Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Few Devotional Apps

My (non-electronic) prayer book, with dedication from my Uncle Wyatt
I first got a tablet device (iPad) in the winter of 2014, just after my then-startling cancer diagnosis.  I felt - correctly as it turned out - that I might be doing a lot of traveling time and hospital time and that the iPad would provide a good way to read books and keep up with the news.  (Playing games - beyond Words with Friends - was not, and mostly still is not, on my horizon.)

Of course, one soon discovers unexpected applications.  Liane and I found that time spent in the waiting room (and we were in waiting rooms every weekday for six weeks that summer) presented an ideal opportunity to do the New York Times crossword (there's an app for that!).  Two years later, the crossword is a much-anticipated pleasure every day. (Except for last Thursday's...that is another story!)

Another surprise to me though was how the iPad helped with my devotional life.  I'm a teenage convert, which means that I have been praying and reading Scripture for more than forty years - daily when I have had the time and energy.  I've used many different "patterns" over the years, including books like the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, daily notes like those from Scripture Union, and study guides like Alan Stibbs' Search the Scriptures.  Change is good; this is not something that you "get right" once and for all, because you and your relationships are changing.  When I got the iPad, I found there were many prayer, meditation and Bible study apps available.  Some were terrible, but some have - for now - become a regular part of my life.   Here are a few that I use, with brief reviews.

  • iPray BCP - This gives the text of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with a calendar that (in theory) gives you the correct collect (special prayer) for each day - it seems to get a bit confused sometimes, especially towards the end of the church year,  but it is mostly accurate, and there are some collects (like that for the 6th Sunday after Trinity) which I love so much, I look forward to them for weeks! 
  • YouVersion - This is the best Bible text application, in my opinion, with many translations in different languages available, as well as the original Greek and Hebrew for those who want to wrestle with them. Also has many Bible reading plans available if you want them - too many "Christian Celebrity X Reading Plan" for my taste, but I go regularly round and round the one-psalm-a-day plan, and the app gently nags me if I miss one.
  • WordLive - This is Scripture Union's reading plan in app form (you can also obtain it as a podcast).  Each day there is a passage of Scripture to read, notes and relections on the text, and suggestions for prayer arising out of it.
  • PrayerMate - Keeping a prayer list is not an easy thing - I cannot say enough good things bout this app which helps me list topics, organizations and people for whom I want to pray; suggests a selection of topics each day; offers scope to make notes or send encouraging messages if you want to; and can be linked to the RSS feed (from a church say) if you want prayer news that automatically updates.  To me, really helpful (YMMV of course).
  • -This is a web site (though they have just come up with an app as well) based on A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and Enuma Okoro.  The daily prayers connect me with many saints from across space and time who I would otherwise never have heard of.  Challenging and beautiful.
  • Presence  - Multimedia app weaving together music, film, poetry and photography to deepen people's connection to God.

These have all been helpful to me in different ways.  Perhaps one or more of them may be a blessing to you also!

No comments: