How Free Computer Software Can Help You With Your Prayer Life

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!

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  1. Blake

    Try echo -You can manage prayer requests and have them periodically sent in email or text message format to yourself! Also, for Mac users, try Eloquent Bible Study, located at

    • Joe Plemon

      Blake — thanks for the tips. Our church has an email prayer list which keeps us current with our intercessory prayers. Would echo somehow make this process more streamlined?

    • Blake

      Joe – echo prayer is more of a personal solution. I don’t believe you can send mass emails or texts with it.If one person is currently in charge of the email prayer list at your church, they could use echo prayer themselves and then forward the emails or texts, I suppose.

    • Joe Plemon

      Thanks for the explanation. I plan to check into echo prayer…sounds like a great tool.

  2. Troy

    That is excellent advice for all of us. Bible reading and prayer.

  3. Connie

    I’ve been writing my prayers by hand for decades-ever since my church youth leader encouraged us to do it on a week long retreat. I’ve been blessed beyond belief to be able to look back and see that God has faithfully been with me all along the way. One way I’ve used over the years to keep me balanced is the acronym ACTS–adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. I try not to be legalistic with it but it does help focus my thoughts. I think I’ll go look into E-Sword and sign up for Operation World’s daily email. Thanks for the encouragement brother!

    • Joe Plemon

      I have also been a “prayer journaler”…I have filled several spiral bound notebooks. But, for me, typing my prayers better dovetails with my Operation World daily email and, of course, my trusty E-Sword. A-C-T-S is very similar to what I use and although some people might think it is too structured, I personally love the structure. Besides, I don’t HAVE to follow that outline every day…there are times when I just want to “free lance” my prayers and, of course, that is perfectly fine.

      I hope you give E-Sword a try. You will not be disappointed!

  4. Pamela

    I used to write out prayers in my early years of being a Christian. Then I started using the Lord’s prayer outline. This has made a big difference in my time with the Lord. I also study the Word and look for scriptures that relate to me and my circumstances. More and more I also find it necessary to pray the scriptures – speaking what God says about me. These ways have not only helped me to focus during my prayer time but has built my faith in God as I confess His word and receive His answers to my requests.

    Great post on prayer.

    • Joe Plemon

      I love using the Lord’s prayer as an outline for personal prayer. My own prayer format is largely derived from the Lord’s prayer. Also, like you, I have learned more and more to make God’s word part of my daily prayer time. That is why I like having e-Sword open and ready.

  5. Susan Cooper

    Thank you. I struggle with this and found your suggestions useful and helpful. Writing my prayers on the computer is such an elegantly simple thing to do. :), Susan

    • Joe Plemon

      “Elegantly simple”…I love that phrase. After you have tried typing out your prayers for awhile, let me know what you think. A side benefit is the ability to search your prayers. For example, if you want to check every time you have mentioned a certain person over the months or years, do a search. It is often very encouraging to see how the Lord has been answering those prayers.

  6. Jeff Crews

    I have recently been thinking about starting a whole other company based on Scripture reading and prayer. Do you think accountability through the Internet could be good/useful?

    • Joe Plemon

      Sure, but I am not nearly tech savvy enough to know how to do something like that. Still, if I knew I was being held accountable, I would probably be more apt to follow through on my commitments.

    • Jeff Crews

      Yea, I am not tech savy at all. That is why our company has programmers. It’s still in the brainstorming process. I think it could be a great idea/service for people.

    • Joe Plemon

      Great, Jeff. Once it is up and going, let me know. I would be willing to give it a go.

  7. franklin castellino

    Just found your site, and liked it. I find it very difficult to pray, so I tried out this method and find it useful, so far. I have copied the worship songs I like onto a pen drive and play them on a small pen drive player. I pray along with the songs.

    • Joe Plemon

      Thanks for sharing this tip. I think you are onto something: worship songs are a great way to praise God. However, praise is just one element of prayer, so I hope you are also including Confession, Intercession and Petition in your prayer life.

  8. Cece

    Thanks for the prayer tips Joe. I regularly find my mind wandering away and typing them out could be a great tool, not only for staying focused, be organizing thoughts. Can you tell me how to set up the Macro? Also, I downloaded a free Holy bible app on my iPhone and it has worked wonders keeping me on track with reading through the bible.

    • Joe Plemon

      Cece — I hope you try typing your prayers … let us know how it goes. And I am thrilled that your iPhone bible app is working wonders to keep you on track. About setting up the Macro, I am not sure I am able to explain it here, but I will give it a stab. I use Microsoft Word, so whatever word processing program you use is going to be different. In Word, I click “Tools”, then “Macro” and then “Record New Macro”. Basically, whatever you record at that point will be your Macro. You can assign it a keystroke (I use Alt/P) so that whenever I want to set up my prayer outline I simply “P” while holding down the Alt key, and presto: my Thanksgiving, Praise, Confession, Intercession and Petition headlines all show up. I hope that helps!

  9. Catherine

    Thank you for a truly inspiratonal post. I will definitely try most, if not all of your ideas. Why not include the computer in our prayer time? Tools are there for the using. (It strikes me, reading what you’ve written that ‘workflowy’ would be an ideal format for prayer writing… Especially if you’re not using it for anything else)

    • Joe Plemon

      Thank you Catherine, for your encouraging words. I hope they help your prayer life.
      Not sure what ‘workflowy” is, but let us know if it is helpful for you.

  10. Cheri Lazanis

    Thank you for all the info.
    I have added Operation World. I have the book, but on-line is faster for me.
    I’m going to try typing out my prayers. I want to record God’s answers. I’ve only kept a mental record and my memory is not what it used to be.
    I’d like to mention for an amazing number of Bible reading programs in numerous languages, and Apps for smart phones. You can also listen to the Scriptures, a blessing for those who are visually impaired. They keep track of your reading, encourage you when you’re keeping up and alert you when you’re falling behind. Their goal is to have the whole world reading the Bible. With the explosion of cell phones in third world countries I am imagining that as soon as a new translation of the Bible becomes available it can be put in the hands of people much faster.
    Thank you again.

    • Joe Plemon

      Cheri — Let us know what you think about typing your prayers. And thanks for the YouVersion tip. As you say, they have an amazing web site and great bible apps for smart phones.