Category Archives: prayermate

PrayerMate: The Next Generation

PrayerMate LogoFor the past six months I have slowly been chipping away on a major new update to the PrayerMate app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Today I am thrilled to announce that v3.0 is now live on the App Store – and though I say this every time, it really is the most exciting version yet! Here is an overview of the new features you’ll find.

Subscribe to online prayer diaries

uccfUntil now, PrayerMate has focussed on letting you enter your own personal prayer points. Now, in addition to that, you can also browse a gallery of prayer feeds from organisations such as Open Doors, who provide bulletins from the persecuted church around the world; UCCF The Christian Unions; Christians in Sport; Church Society; and a number of local churches. The PrayerMate app will then automatically download new content every time it is published, helping you be faithful in prayer for the organisations you care about.

Any church or organisation can request to be added to the gallery – all you need is an iCal feed (if you’re using Google Calendar) or if that’s not possible, then an RSS feed (as generated by most popular blogging platforms). Alternatively, there is also a new companion website, http://www.prayermate.net/, which makes it incredibly easy for churches to publish their prayer points online by simply copying and pasting from your church bulletin or newsletter.

New features for new users

I’ve made a few tweaks to make it easier for new users to get up and running more quickly: improved default data, including a few tips on using the app; a link to the “getting started” blog post; and a new “Quick add” feature that lets you create lots of subjects in one go by simply selecting entries from your address book. Linking a subject to an address book entry will now also pull in any associated images from that contact.

Send SMS messages whilst praying

Once you have linked a subject to a contact in your address book, you can now send both emails and SMS text messages to that person whilst praying for them by pressing and holding on their card.

Improved Dropbox syncing

Whilst this version of the app does not yet support continually keeping two devices in sync automatically, it does pave the way for that functionality in the next major update (I promise that this is top of my list of priorities!) It does, however, improve the Dropbox import/export functionality so that it no longer duplicates your data each time you use it, but will reuse existing categories and subjects as long as the names have not been altered.

 

And in case you hadn’t noticed it, PrayerMate now also has a shiny new logo, designed by the wonderful Dan Gould.

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If you’ve found PrayerMate helpful, and you live in the UK, please consider nominating it for the Christian New Media Awards so that even more people can hear about it.

Independent Businesses on the Web

At Hubbub, we help small independent shops compete with the supermarkets, because we believe this leads to thriving local communities. There was a great article on A List Apart this week taking that same principle as a metaphor for businesses on the web:

I am happy with my small shopkeeper status. I talk and write about bootstrapping because I want to show other developers that there is a sane and achievable route to launching a product, a route that doesn’t involve chasing funding rounds or becoming beholden to a board of investors. I love the fact that decisions for my product can be made by the two of us, based on the discussions we have with our customers. If we had investors hoping for a return on their investment, it would be a very different product by now, and I don’t think a better one.

I think it is important for those of us succeeding at this to talk about it.

I found the article fascinating on the back of a year working at Hubbub, but also as an independent developer essentially running my own software company on the side. This has been a fantastic year for my PrayerMate app, and in many ways, I feel like I’m only just getting started, with some seriously major updates coming up in the next few months. Being a one-man team has its drawbacks, but I also love being able to build a product that I want to use myself without being beholden to anybody else’s agenda for what features I should be adding, and without the pressure of it being my primary source of income (not that I wouldn’t love to be able to devote more time to it if sales picked up enough!)

Resisting a Prosperity Prayer Life

I had something of a realisation this morning as I was firing off a quick text message to my wife. My first draft read “I hope today isn’t too stressful for you” – as parents of a teeny tiny little baby, there are many reasons why the day might turn out to be pretty hard work. Then I remembered the Bible study we did at church the other week on Ephesians 3:14-21, looking at the apostle Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church. Paul’s prayer could have read “I bow my knees before the Father and pray that he would stop bad stuff happening to you and that your life would be stress-free and straightforward”. Thankfully he didn’t, and what a rebuke to me that has been:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

It’s generally fairly easy to spot the more crass forms of the Prosperity Gospel when it rears its head: the idea that if you obey God then he will abundantly bless you right here and now. But I realised that it’s all too easy for the same spirit to creep into our prayers without even realising it. How often do we treat God like a genie whose sole purpose is to make our lives easier?

