During our Lenten sermon series / book discussion called "The Walk," we explored the spiritual practice of daily worship and prayer. We named as a part of this discussion that worship and prayer can occur both communally and individually.
A modern-day challenge the Church faces is how to ensure that individual worship / prayer are both accessible and exciting for people. Speaking out of my own experience, sometimes I feel like I just don't know where to turn in the Scriptures, or what exact type of prayer to use for my morning time of meditation/prayer. This can cause what some call "decision paralysis," which is a real thing I can experience when it's 6:00 AM and I have a lot of other things on my mind for the coming day.
Here's another scenario I encounter: it's 6:00 AM, I've been using the Book of Common Prayer for my morning prayers for a week, but I feel like I'd like to try something different for the sake of variety. An analogy is that no one wants to eat the same breakfast every morning (well, some people do, so more power to you if that's you!).
Pray As You Go (free) is a relatively new website and iOS/Android app produced by an order of Jesuit Priests in Britain. What's wonderful about the app is that it's as easy as opening it and hitting the play button. Then, a professionally produced, ~12-minute meditation/prayer time is facilitated via a variety of both classical and modern Christian music, Scripture readings, thoughtful questions, and excellent readers.
The app addresses both of my concerns above: it's easy to use, thus avoiding the "decision paralysis" issue; it also changes up the daily reading based on the lectionary, music to accompany the reading, and the questions pertaining to the reading. So, it's different every morning! There is even a beautiful image of nature to greet you for each meditation.
I spoke with another pastor colleague about the Pray As You Go app. She shared that what she values about it is that someone else offers her spiritual nourishment in a high-quality, theologically sound fashion on a daily basis, thus filling her to offer spiritual nourishment to others throughout her day. Regardless of whether one is lay or clergy, we are all called to pour into the lives of others, but we all have to have something to "pour" in order to do this. Pray As You Go can be a simple way of allowing God's grace to pour into your heart with more regularity and intentionality, thus empowering you for ministry throughout the rest of your day.
I certainly don't mean to imply in this post that Pray As You Go is the one-and-only option for individual meditation/prayer. I view this as one of many resources/practices I pull on for my morning time with God. Here are a few other examples you might consider exploring in conjunction with this app:
There are other spiritual practices we all can explore, but these are my go-tos. I would love to hear from you in terms of what helps you connect with God on a daily basis? There is no right-or-wrong with spiritual practices; it's all about exploring what helps you relate to God in a natural and restorative manner
Blessings to you all on your spiritual walks.
Holy Week blessings,
Scott S. Himel, Senior Pastor