On Prayer – and Prayer Apps

OK, so I just came across this recent Christian press release – about prayer Apps. Yep, prayer apps. It seems some company with a bit of ingenuity has come up with a new application to help you in your prayer life. The app is for smartphones, and is a free download.

Here is what part of the company’s press release says: “ORA NET LLC announces its Ora prayer app is now available for Android smartphones in the Google Play store. Android users can now join the initiative to use a disruptive technology to promote the oldest form of recognized religious expression in the Christian and Jewish faiths – prayer.

“The ORA system creates a personal mobile experience for the individual and an enterprise-quality community management platform for any organization to invite, connect, share, respond and interact with one another in intercessory prayer.

“‘ORA’s technology gives us the ability to do so much more to leverage existing social networks and mobile devices to connect individuals in the most meaningful relationship they can have with others and with God. And now that technology is available to an even larger group of smartphone users in a secure, private setting,’ said Jeff Bone, Chief Marketing Officer for ORA.

“The Bellingham, WA, company introduced what many have called the most revolutionary development for the faith community to be released in decades. ‘We all maintain a number of social and spiritual connections within a broad community that includes our favorite people and our favorite places of worship and ministry.

“‘ORA collects, organizes, tracks, reminds, connects and securely shares prayer requests and answers with anyone you choose. Android is the largest and fastest growing segment of smartphone users in the world and we are pleased to be able to offer this to the Android community as well,’ stated Dusty Gulleson, ORA Chief Executive Officer.”

So what are we to think of this? Well, let me begin by saying that there is nothing wrong with Christians embracing new technologies which may be of help in their Christian walk. An obvious example of this are the various Bible apps now available.

Having the Bible on your smartphone can be very helpful indeed, and I use one such app myself. And I suppose that a prayer app such as this may be of some use as well. Indeed, one might argue that anything that gets Christians to pray is a good thing.

But that seems to be the real issue here: the fact that so many Christians are so prayerless. It seems that this is the core issue which must be addressed here, and I am not sure that an app like this really addresses this fundamental problem. Indeed, might it even be counterproductive?

That is, the temptation might be for people to just press a button or two on their phone, believing they have in fact engaged in some serious prayer and intercession. Just as many folks may be tempted to think that by pressing the “like” button on a Facebook post, they have contributed to some important cause, the same might happen here.

The reality is, there are far too many Christians who simply do not pray – or if they do, it is either a quick “God help! I am in a jam” sort of prayer, or a quick “God bless the world” sort of prayer. Those involved in sustained, deep, and regular prayer are very rare in the Body of Christ.

And don’t get me wrong here. I am not claiming to be some mighty prayer warrior. And there are those select believers who do feel a calling to make intercessory prayer the major focus of their calling, and of their life. So some great saints may spend most of their day in such prayer.

Not all of us are called into such a fulltime ministry of prayer. But we all can of course pray far more than we now are. We all can make it much more of a priority than it now is. And I include myself here. I too need to pray more, and make it a greater priority than so many of the other good things I am involved in.

So if this app actually helps people in their prayer life, then more power to those who made it. But I have a feeling it will do little to cure our mega-problem of prayerlessness. With that in mind, perhaps the only real helpful thing I can do here is to offer some powerful quotes on prayer as I conclude this piece.

We all need to be inspired, challenged and provoked to pray more. May these words help us all to seek to do just that. And given the very important writing on this subject by E. M. Bounds, let me begin with him, and then add a few others:

“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” E. M. Bounds

“The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men. . . . What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use, men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men – men of prayer.” E. M. Bounds

“All the true revivals have been born in prayer. When God’s people become so concerned about the state of religion that they lie on their faces day and night in earnest supplication, the blessing will be sure to fall.” E.M. Bounds

“Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, and honor of a Christian.” C.H. Spurgeon

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” Samuel Chadwick

“Prayer needs neither learning, wisdom or book knowledge to begin it. It needs nothing but heart and will.” J.C. Ryle

“You will find that the outstanding characteristic of all the most saintly people the world has ever known has been that they have not only spent much time in private prayer, but have also delighted in it.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Always respond to every impulse to pray. The impulse to pray may come when you are reading or when you are battling with a text. I would make an absolute law of this – always obey such an impulse.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“I’d rather be able to pray than to be a great preacher. Jesus Christ never taught his disciples how to preach, but only how to pray.” D. L. Moody

“I don’t often spend more than half an hour in prayer at one time. But I never go more than half an hour without praying.” Smith Wigglesworth

“The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.” F.B. Meyer

“I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.” John Wesley

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” Corrie Ten Boom


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5 Replies to “On Prayer – and Prayer Apps”

  1. Dear Bill, The initials ORA is the Latin term for pray, but that will never replace a Christian actually praying to God through their Faith and belief, rather than through modern technology. This is my honest opinion.
    Regards, Franklin Wood

  2. Thanks Bill for reminding us to give prayer a priority. It’s also important to look for answers to our prayers and praise God for them.

    Sid Avery

  3. Prayer – all too often talked about but not prayed often enough!

    John Wigg

  4. ora is the imperative singular. It is a command to an individual to pray. It can also mean a command to plead or beg. Interestingly oro (I pray) can refer to speaking as an orator. So perhaps the Latin word does have a stronger emphasis on the spoken word than the English. One of the best ways to learn about prayer is to gather together with other believers and to pray with them.
    Matt Vinay

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