So what would it mean to resist this kind of “Prosperity Prayer Life”? What would a more Ephesians 3-style prayer look like? In the end I decided to send this to my wife: “I hope you know God’s grace through the challenges of today”. God’s desire isn’t to make our lives as easy as possible. God’s desire is to make us more like Christ, and he will use the struggles and the stresses of each moment to achieve it. Like gold, we are refined through the fire, not by sitting around on a comfy sofa.

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians was that through everything, they might be given supernatural grace to more deeply understand God’s love for them. How much richer our prayer lives would be if we shared that same desire for one another! Next time you’re wondering how you can pray for me, feel free to pray Ephesians 3. It may not be what I would have asked for, but it’s certainly what I need!

If you’re a PrayerMate user, why not create an “Ephesians 3″ index card that appears at the start of each session, reminding you how you could be praying for each of the people that you’ll be praying for that day? To do this, create a new category, make sure that it is “Pinned” so that it appears every session, and change the order of your categories to make sure your new one is at the start of the list. Add a single subject, and perhaps you could copy and paste the passage from Bible Gateway.

A New PrayerMate Mascot?

Goosey, goosey gander,
Wither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber.
There I met an old man
Who would not say his prayers,
I took him by the left leg
And threw him down the stairs.

Perhaps Goosey should have suggested he buy himself a copy of PrayerMate instead?

A Habit of Prayer

A good friend of mine who has a real gift for tracking down little-heard-of Christian books that turn out to be total gold dust recently presented my wife and I with a copy of “The Upper Room” by J.C.Ryle, the one-time Bishop of Liverpool (a bishop who believed the gospel – they do exist!!) He had bookmarked a carefully chosen chapter titled “The Duties of Parents”, which so far has been inspiring and daunting in equal measures. One duty in particular stood out as especially germain to this blog: “VI. Train them to a habit of prayer”. Allow me to quote:

Prayer is the very life-breath of true religion. It is one of the first evidences that a man is born again… Prayer was the distinguishing mark of the Lord’s people in the day that there began to be a separation between them and the world. “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord” (Gen 4v26).

Prayer is the peculiarity of all real Christians now. They pray,-for they tell God their wants, their feelings, their desires, their fears; and mean what they say. The nominal Christian may repeat prayers, and good prayers too, but he goes no further.

Prayer is the turning-point in a man’s soul. Our ministry is unprofitable, and our labour is vain, till you are brought to your knees. Till then, we have no hope about you.

Prayer is one great secret of spiritual prosperity. When there is much private communion with God, your soul will grow like the grass after rain; when there is little, all will be at a standstill, you will barely keep your soul alive. Show me a growing Christian, a going forward Christian, a strong Christian, a flourishing Christian, and sure am I, he is one that speaks often with his Lord. He asks much, and he has much. He tells Jesus everything, and so he always knows how to act.

Prayer is the mightiest engine God has placed in our hands. It is the best weapon to use in every difficulty, and the surest remedy in every trouble. It is the key that unlocks the treasury of promises, and the hand that draws forth grace and help in time of need. It is the silver trumpet God commands us to sound in all our necessity, and it is the cry He has promised always to attend to, even as a loving mother to the voice of her child.

Prayer is the simplest means that man can use in coming to God. It is within reach of all,- the sick, the aged, the infirm, the paralytic, the blind, the poor, the unlearned, -all can pray. It avails you nothing to plead want of memory, and want of learning, and want of books, and want of scholarship in this matter. So long as you have a tongue to tell your soul’s state, you may and ought to pray. Those words, “Ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4v2), will be a fearful condemnation to many in the day of judgement.

