Tag: pray

Review: ORA Provides Cutting-Edge Technology For The New Way to Pray

400620_466964240040290_1005061548_n“ORA collects, organizes, tracks, reminds, connects and securely shares prayer requests and answers with anyone you choose. ORA does this at a personal and intimate level with your friends and family through the mobile platform or ‘app’ on your smartphone. ” Stated Dusty Gulleson, ORA Chief Executive Officer.

Do we really need an application for prayer? YES!
A friend pointed me to Ora some time back and I was following it. I started out as a skeptic then quickly turned to a fan. My skepticism came from a couple of things: 1) I didn’t want another “social media” app. 2) I think my ability to adapt to new technology is slowing. Here is reality: 1) Prayer is essential to the Christian and there is no good app that fits that need that also connects you to people. 2) The reality is the smartphone replaced the day planner and with any transitions, things are are different.

“ORA” a disruptive technology to promote the oldest form of recognized religious expression in the Christian and Jewish faiths–prayer. The ORA system creates a personal mobile experience for the individual and an enterprise-quality community management platform for any organization to invite, connect, share, respond and interact with one another in intercessory prayer.

Prayer app
Ora thrilled me when I first downloaded it. I didn’t need to create another user account, I could immediately sign in via Facebook, and that’s when I became a believer. Facebook is useful for many things, but it doesn’t work well for prayer. It’s hard to concentrate on praying for things when… oh, look a cute kitten! Ora allows me to organize my prayer life in a meaningful way that is simple, intuitive and does not require a huge learning curve.

Social networks are typically inappropriate “high noise” areas that are not private enough for many sensitive postings like prayer requests. ORA offers an environment where prayer is the most important thing. ORA not only makes prayer available on your smartphone, but it makes comments, reminders and prayer partners always available too. ORA offers immediate feedback to requests, questions and comments from prayer partners and helps to track and remind the user of how prayers are answered immediately or over time. ORA helps you get a glimpse of the eternal that can be missed when we’re caught up in the stress of everyday life.

Adaptation to the 21st century
Ora is the 21st century prayer journal. What is awesome is the potential to be more real time with requests. It is good to have a visual that people are praying for you. I find that my “adaption to technology frustrations” relate to the transition culture is in. I’m nearly paper free, but Ora made me realize I never thought through how to go paper free with my prayer life. Using the app I quickly got over the ‘another app frustration’ and realized the need to make this transition.

ORA is a free download for iPhone (and is coming soon for Android). The ORA smartphone app integrates into the ORA Community system. The ORA Community system is a software as a service (SaaS) solution designed with many more management features that allows an organization to administer community-wide prayer communication and easily integrate with existing email, church management or relationship management software from leading providers. For a limited time, ORA is offering a no-cost trial of the ORA Community system for an organization. Visit the ORA website for more information: http://ora.net

Download ORA for the iPhone in the App Store! http://appstore.com/ora

Enter ORA’s Apple iPad Mini Giveaway this week! http://bit.ly/orapromo

Prayer Mentoring: Facebook

facebook_iconFor God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. ~Phil. 1:8-11

The super cool thing about facebook and twitter and Google+ (for the 2 people out there that use it) is prayer. Not in terms of seeing prayer requests but in terms of remembering.

Tip #1 pray through your friends
Use you “friends” list as a prayer list. Pray for you you can and pick up where you left off. Imagine what Paul’s prayer life would be like had facebook been around then? If you haven’t connect with someone in awhile or you know that they’re going through a hard time send them a private message that you’re praying for them.

Tip #2 don’t gossip
Facebook is another avenue for gossip and being a busy body. Don’t gossip. Instead, treating facebook as a reminder to pray for people you know in some way keeps a vertical perspective on our horizontal relationships.

Tip #3 pray right away
If a person puts a prayer request done pray right away and then say prayed. Often we say we’ll pray and then forget to. Pray right away. As others post it’ll remind you to pray again if God leads you too. Don’t wait. Just pray.

Tip#4 facebook isn’t real, face to face is
Nothing can replace REAL human contact. Sometimes rather than post a message, pick up the phone, talk and set a time to meet face to face. Facebook isn’t a replacement for community and praying in person. A helpful tool, yes, but not a replacement.

Remember God
A weird thing about facebook is it gives a small glimpse into the life of God. Imagine being bombarded with everything! Remember God is judge and you’re not. Said another way: God is God and you’re not. That said, if all the joys, annoyances, etc blow you mind sometimes, it’s nothing compared to what God goes through. And, he still hears and cares for us.

Prayer Mentoring: The majesty of casual prayer

DSC_0044The majesty of a solid prayer life is hidden in being casual. For some you’re thinking cool, others sacrilege. We think being casual isn’t godly because we view prayer as religious exercise not communication within a relationship. Prayer at it’s central core is communication with an all powerful God who is not just separate from creation, but also intricately involved in creation.

