I don’t know about you, but I wish I prayed more. I need to pray more. My Facebook feed is full of prayer requests from precious friends and family members. And all of their friends and families. And all of our church families. So many people in need.
But sometimes I forget. Or I worry instead of praying. Sometimes I get overwhelmed. I feel like I need to spend a certain amount of time in prayer or pray a certain way… only I never have that much time … or the opportunity to pray that way.
Lately I’ve been trying something different, something new. I thought I’d share it with you!
Sometime last year, I came across this great suggestion: Use your cell phone alerts to remind you to pause and pray throughout the day.
The idea is to use the timer function and set it to go off every hour. (You could also use a wristwatch with an alarm feature or a kitchen timer. Or download a special app for your smartphone from iTunes.)
When the timer goes off, wherever you are — whatever you’re doing — you stop. And you pray. For just a few seconds. A few minutes, if you have them.
I’ve been trying it and I’ve found that it’s an amazingly effective way to remind myself to return to the feet of Jesus throughout the day. No matter what’s on my to do list, no matter what else is going on around me, it constantly brings my focus back to Him. And even though it’s not hours and hours of uninterrupted intercession, it’s a lot more praying than I usually find time to do!
There are three different ways I’ve discovered that I like to use this discipline.
1. To dedicate a day of prayer (and often fasting) to a specific person or need. Every time I hear the alert, I pray for that particular individual or issue God has put on my heart. The theme is the same all day, but my hourly prayers vary. For instance, I might pray for a friend’s marriage one time, and for her health another time, and for her work or her finances the time after that.
2. To pray a specific Scriptural prayer throughout the day. I take a Scripture or Scripture prayer God has impressed on my heart — one I really want to meditate on and reflect on throughout the day. Like the Lord’s Prayer, or Psalm 23, or Psalm 51, or Psalm 139, for instance. And whenever the alert goes off, I repeat those same words in prayer.
3. To pray spontaneously — as God leads — for whatever He brings to my heart and mind. The alert goes off and I start praying… for the project I’m working on at the moment, the person whose email I’m responding to or whose call I’m about to return. The crisis in the news. The driver in front of me. The subject of the Facebook post. I pray for financial provision as I’m opening my bills, a thankful heart as I put on a load of laundry. If I happen to be talking to a friend or family member (and it’s appropriate) I’ll invite them to share a prayer request and pray with them on the spot, dedicating that particular prayer time to them.
The more I consciously remind myself to bring everything to Jesus in prayer, the more often I do it even without the reminder. It starts to become a habit, which is fabulous! Because that’s what this life is all about… growing closer to Him, developing that intimate relationship with Him.
Prayer is one of the most powerful ways that happens.
Honestly I can’t set my cell phone timer prayer alerts every day — or all day — but I do it whenever I can, to train my heart to continually turn to Him.
Because whenever I do, I’m blessed.
My phone lets me choose a tone for my prayer alerts, and the one I’ve chosen sounds like bells ringing. Almost exactly like the bells you’ll hear about sixty seconds into the video below. That’s the association that comes to mind whenever I hear it… I’m expecting nuns from The Sound of Music to burst into joyful allelluias at any moment!
When you set your cell phone prayer alerts, try to choose a sound that’s meaningful (or at least positive and peaceful) to you…
So how do you make more time in your day for prayer and meditation? I’d love to hear your ideas!