I for one feel really challenged by all that. But also really encouraged that prayer doesn’t have to be this really complicated thing- it’s just a talking to God and asking him for the things we need. Let’s resolve to be people who pray. And if you’ve not tried it already, may I recommend to you a handy little app for iOS called PrayerMate which you might find useful in getting going in a habit of prayer!

Praying daily for a special event with PrayerMate

We’re in the midst of university mission season at the moment here in Britain. Last week was the London-wide UCCF mission, this week it’s Imperial’s turn. It’s not uncommon that you have periods like this where you want to pray for something intensively, and then eventually whatever it is comes to an end and no longer needs that kind of focussed prayer (though of course it’s always worth praying for follow up after a mission!)

I’ve found PrayerMate really useful in my own attempts to pray for some of these missions, and so I thought I’d write up a quick tutorial on how to use it in this way.

Step 1: Creating a prayer card

Before we can do anything else, we need to create a card for our mission week. Tap the “+” button in the top left of the home screen. We’ll give it a name, “Mission Week”, and click the “Tap here to add details…” button as well if you want to type in a fuller description to guide your prayers.

 

Step 2: Praying for it every day

By default, PrayerMate will just show you a subject every few days, after you’ve finished praying through all of the other subjects in the same category. For our intense mission week, focus, we want to temporarily change this.

The easiest way I’ve found is to schedule it to appear every single day of the week:

Selecting week days

Tap the “Scheduling Mode” button, and select “Day of the Week”. When presented with a list of week days, tap each one until it is ticked. PrayerMate prioritises day-of-the-week subjects over those with a “default” scheduling mode, so this will make sure you’re almost guaranteed to see it each day from now on.

 

Step 3: Auto-archiving at the end of the week

Optionally, if you want, you can specify an auto-archive date at the end of the mission week. This will tell PrayerMate to move your subject to the “archive” once that date is reached. It won’t be deleted altogether, but it will mean that this subject won’t appear any more in any new prayer sessions.

Setting an auto-archive date

 

Have you got a tip or trick that’s helped you to pray using PrayerMate? Send it in to prayermate at geero.net or tweet @PrayerMateApp so that it can help other people too.

Announcing PrayerMate 2.1 – Attach PDFs and More

I am thrilled to announce yesterday’s release of PrayerMate 2.1 on the App Store. This is a significant new release with many changes, both visible and under the hood, as well as a significant number of bug fixes. Here’s a run down on some of the new feature:

Attach PDF Prayer Letters to Items

This was actually the idea that first inspired PrayerMate way back when. My inbox often seems full of prayer letters from mission partners, that if I’m totally honest I often just read once and then rarely look at again. Well, now if I open them up on my iPod using Safari, I can use the “Open with…” button to get them into PrayerMate and attach them to one of the items there. In a prayer session, when I get to that item, there’ll be a little envelope icon – tap that and it will open the PDF full screen, and I can zoom in, scroll around, etc. Hopefully in the future you’ll be able to import these from Dropbox too, but that’s a way off yet.

Support for iPhone 5

Inevitably I’ve had a few eager iPhone 5 users wondering when I would support the new bigger screen size, and now here it is. Sadly, because of the way Apple has organised things, this also means dropping support for the oldest (armv6) devices and iOS 3 – things like the original iPhone, as well as the first and second generation iPod Touches. This was a tough call, which is why I have deliberated for so long, but it looks like there are now very few users of these old devices, so if you’re one of them, I’m really sorry but I’m not sure I had much choice.

New “Menu” Card

I was a bit unsure about this one at first, but the more I’ve used it myself the more I’ve come to love this. Now when you start praying, before all of your actual prayer cards, you’ll see a new one labelled “Today’s Prayers”. This will list all of the items that will be prayed for in this new session.

A little tip on this: my wife finds it really helpful to close and reopen PrayerMate in order to take another peek at this card after she’s prayed – so that she knows if she needs to email anybody to get up-to-date information on how she can be praying. She finds it so helpful that I might see if I can incorporate this formally into the app, but we’ll see. If you think that would be useful – do let me know!

