A few years ago, I had a conversation with a friend about how someone she knew
bragged about using an app instead of going to church. Since my friend was an active
churchgoer, she could not understand how you could get the same sense of spiritual intimacy with God by using a smartphone. She explained how she could see how using digital and live streaming services could provide a way for those who could not get to church because of work, illness, or another reason to enjoy the worship experience. Fast forward to where we are now and using social media as part of worship has become the norm.
In many ways, I agreed with my friend about how hard it is to duplicate the powerful
transformation that takes place during a church service with a smartphone app. But like so many others, I use my smartphone for many things, including daily devotionals for
encouragement, and see the benefits of churches using social media as part of their outreach. I agree with my friend that reading a daily inspirational word from a smartphone app is not the same as being in church. However, the last year of worshipping online has made me realize that connection with God is not limited to a building; God’s presence can find us anywhere if we are open to receiving it.
After our conversation, I continued to think about how God has already given us an APP
that we can use whether or not we have a smartphone. God’s APP is the Appointed Purposeful Prayer (APP). A smartphone must have enough memory (space), and often wireless internet and data to access an app. Likewise, we must be empty enough of our stuff (emotional and spiritual baggage) as well as open enough to talk to and receive from God. I’ve been through seasons in my life where because of my baggage, I didn’t want to pray to God and even if I had prayed, the prayer would not have been answered because of the wrong motivations. James 4:2-3 warns us about asking for things with the wrong intentions. But letting go of my baggage and submitting myself to hear His will changed my life because I was then able to use God’s APP.
A search for the word prayer in the Bible shows that there are over 150 references for
the word prayer and over 360 for the word pray. Out of these references, there are details of the various types of prayer like the prayer of thanksgiving (Colossians 1:3), the prayer of repentance (Psalm 51), and of course, the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).
God’s APP is appointed because it is prayed at the right time and in the right season of
your life, purposeful because it focuses on God-ordained tasks and prayer is the most effective method of communication with God. Using God’s APP doesn’t guarantee that you will always get the things that you want when you want them. But like any app, it will keep you connected… when you need it the most.
Shewanda Riley is a Dallas-based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.” Email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.