Casual as godly
Deep down in the recesses of our soul we struggle with the idea that a relationship with God is completely free. We think that there is still something we must do to merit our salvation. This is why preaching he Gospel to ourselves is important. Jesus died once for all sin. This concept that we struggle with in our soul shows up in how we prayer. We think that if we pray using the language and idioms of our day that we’re sacrilegious, undeserving of a relationship with God. Casual is godly because religiosity doesn’t save.

Godly as casual
Deep down in the recesses of our soul we struggle with the idea that God loves us as we are. So, in our prayer we mention God’s name… a lot. Some pray in what is thought of as King James English. A person’s godliness is often marked by the casualness of their prayer. Why? John tells us that perfect love casts out fear. The Bible tells us to boldly approach the throne of Grace. Godliness as casual means we understand who we are in Christ and the security we have in Christ.

By now some may be having a pious heart attack. Let me get a spiritual AED for you. Humility, faith and servanthood are the keys to a dynamic prayer life, not the radiance (or what some think is radiant) of our prayers! Religious leaders of Jesus’ day pontificate in their prayers. Humble people approached God simply. Religious leaders of Jesus’ day worried about “purity.” Servant minded people sought to help their friends see Jesus. Religious leaders of Jesus’ day put him on a cross. A faith filled criminal understood who Jesus was.

Casual is not flippant
People who pray casually take serious grace and their relationship with God. It’s not a matter of being flippant, arrogant, or any other ‘ant’ word one can think of. What is central to such prayers is a relationship with a real God who loves us. Now, in fairness, some people are just brilliantly eloquent and classy in how they talk, and it shows up in their prayers. That’s awesome. Why? Because they’re approaching God in the way that he artistically designed them. If you’re a farmer then pray like a farmer. A poet, then pray like a poet.

Prayer Mentoring: Praying for our country

We must keep the Gospel first and the Gospel central. A significant part of that is praying for our country and it’s leaders. Too often churches get stuck on political issues and not the root of those issues- our need of a Savior. We need Jesus. Our country needs Jesus. Given the birthday of the USA, I thought it right to discuss the importance of prayer for our country.

Peter: Submit
Peter wrote is first letter to the church while it was under persecution. A main theme Peter wove throughout the book is the importance of submitting and doing good work. You heard correctly, regardless of the government we’re to submit, love and perform good deeds. Why? Because they’re people to be reached regardless of politics. A key part of praying for our government is our attitude towards it.

Paul: Life quiet and peaceable lives.

“1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” ~ Timothy 2:1-6

How to pray
In praying for our country and it’s leaders there are three things to focus on: 1) That we have the right attitude towards our government and the country. We’re more effective in reaching people out of compassion than disdain. 2) We pray for peace. God ordained government to restrain and deal with evil. This is why the government is given the power of the sword. 3) We focus on the Gospel. Government doesn’t save, Jesus does. A political party is not our redeemer, Jesus is. And, Jesus wants to be a friend to all.

The bottom line:
A key aspect to our prayer life needs to be praying for our country. We should start with our own attitude. We should pray for our leaders. Most importantly, we must keep the Gospel in focus. We pray for peace to in order to have the most opportunity to share what brings ultimate peace.

Find out who your local, state and federal leaders are and pray for them regularly.
Thank God for where he placed you and your attitude towards that place.

Why not Wednesday? The Prayer Meeting

The mid-week prayer meeting started early in the life of the church. While Sunday was often a day of worship with focus on God’s Word, the church reserved the mid-week meeting for prayer. For many, in time, the prayer meeting became a tradition and soon lacked its vitality.

Tradition is not a vice. Apathy is. Often the issue with tradition is not the tradition, it’s forgetting what it is about. The prayer meeting started as a way to act on the priority of prayer. The tradition becomes a vice when its reason for existence is “because we’ve always done that, that’s why.”

Apathy is the tarnish of tradition. So, how do we polish tradition so it can shine? There are three critical needs for the prayer meeting:

  • We need to realize that prayer demonstrates our dependence and focus on God.
  • We need to understand that prayer is a way we show direct access to God.
  • We need to see that corporate prayer is as vital and important as private prayer.

Corporate prayer will look different for each church, but it is an essential part to being a church. A church’s success is best measured by two things: It’s sending capacity and its prayer capacity. The first demonstrates its ability to make disciples. The second demonstrates is total dependence upon God.

The bottom line:
Corporate prayer is an essential aspect to church. The Prayer Meeting, like many things in life, needs constant attention. It is easy to let important traditions become tarnished by apathy. Keep the prayer meeting a polished and bright. Pray together because we need God and enjoy His presence.