Day of the Month Scheduling

PrayerMate has long supported scheduling cards to appear on a certain date or a certain day of the week, and now you can schedule them to appear on certain days of the month as well (e.g. the 1st of every month, or the 15th and 30th).

Integrated Email Support

I’ve added two new features related to email.

The first is to let you email the person you are praying for from within the app. Often when you’re praying  for someone, it makes you really want to get in touch to let them know you were thinking of them. Now if you press and hold on the card, you’ll get an “Email contact” button. This will work for all subjects, but if you’ve explicitly linked it to a contact in your address book then it will be able to pre-fill the email address for you as well.

The second is to let you email the details of an item from within the app to anybody you like. I’ve started using PrayerMate to record my small group’s prayer points each week, and now once you’ve filled in the details, on the edit subject page there’s a button to “Email these details”, so I can send them to everybody in the group. Quick tip: set up a contact “group” in your address book (this needs to be done on Mac OS X / Windows and then synced across, I believe) – this at least let’s you quickly skim through each member of a group and easily select all of their names.

Bug Fixes Galore

But PrayerMate 2.1 wasn’t just all about adding new stuff, it also includes a significant number of little tweaks and bug fixes, largely based on the invaluable feedback of my wonderful users. If you ever experience a glitch, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, or even if you just have a thought about something that would make the app even better – there’s a “Send Feedback” button on the very final page when you’ve finished praying (the one after the blessing) and I read every email I get and I love hearing from people. PrayerMate is also on Twitter now: @PrayerMateApp.

Here are some of the fixes:

  • Fixed a problem on the “Edit details” page that made scrolling and editing impossible in landscape mode
  • When editing details, the cursor now defaults to the top of the card rather than the bottom
  • Restored some missing photos, and make sure they survive updates in the future
  • Addressed some problems with Dropbox import and export

PrayerMate: How to manage the rate at which you pray for things

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Somebody emailed me with a great question today about PrayerMate which seems to be quite a common one. They asked:

“Is it possible to prioritise items that you pray for? I have made some things that I pray for every day, but it would be good if I could make other things weekly and other things monthly.”

Getting this kind of thing right in PrayerMate is more an art than a science, but with a bit of tweaking you can usually get it to do what you would like. The key to this is effective use of lists. Assuming you have it set so that you only ever see one or two items per list, then naturally you will pray for subjects from very short lists on a very regular basis, whereas items from a very long list will get prayed for less frequently.

Here’s my setup:

  1. I have one list with just a single subject – the Lord’s Prayer. The key is that I have turned on the “manually set items per session” setting on this list, telling PrayerMate that it should always try to include subjects from this list if it can. This list is also the very first one of my lists, making it the most important. The result is that I always get shown the Lord’s Prayer every single time I pray.
  2. I have another list with about five or six subjects. Again, this list is manually set to show one item per session, so that I know I’ll always get one of those items each time. If I managed to use PrayerMate every day, I’d get to pray for each item on this list roughly once per week.
  3. One of my “friends” lists has about 20-30 subjects in it, and doesn’t have the manual items per session setting turned on. People in here will tend to come up at least once a month, but sometimes a little less often than that.

The ability to manually request a specific number of items from certain lists is very useful, and perhaps not as well explained as it could be. The key is to use it sparingly – if you have too many lists set up in this way then it will start to lose its meaning.

Getting Started With PrayerMate for iOS

A Beginner’s Guide to PrayerMate for iOS

What is PrayerMate?

PrayerMate is an app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch that helps you be more faithful in prayer. Enter the people and causes you care about, grouped into lists of your choosing, and every day PrayerMate will pick a selection of these subjects for you to pray through, one at a time.

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Your first prayer session

The very first time you open PrayerMate, it will create a few default lists for you – my friends, my family, and so on. It will also create a small number of default subjects, for example the Lord’s Prayer. Since you only have a small number of subjects in the system, for now you’ll be shown roughly the same set of subjects every time you run the app – which may get a little repetitive!

