartphones can nudge us toward prayer.

How a smartphone can help you pray
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Technology can be both boon and bane to prayer. Notifications and text alerts distract us, but prayer apps help us focus. (I use two on a daily basis: a morning prayer podcast—I listen to it in Podbean—and my own 31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids offered as an iPhone and iPad app. There’s also Guideposts‘ excellent OurPrayer App.) 

But there are other ways to turn your smartphone into a prayer aid without downloading anything. Here are just six:  

1)  Enable Do Not Disturb
You seldom turn off your phone, right? That’s okay. You don’t have to shut it down entirely. But you can use the “do not disturb” function in your settings (which you can program for set periods) and take charge of your phone instead of allowing it to randomly interrupt. The world will survive those few minutes you’re out of touch. Go ahead. Enable “do not disturb” (or turn your phone off completely) as you turn your heart and mind toward God. 

2)  Set a Reminder
The calendar or reminders function on your smartphone can help you remember to pray at set times daily—or throughout the day. It’s so easy to automate, say, morning, noon and evening prayer times. You can program a reminder to tell you to pray when you leave or arrive at a particular location. When you promise to pray for something or someone, put it in your calendar and activate an alert to help you keep your promise.

3)  Text a Prayer
Many people find it easier to text than to call—or even leave a voicemail. So why not exchange prayer texts with a prayer partner? People text prayer requests (or post them on social media) all the time. Why not text the actual prayers instead? It takes no more time to text, “Lord, help Sue with her exam today; help her to remember everything she’s studied,” than it does to text, “I’ll be praying for you today, asking God to help you remember everything you’ve studied.” Do it in the moment, and your phone becomes a prayer machine. 

4)  Pray with Others via Video 
There are a number of ways to use video calling on today’s smartphones; there are even apps that allow you to record a video for others to view later when it’s convenient. So why not schedule a prayer meeting with a friend or two and pray together via video call?

5)  Set a Timer 
Do you find it hard to focus during prayer because you’re checking the time? Your smartphone can free you from clock watching. Simply set a timer when you start praying and let the “Hallelujah Chorus” ringtone (or something like it) announce when you’re finished.  

6)  Create a Playlist
Music fosters prayer and meditation for some people. Why not compile a playlist of songs that turns your heart heavenward? Whether you sing and worship as it plays or use it as background music to your prayers, the right playlist can have you hungering and thirsting for time alone with God. You can even use your playlist as a timer; simply include a set number of songs that will last as long as your prayer session. You can even create playlists of different lengths (5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc.) to use when conditions dictate shorter or longer prayer times. 

These ideas barely scratch the surface of what your phone can do, but just asking the question can suggest more and better ideas: How can you turn your smartphone into an aid—rather than a hindrance—to prayer?

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