Finding God in apps

One hundred million people worldwide now have Calm on their smartphones, a meditation app that monetized doing absolutely nothing.

The app’s popularity skyrocketed during the pandemic, as anxieties ran high and finding peace and quiet proved harder to do.

Calm provides mindfulness meditations, breathing exercises and bedtime stories to encourage users to take some time to chill out.

My screen-time calculator attests that I could afford to do more of nothing.

At an average of five hours per day, by the end of this year I will have spent 76 days on my screen, and not much of that time has gotten me much closer to God.

When I was tasked with identifying the best Catholic prayer apps, I was grateful for the opportunity to turn my screen time into soul time.

I wondered at first, why not just try Calm’s non-religious meditations?

A soft voice from a reflection called “Sitting in silence with God” on the Hallow app I had just downloaded answered that question: “The goal of prayer and of any session in Hallow is never to remain in ourselves but always to lift our hearts and minds up to God to talk with him, to listen to him, and to recognize his presence in us.”

I was grateful for the opportunity to turn my screen time into soul time.

With that in mind, here are my picks for the top three Catholic prayer apps.

Pray as You Go

If you are prone to indecision like me, the free app Pray As You Go offers a refuge from information overload. It provides one practical prayer session per day and about one fifth of the content of Hallow and Laudate.

Each prayer session includes introductory music, the day’s Gospel reading and a reflection. A ministry of the British Jesuits, the prayers are written by Jesuits and others trained in Ignatian spirituality. The 10 to 13 minute audio sessions encourage you to consider moments throughout the day where you found or could look for God’s presence, and they fit easily into a daily walk or commute.

Pray as You Go also offers reflections on specific struggles like loneliness and addiction. You can find audio retreats for married couples, health care workers and people spending time in nature and other groups or situations. These series provide space to step out of day-to-day life and into a deeper prayer experience.

And if you are not sold already, the Pray as You Go reflections are read by men and women with soothing British accents. Continue reading

  • Amelia Jarecke is an editorial intern at America.
Additional reading

News category: Analysis and Comment.

Tags: , , , ,