Monday, January 27, 2014

Short, Sweet, and Still a Prayer

I recently read a post over at The Radical Life (one of my new favorite blogs) challenging me to think about what my "idle" is. It's a very thought provoking post and made me really stop to examine what I'm doing with my idle time.

I think my most common default looks something like this:

Into this mess that I call a life, I have been trying to insert some meaningful prayer time. And kind of failing in many ways.

Recently, however, I found a few apps that are so simple, short and sweet that everyone has time for them. Why is this important?

I really love to pray the Liturgy of the Hours (I use iBreviary on my Android tablet and my iPhone). The problem is, except for the weekends, I often don't have time to pray them. So my confessor encouraged me to start small. Like micro-small.

It's like texting God. That way you're keeping the conversation going, and not racking up guilt-points. And I find that, as Warner suggests, when I build even a little bit of time in for prayer, it tends to expand, rather than shrink. As I work on this, I find that my idle, begins to not be email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but a little one-on-one with God.

Here are a couple of mini-reviews with links to more detailed ones at

All of these are iOS unless otherwise indicated.

"Honor Your Inner Monk" - St. Meinrad Archabbey - Free (iOS and Android)

What can I say? This app amuses me. It engages me and I use it. The iOS version is more amusing than the Android version. It's great for students who don't have time for prayer built into their days because it can be done in a minute or less.

Things I like best:
  • Short prayers that function as action points. You'll be thinking about them all day.
  • The monks' chorus calling you to prayer and singing "Amen" when you finish.
  • A puff of incense smoke to kick off prayers.
  • At the end of each month, they give you feedback for how your prayer life has been. Last month, I got the "Sad Trombone" and an opinion that "You can do better than that." 
And this month, I have. I need that sort of accountability.
See more here.

"Short Prayers App" - Valent Richie - $1.99

This app is great for short prayers for all reasons and seasons. It's got them all: The four basics (Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be), along with many, many other favorites. Some are in English and Latin.

Things I like best:
  • A wide variety of prayers
  • Alarms that can be set for times or places. If you set it up, it will prompt you to pray when you reach a destination or get ready to leave.
  • Shake for a random prayer
There are a couple of gems in this app. I especially like Aquinas'  "Prayer before Studying or Reading" and Ignatius of Loyola's "Prayer against Depression".
Read more here.

"The Mary App" - Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception - Free 

This app was originally designed to accompany Fr. Michael Gaitley's "33 Days to Morning Glory" Consecration Program, but it works just fine as a standalone app.

Things I like best:
  • Visually, very nice to look at
  • The Rosary, chaplets and other prayers (this app has a ton of content)
  • A really great set of catechesis on what the Catholic church teaches about who she is, including a nice FAQ section for quick answers to common questions.
This is a more comprehensive app and the prayers are a bit longer, but it's is one of my long-term go-to apps.

"Via Crucis" - Valent Richie - $1.99

These are based on the Meditations of St. Francis of Assisi's Way of the Cross. This app is nice because because you can go away and come back, which makes it easy to use over the course of a busy day. It will keep a push notification on the icon so that you remember that you haven't finished up, yet. This is a great one for Lent.

Things I like best:
  • The artwork is lovely
  • You can start, go away and come back later
  • The devotions are lovely (if a smidge long)
This app hasn't been reviewed yet. when it goes up, I'll include the link. 
For now, you can find the app here.

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