Too often, and I sure hope I’m not alone, saying “I’ll pray for you” is a nice little substitute for, “AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say right now!””
Whether it’s a close friend asking me to pray about a troubling diagnosis or a neighbor asking me to pray about her working relationship with her back-up babysitter, I, of course, agree wholeheartedly and have the best intentions to follow through. But, even if I do follow through, the prayer I pray is often two seconds—“Oh, and I pray for Anne”—during a casual car prayer or a brief breakfast beseechment in front of my daughters or while reading an article about which states have the highest number of sinkholes (Tennessee, Florida) or which Weird Al song most defines you (“Harvey the Wonder Hamster”).
I know, through experience and by reading James 5, that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective, but because I’m not always intentional in how I go about praying, I don’t always truly enjoy the result.
Recently, during a season where many around me were hurting and needed prayer, I stumbled into growth in this area with the help of a digital prayer assistant. Because I’m quite scatterbrained and very busy chasing my children around, I looked to Siri (the voice on the iPhone) to help me get better at this.
Here are three ways that Siri changed my prayer life:
1. My Intercession Is More Consistent
“Siri, remind me to pray about so-and-so every morning at 9.”
“Okay, Skinny. I’ll do that.”
Free side-note: programming Siri to call me “Skinny” is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
That’s how this experiment started. I asked Siri to remind me to pray for one person every day. Her little reminder would flash up on my phone each day, and at first, my prayers were, as they always had been, short and sweet. But I got it done.
Then, because I set the reminder for every day, my prayers didn’t stay short and sweet. Prayer isn’t just talking to a wall. It’s back-and-forth communication with God. So, as I continued to pray, my focus grew and my prayers got more specific.
As I saw God work in that one situation, I added more people to my Siri prayer list. This experiment led to me praying more often, for more people, and in more detail than I ever had before.
2. My Follow-up Is More Frequent
The fact that when Siri reminds me to pray, I’m already holding the device I use to communicate with people is hugely helpful. Having my phone tell me to pray led me to want to follow-up with the people I was praying for.
I send Anne a text: How did that meeting go? Praying for you. She shares details that allow me to see how God worked. Also, following up naturally deepened all of my relationships and centered them around the work God is doing in our lives.
3. My Faith Is Growing
Seeing God’s faithfulness and being able to ask Siri to stop reminding me to pray for people because God has worked has been incredible. It’s as simple as this: watching God move and acknowledging Him in all that happens in my life and in the lives of the people around me reminds me that He is real.
In the process of praying for others, God has done a work in me. He has used this season to deal with lifelong fears I’ve had. He’s given me the strength to replace bad habits and negative thought patterns with the good habits of preaching the gospel to myself daily and intervening for my brothers and sisters. And all of this is just an added benefit of being more consistent in my prayer life.
Thank you, God. (And thank you, Siri.)
Scarlet Hiltibidal is a writer living in Nashville, TN. Scarlet has a degree in biblical counseling and worked as a Christian schoolteacher before she started writing. She has written for and managed various online publications. Currently, she writes small group curriculum for children and articles on motherhood for Smart Mom. Scarlet is wife to Brandon, who is part of the Groups Ministry Team at Lifeway, and Mommy to her daughters, Ever Grace and Brooklyn Hope. Visit her blog at scarlethiltibidal.com and follow her on Twitter @ScarletEH.