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How to Use Your Smartphone as a Resource for Family Devotions

Aug 11, 2016 11:30:00 AM

How to Use Your Smartphone as a Resource for Family Devotions

A regular devotion time gives families intentional opportunity to grow in the love and knowledge of Jesus. It also helps to foster ongoing conversation in all areas of life, just as we’re instructed to do in Deuteronomy 6: 

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes” (v. 4­-8). 

While there are times technology serves as a distraction, there are some pretty neat resources and practices we can plug into as families learning and living in God’s promises and growing in the vocations to which he’s called us. 

Bible Apps 

God’s word is the foundation for any devotional practice. There are many Bible apps out there, and can be found for most operating systems. YouVersion is a popular option and allows for users to switch between translations, highlight passages, make notes, and even listen to an audio version of a Scripture reading. If you prefer something a bit simpler, I’m a fan of the ESV Bible App. Features include the Scripture in the English Standard Version, a streamlined design, simple search navigation, reading plans, and audio streaming.

Luther’s Small Catechism App 

It was with parents teaching the faith to their children in mind that Martin Luther compiled this handy book of questions and answers. What many of us know as memory work from our days of confirmation class is now literally available in the palm of our hand and an excellent resource for families to use long before those “traditional” junior high years! You’ll find the basics of our Christian faith, along with Luther’s explanations of the six chief ­parts (bonus points: the design is clean and easy to navigate!).Find this free download for Apple or Android products! 

Alarm Clock App 

Life gets crazy and time can easily slip away in the midst of making sure homework gets done, lunches are packed, and the baseball uniforms are ready for tomorrow’s game. Using your phone’s alarm clock app, set a daily alarm for your family’s designated devotion time! Personalize it by picking a sound(ex. church bells) or song (ex. a favorite hymn from worship, or maybe past VBS soundtracks) that will let the whole family know it’s time to gather together for your morning or evening devotions! Similarly, you might add family devotions to your calendar, blocking out the time and setting an alert. 

Scripture Memorization Apps 

­The psalmist (Psalm 119:11) and the apostle Paul (Colossians 3:16) remind us of the immense value of keeping God’s word in our hearts and minds! Having a weekly or monthly family memorization goal and plan can be a great way to fill our thoughts with God’s life-giving word, which brings much needed correction, comfort, and encouragement! Apps like Scripture Typer and Verses are a great resource for breaking down passages into manageable bits and providing exercises for reviewing and repeating with the goal of committing God’s Word to memory! 

Pray Now App 

­If you’re familiar with the Treasury of Daily Prayer, the Pray Now App will remind you of an old friend. An excellent “one­-stop shop” for daily family or personal devotions, opening this app you’ll find a psalm, Old and New Testament readings, an excerpt from the Book of Concord, a hymn verse, and prayer. In addition to the daily resources, there are short orders of service (matins, vespers, etc.), orders of daily prayer, and the ability to bookmark or annotate parts of the text.This is the only paid app you’ll find on my phone/iPad. At $8.99, it’s worth every penny ­ and then some. 

Your Church App 

­More and more local congregations have an app of their own, many with daily or weekly devotions and Scripture reading plans. If your church is one such place, plug into that resource!

Whether you’re just starting a family devotion routine, looking for fresh ideas, or if they’re not even on your radar, I pray you find encouragement in these resources. As author Mary Manz Simon shared over on the Everyday Faith blog, “No matter how well you plan, devotional time won’t always go smoothly. But the same Jesus who loved you enough to give His life for you promises to bless your family’s little visits with Him.” 

We’d love to hear your creative ideas for family devotions! Let us know in the comments below!


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Katy Munson

Written by Katy Munson

Katy Munson is a DCE serving in the area of communications and connections at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Rockford, Illinois. A graduate of Concordia University, Nebraska, she loves theology, family-life education, and exploring the intersection of dearly held traditions and innovative ideas. Katy also enjoys a good cup of coffee (or two or three), road trips, and cheering on the Chicago Blackhawks. Her greatest joy is found in Christ and being baptized into His life, death, and resurrection!

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