9 Apps for Advent

posted Dec 1, 2013, 8:09 PM by Terry Brady   [ updated Nov 8, 2014, 6:16 PM by Farar Elliott ]
My smartphone gets a lot of use during Advent. Mostly lists of presents to get, baking to do, parties and pageants and performances to remember.

If that's you, too, try this. Add a prayer app. I test-drove a bunch last Advent, and it's not as faith-dorky as it sounds. Here are the ones I like best:

My new favorite! If you're anything like me, the biggest obstacles that keep you from praying is organizing or keeping a list of prayers, then actually remembering to pray for those things when life gets busy. This app is so clean and beautiful. It keeps track of prayers, reminds you to pray, and gives you a timer so you can devote, say, 15 seconds to praying for the jerk in the next cubicle. 

Bible Gateway
There are a lot of Bible apps, but the sheer amount of Bible on this one blows my mind. 90 different translations of the Bible, plus, in case you want to proclaim the gospel on the go, you can share verses via Facebook and Twitter. Commentaries, reading guides, and an incredible search function make this the best of the bunch. 

This one is just what it says – the lectionary. It has the collect, readings and psalms for each Sunday and for the daily office, in contemporary or traditional language. Plus, for added zip, the background is in the appropriate liturgical color.

Insight Timer
If meditation is your gig, this is the ticket. It has nice Tibetan bells that ring when you start and finish, and it will keep track of your total meditation time, for the quantitative contemplaters out there. It's free, and there is an upgrade that allows you to keep an online journal of your meditation practice and do other fancy stuff. 

Daily Office from Mission St. Clare
Spanish! Like several other apps listed here, Mission St. Clare provides the Daily Office, morning and evening, with daily readings and collects. The reason this one is great is that one can toggle between English and Spanish versions. 

Reflections on the Daily Office
For Anglophiles out there, this daily prayer plus reflections thereon is based on the only Bible reading notes designed specifically for the Church of England. Since it has both lectionary stuff and reflections, it’s one-stop shopping. A year’s subscription is $2.99, but you can try it out first. Just download the app, with three weeks’ worth of material, without charge. 

Imitation of Christ 
Thomas a Kempis published Imitation of Christ in Latin around 1418. It’s been a classic work on the spiritual life ever since. One cool thing about the app is that selections from the book are on virtual cards that shuffle randomly, so there’s some mystery to what you’ll find when you open it. Each one is illustrated with also-mysterious pen-and-ink drawings. 

Day by Day
You know those little Day By Day booklets that are on the table in many Episcopal parish halls? This is the app version. It costs $6.99, which is more expensive than picking one up at church, but cheaper than subscribing to get them mailed to you four times a year. Just like the print version, there are brief reflections on the readings for each day, as well as daily prayers and saints.

by Farar Elliott