This is part 3 in a 3-part blog series offering practical help in how to pray consistently and effectively. This blog series goes along with our sermon series Is God Listening?: Making Sense of Prayer. You can see part 1 here and part 2 here.
As we’ve already said, if you want to do something well, you plan for it. Prayer is no different. If we expect to pray consistently, effectively, and with confidence, it’s going to take work and organization. This 3-part series is aimed at giving a few tools to help you do that. In part 1 we talked about praying in concentric circles. In part 2 we talked about using prayer cards. Our third tool is an app called PrayerMate.
PrayerMate is basically an electronic version of prayer cards. (For a review of prayer cards, read part 2 of this series.) I stumbled onto PrayerMate through the recommendation of Tim Challies, and it has been so good for me!
One thing I alluded to in my post on prayer cards is their physical nature. I do think there are some positives about that, specifically unplugging from electronics to sit quietly with the Lord, but I don’t think that makes an app like PrayerMate obsolete. If you can discipline yourself enough to avoid those notifications and other apps calling your name (why do all my kids’ apps want me to come back so bad?) I think PrayerMate can help streamline, and more importantly, focus your prayers.
The Strength of PrayerMate
When I say streamlining your prayers, I mean making sense of a long and busy list of requests and prayers by organizing them into categories on separate cards. Using prayer cards helps do this. I find it easier to focus, I feel more productive, and I get distracted less easily.
I find it easier to focus, I feel more productive, and I get distracted less easily.
PrayerMate can take it a step further by showing you not just one card, but one request, at a time. It takes a little time to get everything entered in, but once you’ve done that, PrayerMate selects individual requests and pushes them to your “Pray” screen in an organized list that you swipe through. I put all my requests into the system and PrayerMate helps me pray through all of them systematically.
So I’d say the strength of PrayerMate is that it simplifies your prayer list and prayer time, by doing the work for you (once you’ve done the front end work of getting your list entered).
Another Strength: It’s Customizable
One other strength I really like about PrayerMate is how you can customize what you see and how often you see it. I have several prayer categories like gospel prayers, confession, Remedy Church, and one for each member of my family (I’ve got several more, as well). Once you have entered each request into their category, you can tell PrayerMate how many requests from that category you want to see each time you pray. You can let the app choose for you completely at random or you can say I’d like to see 1 (or more) request from this category every time I pray.
For example: I’ve got mine set to show me one gospel scripture/prayer, 1 confession prayer, 2 requests for my wife, 2 requests for each child, 2 non-believers I’m praying for, 1 request for our SE Asia church planting team, and so on.
There is also a shuffle function so that when I pray through an entire list and I start through it again, it shuffles the order to keep things fresh. Some may not like that as much as me, but I like variety and change.
You can also have the app send you a particular request on a certain day of the week or month, or send you a reminder to pray at a certain time. You can even add pictures to each category so you’re seeing a face when you pray. Doesn’t help much for a category like non-believers (because you can only choose one pic per category), but I find it helpful when I’m praying for my family, who all have their own category.
The Final Verdict
As you know, an app can’t make you pray. But if you want to make an effort to pray consistently, PrayerMate can help make it simpler and easier for you. The other two tools we discussed in part 1 and part 2 can also be helpful in organizing and focusing your prayers.
Prayer is driven by a keen awareness of your desperate need for the Lord, your awareness of your inability to change things on your own, and your faith that God can.
Ultimately, though, prayer is driven by a keen awareness of your desperate need for the Lord, your awareness of your inability to change things on your own, and your faith that God can.
Remember, once again, that praying is more about relationship with God than asking for things–and consistency matters more than length (via Paul Miller in A Praying Life). If you can work on consistency, length and focus will take care of themselves.
One last time…happy praying!