One of the brilliant things that technology brings is the potential to make things accessible and by virtue of this accessibility make them commonplace and one of the best areas this can be seen is in that of prayer.
Prayer is perhaps one of the most over-claimed and under-done areas in the lives of so many of those I encounter. I'm assuming that's a statement that will confuse and perhaps inflame some reading this, but it is the truth. Let me explain (yeah, you'd better I hear you mutter) ...
Whenever I talk about prayer, those in the conversation will nod sagely and agree that it's the oxygen of Christian living and that it is not only essential, but is a given that they do it. 'Of course we're praying,' they say. So I ask what they're praying at the moment and whether they pray alone or with partners or in triplets, prayer groups or something else. It's about now they shuffle a little more and mumble a bit and then tell me that they 'did it' , errrr, 'Last week (I think) ... ' Then it all goes quiet.
Now I don't ask to put people on the spot or to make them feel got at. I don't do it to tell them to pray, because I don't have to, they already know that conversation with the other party in a relationship is one of the ways of keeping thy relationship real and engaged. We all now we 'should' pray but we also have lives, families, things to do, televisions and so many other distractions that crowd in to stop us praying - and this is not an accident. I happen to believe that stuff getting in the way is part of a planned strategy that seeks to get in the way.
So how do we overcome this? Well part of the answer is immediacy and accessibility and this, coupled with desire, is ninety percent of the battle. The good news is that the immediacy and accessibility come in the shape of texts and Web presence, such as blogs).
One of the reasons this blog carries a shortened form of the daily office morning prayer is to make it available for those who find time during the day when they can read their Bibles and engage in prayer. Another thing that we have tried in our church is sending out by text the daily readings and the name (or names) of those who we are praying for that day. This helps those who want to pray have the passages directly or in a form they can use with their own Bibles as part of their daily devotional life.
There are so many ways we can use technology to help those who want to pray and study the word do so, and I've just come across another great system which uses QR codes (more on that over en next couple of days) and yet another which sends emails out every morning to subscribers.
I'd welcome any ways you have come across that work because at the end of the day, the more methods open to us, the more effective we can be in finding the way that works for someone and the reality is that I really do believe the desire is there in so many of us, it's just the opportunity and availability.
And prayer, although one of the main keys to revival and effective discipleship, is even more important as the primary means of communication in the relation that we have between us and God, for without it we are left with religion - and who wants rules you can't keep and confirmation that you need saving every day?