Two weeks ago we talked about how we should be using technology to encourage and love others, today we will explore a couple of ideas for using our cell phone toward this endeavor.
{note: this is written with an iPhone in mind. adapt as necessary.}

As mentioned in the original post, text messages are an excellent way to let people know we are thinking of them and praying for them.

How can we do this well and with intention? While there are many ways to do this, and many apps available to organize oneself, these are two practical and easy ways my household uses our phones to help us remember to be reaching out to those around us.

1. When you hear of a prayer request add it to your phone – whether it’s a wide spread email, an announcement at church, a Facebook status, or a friend asking you specifically to pray for them add the request to a list that you routinely look through and pray through. Add as many details as you need in order to recall the request in detail.
From time to time pick out one or two items from your prayer list and send a text to the person who requested prayer, letting them know you’ve been praying and asking for an update.

Good apps to check out to hold prayer request lists ::
 as they appear in the image above, clockwise starting with the upper left: PrayerNotes {Password protected app that allows you to categorize and detail prayer requests}, Notes {native iPhone app}, GoTasks {Google’s to-do list, syncs with your Google accounts}, Any.DO {an intuitive minimalistic to-do list}


2. Set up a Google Calendar Event with daily text message reminders for yourself. One of the greatest challenges in connecting with others is simply remembering to do it and taking the time to do so. By setting up daily text messages {SMS} you will be reminded to pray for and contact the people you are wanting to be reaching out to.

Spend some time considering who you would like to be connecting with and encouraging- college students away from home, the leadership at your church, the kids in your Sunday School class, your entire church directory.

Take your list of names and split up the names, designating names to each day of the month. Begin creating Calendar events – each days “event” title will be the list of names designated to that day.
Be sure to change the setting to repeat once a month and to be notified by SMS. If you don’t see SMS as an option {e-mail and pop-up are the other two options} check your settings and add your number. When you get your daily text message with the names stop and pray for each person and on your next bathroom break send a couple of them a text.

Note: Google Calendar must verify your number before it will do SMS notifications.
The SMS that is sent to you is the title of the event, which is why it is important that names of the people be placed in the title.

These are two ways we are using our phones to stay connected with people in our lives – what apps or other means have you found to use your phone to help you build your relationship with others?