Tech-Savvy Ways to Get Closer to Jesus
Technology is often seen as one of the greatest obstacles to the Christian faith, and if we’re not careful, it certainly can be. Facebook, Netflix, and the notion of perpetual connectivity has exposed us as a society to more avenues than ever that can make it extremely difficult to be still before God.
Conversely, however, if we’re disciplined, we can use this endless realm of technology to increase our faith through resources that help us study scripture, manage our time, and nourish our souls in the midst of our busy lives.
The following tools are just a few of the savvy apps, websites, and podcasts that have helped me to lean into the technology-driven culture in a way that grows my faith rather than distancing me from it.
Echo Prayer Manager
One of my biggest pet peeves (and self-criticisms) is saying that I will pray for someone out of compulsion, without following through to actually do it. If you take the time to pay attention, I’ll bet you’ll notice yourself saying “I’ll pray for you!” multiple times throughout the day. It’s one of those sayings us Christians are good at repeating. But step back for a moment and think of how many times you offered up that promise and compare it to the time you actually spent interceding earnestly on someone’s behalf.
If you’re anything like me, it will be an unequally weighted ratio. I always aim to spend time more time in prayer than I actually do, but it’s usually the first thing that falls by the wayside and before I know it, I’m in bed struggling to stay awake, thoughtlessly offering up well-intentioned one-liner prayers before falling asleep.
Echo Prayer Manager is quite possibly one of the best solutions to this cycle of prayerlessness that so many Christians encounter. The app capitalizes on the fact that we’re literally tied to our phones all day, and uses it to remind us when to pray. Plus, it couldn’t be easier. I type in who I’m praying for and why and then set an alarm for when I want to be reminded. It works particularly well if a friend lets me know they have an interview at a certain time, or planning to have a difficult conversation during one part of the day. It reminds me to pray for them in that moment so that I’m truly without excuse.
The app also revealed to me what my prayer life was centered around. Three guesses? My needs. While those are perfectly good things to pray about (Philippians 4:6), this app also showed me that I need to spend time just focusing on worshipping God for who He is and all He has already done.
Bible Study Tools Commentaries
I’m a big fan of commentaries. In fact, I love them. Imagine having an exposition for every verse in the bible, let alone all the difficult-to-understand ones, and being able to reference them wherever there’s data or wifi.
Whether I’m discussing a verse from last week’s sermon with a friend, or trying to answer scripture-related questions from an not-yet Christian, referencing an online commentary allows me to get a biblical opinion to help articulate the background and history of a particular verse.
While it’s important to not hold anything in a commentary on the same level as the Bible, it’s an effective tool for gathering context, hearing a different view, and gaining a deeper understanding.
My personal recommendation? Matthew Henry’s Complete Bible Commentary.
Though it may be an obvious one, podcasts are not just a great source of entertainment but also spiritual encouragement. Whenever I’m washing dishes, folding laundry, or taking a shower, I try to spend those mentally free moments learning and listening to the experiences and stories of those who are running down a similar path after Jesus. There are several great faith-based podcasts, but my current favorite is The Glorious in the Mundane with Christy Nockels. This podcast in particular speaks to the need of our souls to look for God in the monotonous tasks and seasons of life. A lesson I think we’d all do well to be reminded of.
Sometimes the best technology is the absence of it. I’m a firm believer that Jesus intended us to hear his voice in complete, unadulterated quiet, free from glowing screens, playlists, and the voices of others. The best tool, if we can call it one, is solitude. In this day and age, seeking quiet, uninterrupted time is a challenge, but also something that is a necessary component to the Christian walk.
When we’re still before the Lord without distraction, we’re not relying on the spiritual lives of others to draw us near to God, but boldly approaching the throne ourselves to experience the intimacy that we were created for.
There is no substitute and there never will be for time alone with just you and the Lord. It’s a discipline though, that is for certain. In a world that is inundated with expedited, accessible, and ever-present information, we need to strive to turn it off and be still to re-route our minds and our hearts to hear the simple Gospel.