Creating new subjects

To get started, I suggest you dive right in and start creating some subjects to pray for. I started off with each member of my family (on the “My family” list), some close friends (on the “My friends” list), and some organisations and countries around the world that I care about (on the “World mission” list). The simplest way to create a new subject is to press the “+” button at the bottom of the screen, select which list you want to add to, then type in a name for your subject (e.g. “Mum & Dad”). When you’re done typing press the “Done” button in the top right.

Now when I open up the app, I’ll still be shown the Lord’s prayer, but I can now swipe it to the left to see my first family member, and swipe again to the left to see one of my friends, then swipe left again to see a world mission item. Each time I swipe to the left I’m telling PrayerMate that I’ve “prayed” for that item, so that next time I fire up the app I’ll be shown a different item from that category instead.

Managing your lists

As well as being able to pray through a selection of items that PrayerMate chooses for you each day, you can also access all of your subjects at any time by pressing the “Lists” button at the very top of the main screen. You can swipe sideways to find a list, or press any entry on the initial “Lists index” to jump straight to a list.

At the bottom of the “Lists index” you will also find some special lists: the archive, your recently prayed subjects, and a “Books” gallery of downloadable prayers.

How items are scheduled

PrayerMate’s default mode is to show you no more than one subject from each of your lists every time you open the app, up to a maximum quota that you set using the “+”/”-” buttons on the first “Coming up” slide. Within each list, it will always show you the item that you prayed for least recently – so over time you’re guaranteed to get through all of the subjects in your list. If you want a bit more control, you can also manually adjust the number of items from each list that you’ll be shown from the settings screen for each list. For example, you might want to pray for one family member each day and three friends. To access a list’s settings menu, tap on to the “Lists” tab at the bottom of the screen, scroll sideways to the list in question, and tap its settings button (it looks like a cog). There you can switch on the “Manually set items per session” setting.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably feel that some of your lists are more important than others – for example, you want to always pray for your family every day, but you mind less about not praying for a world mission item every single time. Switching on the manual items per session setting on a list tells PrayerMate that it should always do its best to show you items from this list. But use it sparingly! It works best if only one or two lists are configured in this way.

Other features

You’ll probably find it helpful to make specific notes against each subject giving you some ideas about what to pray for them. When looking at a prayer subject, press the edit button in the top right (it looks like a pencil in a box) and you can then start typing any text you want to into the largest box that appears (it should say “tap to add details…”).

Many people have said that they find it helps them to pray for people more if they attach a photo to their entry. You can do this by editing a card and then tapping the circle that appears.

PrayerMate also allows you to set an alarm, reminding you to pray at a set time every day. You can do this through the “Reminders” tab at the bottom of the screen. Set a time, and you’ll then get a prompt saying “Time to pray?” at that time each day.

Advanced scheduling

As well as the default scheduling mode described above, PrayerMate also allows you to set some slightly more sophisticated scheduling rules. On a specific subject you can change the scheduling mode, to either default (which you now know about), by date (where you pick a specific date from a calendar on which you want to pray for this subject) and day of the week (where you can choose one or more days of the week on which you want to pray, e.g. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). You can do this by pressing a subject’s settings button (it looks like a cog) and then changing the “Scheduling mode”.

You can also set an ‘auto-archive’ date on subjects. Once this date has passed, your subject will be moved into the archive, so that you’ll no longer be asked to pray for it. You can always get access to archived items at a later stage through the “Archive” menu on the options page.

See also: PrayerMate iOS Frequently Asked Questions

For all the tips and the latest news, sign up for the PrayerMate email newsletter here. I won’t send emails more than once a month.

To get up and running, I’ve created a five step plan.

A video introduction

You may find this handy video that the Chapel Life has put together useful:

PrayerMate App from ChapelOutreach on Vimeo.

The Most Exciting Version of PrayerMate Yet

Today I am super thrilled to be able to announce PrayerMate 1.4 (Edit: now called 2.0) – a real whopper of a release.

