If one of your resolutions for 2018 is to "pray more," I encourage you to check out the free app known as PrayerMate. A friend introduced to me to it three years ago, and it has helped me pray more regularly and specifically.

The app enables me to keep a wide range of written prayer requests in a handy location — my iPhone. (PrayerMate also works on Android phones as well as on iOS and Android tablets.)

I can organize prayers by "lists" (such as "Family," "Missions," and "Persecuted Christians"), and then create "subjects" within those lists (e.g., individual family members, specific ministries, Christians in particular nations). PrayerMate's scheduling function allows me to schedule various lists to show up on certain days of the week (or on certain days of the month). The app also makes it possible to subscribe to prayer "feeds" from various church and parachurch groups.

Because I like to pray from Scripture as much as possible, I also use several of the biblical prayers that PrayerMate developer Andy Geers has "pre-loaded" on the app. (Note: Andy lives in the U.K., so some of the pre-loaded Bible prayers use British spellings such as "saviour.") 

PrayerMate is highly flexible. You can set it up based on your scheduling preferences (e.g., pray for a local church on Mondays, ministry organizations on Tuesday, a particular Christian school on Wednesday, etc.). You can create new subjects, adjust daily/weekly/monthly schedules as you see fit, and even add names/photos directly from your contacts list or address book of people to pray for. You can set prayer reminders too ("Pray for Jeff's job interview Tuesday at 10 a.m.").

As I mentioned, I like to use biblical prayers, so I have arranged various verses into an "opening sequence" that I use every day. I begin with adoration and thanksgiving, then focus on my need for God's grace through the work of Christ and the ministry of Holy Spirit. Here are screenshots, showing this two-part sequence of Scripture texts:

After praying through the verses shown above, I typically pray a "collect" prayer for the Church (using one the feeds available via PrayerMate), then move to my "Family" prayers with specific prayer needs for my wife, sons, and extended family.

Depending on the day of the week (and based on the schedule I have set up in PrayerMate), I will then pray for various ministries, schools, and individuals. As one who has been blessed by the work of hymn writers through the years, I also have created a list of "Prayers from Hymns" that shows up about once a week. These poetic prayers include memorable phrases such as Frances Ridley Havergal's "Take my intellect and use / Every power as thou shalt choose" (many hymns and Christian songs are simply prayers that have been set to music!).

PrayerMate allows PDF files to be imported, so each day I simply tap a link and access the PDF prayer guide published by the healthcare-sharing ministry that my wife and I are part of. I use this feature for other PDF-formatted prayer guides as well.

Setting up the app will require some work on your part. You'll need to commit time to figuring out to how to add and organize your information. Persevere! (This is a good project for an hour or so on a wintry Saturday or Sunday afternoon.) Once you get the hang of using PrayerMate, you'll find it to be a remarkable tool for improving your prayer life in 2018 — and beyond.

For download information (again, the app is free), go to app.prayermate.net. (For another strong PrayerMate recommendation, see this 2014 post from popular blogger Tim Challies.)

If you start using PrayerMate, please let us know. And may you have a Prayerful New Year!