Many of us Christians go through life with a vague sense of guilt that we’d like to be praying more. We long to be more prayerful for our own godliness and the things going on in our life; we long to be more prayerful for our families and for our church; we see the political turmoil going on around us and the daily potential for a serious breakdown in international relations and know that we ought to be praying for our world leaders more often than we do; we long to be people with a bold and prayerful vision for world mission. And yet here I am once again sitting on the sofa reading Facebook.
Prayer is hard work. The Apostle Paul compares it to a wrestling match. Through the ages, Christians have leaned on tools to help them in their prayer lives. For many, that means a simple list of names on a piece of paper. In his excellent book “A Call to Spiritual Reformation” Don Carson describes how he uses a prayer folder with a mixture of people he prays for every day and others who he rotates through over a longer period. In “A Praying Life”, Paul Miller talks about how he employs a stack of index cards, one for each person. Now that we have smart phones at our disposal, there is another tool at our disposal to help us pray: the PrayerMate app.
At its heart, PrayerMate is really just a series of digital prayer lists. It fits very well with John Piper’s model of “praying in concentric circles” — lists are prayed through in order, so by default PrayerMate begins with a list of “Biblical prayers” to help you focus your thoughts on God and who he is. Then it moves to “My Walk With God” where you could build yourself a list of character traits and areas of personal godliness that you wish to pray about. The next list moves further out to “My Family”, then “My Church”, and so on, ending with the outermost circle of “World Mission”.
You can easily customise your lists, deleting ones that you don’t need or adding new ones to reflect different areas of responsibility in your life. As your lists grow you could consider having an entire list just related to your spouse or for your job, for example.
Once you have chosen what lists you want, you can then start filling up your lists with all of the things that you want to pray for under each heading. You might have a “My Small Group” list and then you add each member of your group as a subject on that list. You can add them by typing them manually; you can add several subjects at once using the “Enter a list of names” button; or you can select people from your address book to automatically import them along with any photos you might have associated with those contacts.
A subject is basically anything that you want to be praying for. Feeling anxious about something? Add it as a subject in PrayerMate! Struggling with a particular sin in your life? Add it as a subject. Do you read the Bible one-to-one with a student? Add them as a subject. Have an important meeting that happens regularly every Thursday morning? Add it as a subject and use the “Scheduling mode” subject setting to make it appear every Thursday for prayer.
Once you have captured all of these different prayer needs, the real value of PrayerMate is how it then helps you narrow all of those topics down to a small selection that you can then pray through on any given day. Each time you start to pray it generates a “prayer session” — a selection from across all of your lists with as many or as few subjects as you like. PrayerMate balances its selection so that you don’t just end up praying for lots of things from one list — instead you pray for a whole range of topics, whilst prioritising the things you haven’t prayed for in a while so that over time you can be confident of praying through everything.
For those who like a bit more control, you can customise the settings. For example, you can force PrayerMate to always include one item from your “Biblical prayers” list and two items from your “My family” list. You can also schedule items to appear on certain dates, certain days of the week/month, or with higher or lower priority.
Ready-made content and organisations
Whilst the heart of PrayerMate is being able to add subjects for prayer to lists, sometimes you want a bit of inspiration to know what you should be praying for. PrayerMate also incorporates over 350 different organisations — both churches and Christian charities — as well as downloadable prayers from organisations such as The Gospel Coalition and Desiring God. We have the Operation World “Country of the Day” feed to help you pray for the advance of the gospel throughout the world, the “Joshua Project” for unreached people of the day, Church of England Collects, feeds to give you a Psalm a Day, or various feeds based on “Take Words With You” to help you Praise God or Confess Sin.
You can also get your own church or organisation signed up to start sharing a prayer feed through the PrayerMate Platform.
For those of us who struggle to even remember to pray, PrayerMate allows you to set one or more prayer reminders throughout the day to prompt you to pray.
Prayer is one of the greatest privileges of the Christian life — in prayer, we get to talk to the creator of the universe as our Father! The PrayerMate app is a great tool to help bring some order to the huge number of concerns that we could be praying about. It can’t do all the hard work for you — but it can lend a helping hand.
Get PrayerMate for free now at http://app.prayermate.net/