I’ve noticed this unfortunate truth about myself as a fallen human being: When I drift away from reading the Bible or praying, it’s difficult to start up again. I don’t understand why this is, but coming back to it is like fighting my way through a field of molasses. I resist it. I avoid it. None of this makes sense to me since I often feel more spiritually and intellectually satisfied, more peaceful and in awe of God, after I seriously pray or read the Bible. I enjoy it once I start. I’m certainly never sorry I’ve spent my time that way, and yet for some crazy reason, when I’ve been away from it, I resist coming back.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you might experience this, too. The best way I’ve found to fight this is to work at creating strong, consistent habits in both Bible reading and prayer in order to avoid the uphill battle of stopping and starting over and over. Maintaining a spiritual habit is much easier than starting one, so it’s best to start it once and then maintain it day by day for the long term.
To help you with this in 2015, I’m recommending two free apps that have been indispensable to me:
- The Bible Companion App: This app tracks your consistency (I work to keep every day checked off in the ten-day display at the top of the app!) as well as your reading. What I love about this app is that I’m able to work my way through the Bible in whatever order I prefer, and it can show me at a glance what I’ve read and what I have left to go so I never lose track. When every book in the Bible is finished, I simply reset them to zero and start again. (You can reset one book at a time, as well, in case you want to follow a plan that involves something like what I describe in the first paragraph here.)
There are a few other bells and whistles (you can now set and track goals for things like prayer and time spent reading other books—both helpful!), but I love the simplicity of it. It works, it’s motivating, and it keeps me faithful. To learn more about what it can do, see their instructional videos—although, it’s simple enough to figure out most of it on your own.
- PrayerMate: I wrote about this app back in October, and I’m still thrilled with it. You use this app by creating categories (family, work, friends, etc.) and then adding individual prayer requests into each category as you think of them. Each day, PrayerMate assembles a collection of prayer subjects, according to how many you’ve requested it show you from each category. This means you don’t have to be afraid to add new prayer subjects into the app because your daily list will never get too long—it always remains roughly the same length as you rotate through all the requests for each category, a few at a time.
You can designate certain prayers for certain days of the week, easily archive prayers, and look back at what you’ve prayed for recently. You can even subscribe to a feed of prayers from or for certain organizations. (Learn more about how to use it here.)
May God bless your new year through prayer and the Bible!