For those who don’t know, PrayerMate is an app for iOS that gives you a little helping hand with your prayer life. You enter details of the people and issues you care about, and then every day it offers you a selection to pray for. They appear as a series of index cards that you can swipe between.

Here’s a run down of what’s new in version 1.4/2.0:

Native iPad Support

You asked for it and now PrayerMate supports it: it’s now a universal app that runs on iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. All of the same features but just a little bit bigger.

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Dropbox Import/Export

You can now export your prayer points to a Dropbox account – keeping them safe as a backup in case anything goes wrong. You can then import those prayer points back later, or onto another device (e.g. your swanky new iPad that is now running PrayerMate!)

Just a few quick details: PrayerMate uses a folder in your Dropbox called “Apps/PrayerMate”. It exports in a format called “JSON”, but you could also pop plain text files in that folder (with a .txt extension) and it will allow you to import individual prayer points.

Photographs

Another much asked-for feature is the ability to attach photos to each subject. You can pick them from any album on your device, and they’ll appear at the top of each card. They can be changed or removed at any time.

Whilst you’re praying, press and hold on a card to get a list of actions. One of these will be “Edit subject”, and you can then tap the “Photo” field to choose an image.

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Better Archiving

It’s now much easier to archive prayer points whilst you’re praying without resetting your session. Press and hold on a card to bring up a list of actions, choose the “Archive” action, and the card will fade out, indicating that it has now been moved out of your active list of prayer points. You’ll still be able to find it by searching the archive, but in future it won’t be presented to you as something to pray for.

Tidied Up the Feedback Page

A number of people mentioned that they found it distracting to have all of the feedback/review buttons on the final slide (the one with the blessing). I’ve acted on this by separating them out into a separate page. I’ve also removed the buttons that nobody ever used, and added an extra button to sign up to the PrayerMate email newsletter (which you should join, by the way!)

Get It Here Now

Buy it on the app store this minute – a mere £1.99 ($2.99), a real bargain for so much functionality! It really is great to pray, I hope trust that this version of PrayerMate will continue helping people do so more and more.

Features Overview

  • Intuitive index card interface lets you swipe between the day’s topics
  • Set up your own personal categories and subjects to suit the way you pray
  • Subjects can be entered manually or directly from your address book contacts – no typing necessary!
  • Attach photos to prayer points
  • Import/Export via Dropbox
  • Prayer requests can be scheduled for a certain date or day of the week, or just let PrayerMate pick topics for you
  • Optional daily alarm clock to remind you to pray (iOS 4.0 upwards)
  • PIN code feature for added privacy
  • Built-in help system

PrayerMate 1.3 – Introducing scheduled requests

PrayerMate is my app for iPhone and iPod Touch that is designed to help you stay faithful in prayer for the people and causes that matter to you. Today a new version went live on the App Store, version 1.3. It adds a couple of new features that I’m really excited about: scheduled prayer requests, and auto-archiving.

Scheduled Prayer Requests

Each day PrayerMate will pick a selection of prayer requests from your library for you to pray through. Traditionally it just picked whichever subjects you haven’t prayed for in a while. But we all know that there are certain things you just want to pray for at specific times – maybe you want to pray for the Sunday service every Sunday morning, or you want to pray for your friend on the morning of their job interview.

PrayerMate 1.3 allows you to do both of these things using scheduled prayer requests. When you enter a subject, you can choose the “scheduling mode”: either “Default”, which behaves as normal; “Day of the Week”, which lets you pick one or more days of the week on which you wish to pray for this subject; or “Date”, which lets you pick a specific date from a calendar.

For those who want to go a bit deeper into how it works, here are a few of the under-the-hood details: every day, PrayerMate will begin by looking for dated requests scheduled for today (e.g. 20th February). If there’s any space left for extra requests, it will then proceed to look up requests scheduled for the current day of the week (Monday). It will then fill up any remaining allocation using unscheduled requests, in the same order as they’ve always appeared. It’s your responsibility to make sure you don’t have so many dated or “day-of-the-week” requests that there’s never any space left for unscheduled requests.

