“Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.”Regardless of how you did with your 2016 resolutions (I only accomplished 38% of mine – but that’s for another post) here are some of the key apps my soul definitely appreciates each day of the year. I share them with you at the start of 2017 in hope that they might be an aide in helping you enhance your resolutions in light of your own Christian formation. I would love for you to share your favorite formational app in the comments section of this post.
– Christian Lous Lange
The Bible App
This is my go-to app for the Scriptures on my phone. I use the app and the matching website version on a daily basis. At church on Sunday, I can easily switch between translations or passages. During the week, so I don’t have to worry about spilling on my phone during lunch, I can listen to a passage instead of reading it with a simple click. Be sure to browse their curated Bible reading plans. They can be a bit on the marketing side but there are still plenty of good ones to choose from. I love the variety and ease of use once you choose one. For 2017 I’m switching it up for my own reading each day and using this variation of Scottish pastor Robert Murray M’Cheyne's (1813-1843) Bible reading plan.
For some that share my flavor of Christianity, Centering Prayer might be a new concept. For this post, I’d like to simply bring attention to this app for those who are ready to engage in this challenging and revealing form of prayer for themselves. I especially appreciate how the app lets you customize your centering prayer experience from the opening prayer and sound, to the duration of the timer for the silent prayer time, and then choosing a closing prayer. If you are new to Centering Prayer, you can read a paper I wrote that gives you an overview of the history and how to practice centering prayer for yourself.
Pray As You Go
Pray As You Go is an app version of the website by the same name. I have a strong affinity towards Ignatian Spirituality and this is perhaps why I use this app on a regular basis as it is run by the Jesuits. Pray As You Go helps me appreciate and experience music, perspectives, and Christian formational practices that are not as familiar within my flavor of Christianity. Each day starts out with a musical selection, passage of Scripture and then guided reflection, all within about a ten to thirteen minute time frame - perfect to use at the start of lunch each day.
So Evernote is one of my favorite apps that helps me to, "Remember everything," as their marketing line goes. I use it to focus my attention on Sunday's as I take notes of each message I hear. It's great to collect questions, thoughts, and comments to share at small group next week. I also love how it integrates with my web browser and I can easily collect and save "clips" from any web page to Evernote as needed. Each of these general subjects can be organized into their own "notebook" and synced across my devices, from phone, to laptop, to iPad. If I need to find that thought, question or idea a simple search recalls it for me.
Day One has been my journaling app for the last several years. I do my best to capture a few thoughts, questions or observations from my daily Scripture readings. Couldn't I do the same in Evernote? Yes, perhaps. But since Day One is Password protected I tend to disclose a little more revealing bits about myself. And those bits that really need to be processed, I can highlight to easily find when I meet with my spiritual director each month. I get it journaling isn't for everyone but there are few things that are as helpful to understand and process those aspects of your heart and soul that are still being held back from God. Psalm 139:23-24 is the catalyst as to why I make myself journal, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."