I do not claim to be an expert on prayer, nor do I imply that my own prayer life is without flaw. However, because my prayer life seems to be a bit unique, my hope is that some of the tips I offer here will help others.
Here is the deal: I have learned over the years that I need help in maintaining a regular and meaningful prayer life, and it turns out that much of that help is computer related. You too can use free computer software (or software you already own) to help you with your prayer life. Allow me to explain.
Typing Out Prayers
If you are like me, your mind drifts when you go to your quiet place for your time with God. You may start out charging the very gates of heaven, but then, for no apparent reason, you discover yourself wondering what you will be eating for supper or how your favorite sports team fared last night. I have found that I will stay much more focused if I type my prayers instead of thinking them.
My daily prayer time starts with a word processing document and a macro which outlines my prayer categories: Thanksgiving, Praise, Confession, Intercession and Petition. Sound overly mechanical? I say give it a try. If typing your prayers is not for you, you can always go back to what you were doing before.
Free Bible Software
I highly recommend the free, fully functional bible software E-Sword. This software was developed by a Christian computer programmer to be given freely to any and all. E-Sword comes with several bible translations, commentaries, bible dictionaries (including a Strong’s Hebrew and Greek dictionary). You can purchase more units if you want, or simply make a donation to help this ministry, but you will encounter absolutely no arm twisting. I love to have a bible handy during my prayer time, so I keep my trusty E-Sword open.
Praying for the Nations
You don’t want to limit your prayers to your little slice of the world, do you? I thought not. Me neither. So why not make it easy on yourself by signing up to receive a free daily email from Operation World. Each day you will receive information about a different nation, expressing the state of that nation and its specific prayer needs.
Did you realize, for example, that 20 million people in Brazil live in abject poverty, and that half of the homeless in that nation are under 18 years old? Or that 500,000 people in Brazil are involved in the prostitution industry and 540,000 have the HIV virus? Operation World has not only become an integral part of my daily prayer life, it has also become an educational tool to help me learn modern geography and feel more connected to the nations of planet Earth.
Reading the Bible in One Year
A great New Year’s resolution is to read through the bible in one year. Sadly, like many New Year’s resolutions, this one is easily dropped. However, I have found that I will stay on target better if my daily readings are emailed directly to me. Is there a handy website who will do that? Of course: Bible Gateway. You will, of course, need to sign up for free — there are a variety of reading options to choose from — but give it a try.
Please do not imply from this post that I think I have my prayer life all together. I sometimes miss a day here or a day there. Furthermore, I do not always do my daily bible readings (and will therefore NOT read the entire bible this year). However, I know this: I am more apt to stay focused when I have a prayer strategy. These computerized aids help me with that strategy. Hopefully, they will help you too.
What sort of aids (computer or otherwise) help you with your prayer life? Leave a comment below!