Technology and Prayer
Many are the woes of modern technology. Being constantly available wears on us as there is less and less down time. Our attention spans seem much shorter as our phones and pads tempt us to jump from one bit of information to another. Families have a harder and harder time actually talking to each other as teenagers and adults alike constantly check their electronic devices. We are more connected to the world at large, perhaps, but less and less connected to those close to us. It can even interfere with our relationship with God. I am no longer surprised when I see people checking their phones during worship, as that has become more of an accepted practice. Technology can take us away from that which is most important.
Technology, however, is now something that also aids my prayer life and that of many others. There are a number of applications and websites that offer us the ability to study and reflect in a more efficient and transportable way. As I share some ways technology helps me in my daily spiritual discipline, I invite you to consider and share your own technological spiritual aids.
Forwardmovement.org is an offering of the Episcopal Church. For many years Forward Day by Day has been a helpful publication for many of us. For my entire life their little pamphlets have been on the tract rack in whatever church I attended. Now the website, for me, has replaced the little booklets. Each day a meditation is offered by a different author each month. One click at the end of the meditation reveals the three scripture readings for the day and the psalms appointed. If there is a saint being remembered on that day, another click reveals very helpful historical background. It sure is easier than carrying a prayer book and a bible everywhere I go.
Kindle helps me every day. I have my favorite meditation book there: The Language of Letting Go by Melodie Beattie. You can have your favorite devotional book right on your phone or pad or laptop.
Each day I access Richard Rohr’s daily meditation at cac.org. You can sign up for his daily meditation to be sent to you from the Center for Action and Contemplation. Rohr is a contemplative Roman Catholic priest who reminds us that both/and is usually a better approach than either/or. He helps me see the goodness in places I have dismissed or ignored.
The Enneagram has become a vital tool for spiritual growth for me and many others. Enneagraminstitute.com provides a daily thought for each enneagram type. Discovering your enneagram type and daily reflecting on how your attributes reveal themselves in healthy and unhealthy ways helps us become more aware of our potential path toward transformation. Marriages are enriched as spouses come to understand each other’s types. The Enneagram Institute will send both of you a brief thought for the day for each of your types. The things both of you need to work on are spelled out in very helpful terms.
In your app store there is a great little tool for contemplative prayer, the Centering Prayer app. The app gives me a gentle tone of a singing bowl repeated three times, then counts down 20 minutes (less or more as your choose), and then brings me out of the silence with the gentle tone repeated three more times. Centering Prayer is a remarkable practice which results in more peace, acceptance, and clarity. You can do it without the app but I find the quality of my centering time magnified by the technology. It’s how I put down my device and sit with God, seeking to move from information to transformation.
Lectionarypage.net shows the liturgical calendar and the Eucharistic scripture readings for each Sunday and Feast Day. Very helpful for getting the church’s liturgical year a little deeper inside us. Also, St. John’s sends out the Sunday readings each week and the weekly newsletter message. More and more we depend on people being on our email list (stjohnsmontgomery.org) to communicate with them. Most every day we also share something on Facebook which we hope will benefit your spiritual development.
The Book of Common Prayer and the Bible itself are both available for download or access by your phone, pad, or computer. When you’re curious about something you can search for it so easily.
Reading the news each day (rather than watching vomitus 24 hour news) allows us not only to be responsibly informed but also connects our deepest prayers with those in need all around the globe.
Daily meditation, prayer, and reflection is simply a requirement for spiritual growth. It doesn’t just happen on its own. Technology aids or not, perhaps this will encourage you to begin or continue your daily time of connecting with God.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.
Special Events Around the Corner
Honduras Medical Mission Trip – July 22-29
Blessing of Backpacks – August 13
EYC Parents’ Meeting – August 20 at noon
Young Adults’ Supper Club – August 24 at 6:30 pm
Family Promise Speaker – August 27 at 9:15 am
Fall Kickoff Sunday – September 10
Men’s Group Starts – September 11 at 6:15 pm
Organ Recital by Joel Gregory – September 14 at 7:00 pm
Family Promise – Homeless Family Ministry – September 17-24
Blessing of the Animals – October 1 at 5:00 pm
Evensong – October 15 at 4:00 pm
Halloween Carnival – October 25 at 6:00 pm
Bazaar – November 15
Ordination to the Priesthood for Jamie Osborne – November 18 at 11:00 am
Handel’s Messiah – December 8 at 7:00 pm