Do you think of your smartphone when you think of prayer practices? It’s easy to see that our society is addicted to our phones. We can barely go ten minutes without checking to see if we’ve gotten a text. And standing in line at the grocery store now means scrolling through our Facebook feeds.
As Christians, who are called to be counter-cultural, it is important to take intentional time away from technology. Ancient Christian practices like centering prayer, breath prayer, praying with prayer beads, chanting a simple prayer, and many others encourage us to put down the phone and connect with God.
Find time each day to be disconnected from your phone, in order to be more connected to God. That doesn’t mean that your smartphone can’t also be a window into prayer! Try these prayer practices:
Finding God: Throughout your day, take simple photos of where you experience God. Maybe you find peace in a quiet moment in the morning, or feel part of something bigger than you when you’re in choir rehearsal, or feel connected to God when you’re outside. Perhaps you take a photo of a moment when you feel God is challenging you, or calling you to something. Snap a photo and put them in an album. You can look back on this record of where you’ve seen God in your life. Share the photos with a friend or family, or post them online for others to see.
D365: Make d365.org your homepage when you open your internet browser. Every day of the year you’ll find a short, simple devotional to begin your day, to center you in the middle of hectic meetings, or to point you toward faith in the grocery line. It’s based on the church calendar, so you’ll be connected to the rhythm of the church worldwide.
Meditation timer: Download a free meditation timer from the app store. I like Insight Timer – it has a selection of bells and bowl sounds that you can choose to mark the beginning and end of a meditation. Not sure how you feel about meditating? Silence sounds intimidating? Set a timer for five minutes, once a day. Don’t worry about doing anything right, just notice your breath. When you notice your mind wandering, gently bring your attention back to your breath. There are also many guided meditations in the app, and it shows you how many people throughout the world are mediating with you right now. This morning, I meditated with 3,370 people from all across the globe!
Praying your Facebook feed: In I Thessalonians, Paul urges us to “pray without ceasing.” Even your scrolls through your Facebook feed can be prayerful – all it takes is a shift in perspective. When you see a friend post about an accomplishment, lift up a prayer of thanksgiving. When a family member posts something political that makes you crazy, thank God for the diversity of the human family, and try to put yourself in their shoes.
Be creative – there’s no wrong or right way to pray. God wants to be connected with you throughout your day, even in the seemingly mundane Facebook scroll. Invite God in, and experience the transformation.