I’m a terrible multi-tasker. As much as I’d like to think otherwise, my brain simply can’t give an adequate level of attention to more than one or two things at a time. Most of us have been there; you’re having a time of prayer and the phone rings. Immediately, I forget that I’m spending time bringing my cares to the King of the universe, and instinctively reach for my phone. The phone call ends. I go get a glass of water, walk around the house for a bit, pack up some Lego, then eventually remember that I was praying.
I’m so sorry God! I totally forgot about you!
The distractions aren’t always the fault of my iPhone however; my brain is easily distracted by a million to-do lists for work, study, family, my own interests, upcoming events, you name it. But what if there was a way that my iPhone could be better used to clear the clutter from my brain before it takes over and I forget what really matters? Here are 5 ways Siri has helped me in my spiritual life.
1. Add a prayer point to your Prayer List.
Simply say to Siri “Add Greg needs a job to my Prayer List”. If you have a prayer list already, then it’s added immediately. If not, Siri will offer to create one for you, and away you go. You can find your newly created Prayer List in the Reminders app, or at any point simply ask Siri “Show me my Prayer List” and you’ve got prayer requests that can also be checked off your list when complete.
2. Let someone know you’re praying for them.
Like a lot of folks, I often pray in the car as I’m moving from A to B. With an inexpensive car kit, Siri is connected to power and completely voice activated. So while I’m driving, I can pray for a friend then say “Hey Siri, tell Phil I’m praying for you today mate”. Encouragement made easy.
3. Take captive distracting tasks for when you’re done.
If your brain is anything like mine then creating lists will also help to sanctify your prayer times from the million-and-one other things that seem to flood your thoughts the moment you try to focus your mind on prayer. Keeping Siri close by helps me by recording the distractions so that I’m free to forget them. I simply tell Siri “Add call Grandma about babysitting on Tuesday to my to-do list” and I find that as soon as I know that thought is captured, there’s no worry that I’m going to forget it, my brain lets it go, and I’m straight back to prayer. Then later I can ask Siri “show me my To Do list”, and I’m getting on with my day.
4. Read your bible or pray for a set time
If you don’t have the luxury of reading your bible with a cup of tea for an undefined length of time and you want to be able to focus without constantly looking at your clock, Siri can help. Tell Siri “set the timer for 15 minutes”, and then read or pray without your eyes darting to the clock every few seconds. You can spend quality time because you know you’re not going to be late for the next thing.
5. Use locations to remind you of things
Perhaps best used on Sunday mornings – but adaptable to any location – is Siri’s location service. The next time you’re leaving the church carpark, tell Siri “Remind me at this location to put my phone on silent”. Next week when you arrive, the reminder will pop up and you’ll be free of embarrassing beeps and dings during the sermon. Location services can also be used in conjunction with the other points above; such as telling Siri “remind me at this location to ask Grant how his wife’s surgery went” as you leave a friend’s house.
No one can deny how much life has changed now that everyone is available all the time through mobile phones. But with tips like these my hope is that technology can continue to be the slave and not the master; for the good of our families, our church communities, and ourselves.