PrayerMate gives you a little bit of flexibility on dated requests – if you don’t fire up the app on a given day, any scheduled prayer requests that you missed will show up for up to a week afterwards.

Auto-Archiving

A related for separate feature is “auto-archived” prayer requests. Very often we want to pray for things which are time sensitive, and which cease to be relevant once a particular date has passed. With the new auto-archiving feature, you can tell PrayerMate to automatically move a subject to the archive after a certain date.

For example, if your friend is on a short term mission trip until Friday 16th March, create a new subject with 16th March in the auto-archive field, and on the 17th that subject will automatically get moved to the archive so that you no longer see it.

Get it on the app store today

A Big Week For PrayerMate

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The last few days have been very exciting ones for my PrayerMate iPhone prayer app . Firstly, it got nominated for “Best Use of Mobile Web” by Premier Radio’s Christian New Media Awards 2011 – a real honour! And secondly, it was blogged about by Tim Challies, top Christian blogger and author of a book I am a huge fan of – The Next Story.

Tim was generally positive although wisely is still somewhat reserved about the whole concept of an iPhone prayer app. Here’s a brief extract of what he had to say:

“For 7 days I relied on the app to guide me. And I have to say that I was quite impressed. It ended up being a very useful aid. I was genuinely surprised by this…

I am rather surprised to find myself enjoying the app, and still using it 2 weeks later. I doubt I will end up continuing to use it in the long term, though perhaps I will be surprised. I remain kind of suspicious of it and suspicious of the very idea of using an app to help me pray. I haven’t thought through all of the potential implications, but at least on a pragmatic level, it delivers what it promises.”

You can buy PrayerMate on the App Store for £1.99.

Announcing PrayerMate 1.2 – An iPhone Prayer App

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Today I am thrilled to announce the release of the most exciting version of PrayerMate yet, jam packed with features and improvements over the previous version.

PrayerMate is a Christian prayer app for iPhone or iPod Touch which allows you to easily and simply organise your prayer life. Set up various categories, enter the people and topics you want to pray about, and every day it will offer up a selection of items to pray through.

In this blog post I want to highlight three flagship features new to v1.2:

1. Reminders

No matter how easy PrayerMate makes it to organise your prayer points, it’s no good to you if you don’t get on and pray. Now you can get PrayerMate to remind you to pray once a day with a handy alarm. You choose the time, and you’ll receive a notification each day. N.B. Only supported on iOS 4.0 upwards.

2. Password Lock

PIN Code Screenshot

Perhaps you feel a little uncomfortable entering your prayer requests into PrayerMate, knowing that they can be a very personal or private thing. With version 1.2, you can now set a four-digit PIN code which will need to be entered before anybody can gain access to PrayerMate.

3. Pinned Categories

To avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed with prayer requests, PrayerMate has always offered you the ability to limit how many items you pray for each day. Now with ‘pinned’ categories, you can combine that with a commitment to always praying for certain items in every session. Want to make sure you always pray for your family every day? Simple: just ‘pin’ the family category, and they’ll be prioritised, even if there are other items in other categories that you haven’t prayed for as recently.

Other New Features

PrayerMate 1.2 also offers a number of minor improvements, including:

  • Subjects can now be added directly from prayer mode, making it easier to follow up on those “I’ll pray for you!” promises
  • Subjects can now be entered with fewer touches
  • A new screen showing recently prayed items
  • Ability to archive old prayer points without having to delete them altogether
  • Statistics about how many times you’ve prayed for things has been moved into the settings screen to reduce the sense of guilt and stress it was inducing
  • New icon colour scheme, involving less pink

Same Old Intuitive Interface

Despite all the swanky new features, PrayerMate remains the same easy-to-use app with the same intuitive interface. Every day you’re presented with a series of index cards to pray through, and you just swipe them to the left to move on to the next one.

May it help you in your prayer life! Buy it on the App Store today.

