Can an app really spur on spiritual growth? The sheer number of apps to choose from can be overwhelming. I have one that I have really enjoyed using: the app is called Lectio 365. It helps ground my faith, re-center my thinking, be more consistent in my devotions, and intentionally draw to mind who I am anchored to. It was created by the 24-7 Prayer movement. They use a liturgy structure that is contemporary, meditative, grounded in scripture, and I really appreciate that it is created to be read or listened to. They are written for every day and often connect to a larger cultural context for that specific day. It starts out by saying “As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly; to re-center my scattered senses upon the presence of God”. And every time, I think to myself – “yes. I need that.” Every. Single. Time I hear it. Maybe you do too.
Last year, I ran into one particular entry that I enjoyed so much that I wrote it down to return to later. It was a series of prompts to set aside intentional time to pause and reflect on the year and look ahead to the upcoming one. If you enjoy journaling, writing can aid in deepening the experience by slowing your thoughts down as you process your own responses. If you don’t enjoy journaling, you can think through these prompts and still gain the benefit of cultivating gratitude. Research shows that people who practice gratitude on a regular basis can help feel more positive emotions, strengthen positive experiences, improve physical health, cope with negative experiences, and strengthen relationships.
Here are some questions for you to consider: (credit: Lectio 365)
– How do I feel about 2022? What am I looking forward to in 2023? What am I hoping for? What am I anxious about?
– Replaying the last 12 months, I recall some specific events: When did I experience joy and wonder?
– What do I want to take with me as I prepare for 2023? What are some good habits I want to practice? What are some things I learned?
– Replaying the last 12 months, what can I allow myself to lament?
– Where did I get things wrong this year? Where did I sin and fall short of God’s best for me?
I hope as you considered these prompts you found these to be thought provoking, beneficial, uplifting, and fortifying as you head into a new year soon. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.