Praying Through the Lord’s Prayer With PrayerMate

There are many different schemes people find helpful for organising their daily prayer times: perhaps you’ve heard of STOP: Sorry, Thankyou, Others, Please; or maybe you prefer ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. But at the end of the day, what could be a better way to pray than to use the prayer that Jesus himself taught us – the Lord’s prayer? As Luke 11:2-4 has it:

“Father,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

This is a great outline for our prayer time, and it really helps line up our priorities with God’s priorities: notice how out of six lines, the full first half are focussed entirely on God, before it turns to us and our needs.

  1. Father – perhaps the most exciting line of the whole prayer, it begins with a reminder of who we’re praying to, and how we are to relate to him. He’s not some distant God begrudgingly listening to our prayers; we don’t have to try and twist his arm to make him grant our petitions. He’s our loving heavenly Father who delights to hear from his children – what a privilege it is to pray to him!
  2. Hallowed be your name – the whole purpose of our prayers and our lives is to bring glory to God’s name, to see him honoured and recognised for who he is. It’s a great rebuke to us when we’re caught up in our own little worlds with our own concerns – it’s not really about us at all. What a fantastic reminder to lift our eyes to the bigger reason behind it all.
  3. Your kingdom come – our greatest desire should be to see God’s rule established as people come to acknowledge him as their king and increasingly give their lives over to him. As we pray for his kingdom to come, we’re asking that he is honoured both in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.
  4. Give us each day our daily bread – as we ask God to provide our daily bread, we’re reminded that we depend on him for all our needs. It’s easy to take it for granted that there’ll be food on our table each day, but the truth is that without God sustaining us and protecting us day by day and even hour by hour, we’d have nothing. It’s only right that we should acknowledge this before God.
  5. Forgive us our sins – it’s vitally important in the battle against sin that we make a point of confessing our failings before God on a regular basis. Confession helps us to realign our radar – training our hearts to hate our sin instead of harbouring it and allowing it to take root. Jesus also encourages us to think about ways in which we need to forgive others, expressing our thankfulness for the way God has forgiven us.
  6. Lead us not into temptation – if we’re to have any hope in the battle against sin, we need God’s help. If God wasn’t working behind the scenes to keep us out of the way of temptation, who knows how much worse off we would be? It shames me to think of many examples of times when I’ve sinfully set my heart to do something I know I shouldn’t, only to be prevented from carrying out the act by God’s providential arrangement of circumstances. I imagine that there are many more examples of times when I’ve not even been aware of God working to lead me out of temptation’s way.

If you’re a user of my PrayerMate prayer app for the iPhone or iPod touch, you could easily set it up to help you shape your prayers around the Lord’s prayer each day. Here’s one way you might do it:

  1. Create a new “Lord’s Prayer” category – under the settings menu, hit “Add Category” and name it “The Lord’s Prayer”
  2. Show six items per session – under the settings page for your new category, set the “Items per session” slider to six, so that each day you will see each of the main elements of the prayer.
  3. Enter each line as a separate subject – you can now enter each line of the prayer as a separate subject under your new “Lord’s Prayer” category. So you would have one subject titled “Father”, perhaps with a few details to remind you what it’s all about, such as “Praise God that he allows us to call him Father. Thank him for the privilege of being his child.”; you would then have another subject titled “Hallowed be your name”, with the details outlining some of the implications of this; then another subject titled “Your kingdom come”, and so on.
  4. Make sure this categories will show up each day – if you want to prayer through all six lines of the prayer, you’ll need to make sure that either a) you’ve turned the global item limit OFF (under the ‘Advanced Settings’ page) so that every category always appears each day, or b) you’ve “pinned” your new “Lord’s Prayer” category, telling PrayerMate that you want it to prioritise items from this category, even if there are items you prayed for less recently in other categories.

You could just as easily set up PrayerMate to use the STOP or ACTS prayer schemes as well.

PrayerMate_Lords_Prayer.png

If you give this a try, do use the ‘feedback’ button within PrayerMate to let me know how you get on!