You, God and one minute: Road-testing the Pause App

We use our mobile phones for so many things – sometimes even to make calls. Our phones can wake us up, count our steps, record our jogging, our laps, our blood pressure – the list goes on and on, so it is not surprising that we might be able to use our phones to get closer to God too.

And there are lots of prayer and worship apps wanting to help us.  I’m loving Lectio 365, from Pete Grieg’s 24-7 Movement,  at the moment and the way it anchors and kicks off my morning prayer – and, if I’m honest, sometimes is my morning prayer. There are others that can do lots of different things – guided prayer, reading plans, worship songs –  but a new-ish one, Pause – ‘A simple way to connect with God in your busy day’ – does something smaller and different.

From John Eldredge, the US author of Wild at Heart and Captivating, and based on the One Minute Pause chapter of his new books Get Your Life Back and Resilient, “the app invites you into the simple practice of releasing everything to God, restoring your union with God and inviting him to fill you.”

You have options for different lengths of pause: there are one, three and five-minute pauses and extended ten-minute pauses with “add-ons” for guidance, healing, worship, mental strength and faith. In all, the audio plays across a beautiful nature image (majestic mountains, the northern lights) and with soothing ambient music.

For me, it is the one-minute version, the quickest and most compact one, that packs the connection punch.

The three-minute pause includes some guidance for deep breathing at both the start and end and includes some key Scriptures and some confessional care-casting. The five-minute pause expands on that with a call to “linger and listen”. These longer pauses all have their place but, for me, it is the one-minute version, the quickest and most compact one, that packs the connection punch.

You set the app to give a reminder once in the morning and once in the afternoon. I chose 11am and 3pm and, more often than not, I take the pause at my desk.

It starts with a simple but absolute statement: “Jesus – I give everyone and everything to you.” Don’t let the slightly intense “Jesus!” at the start throw you off. Stick with it and agree with the declarations of desire to be more fully with God, to give him all that you have and all that you are. Commit your heart, as fully and with as much focus as you can, for 60 seconds.

And then, that’s it, you’re done, bar for my favourite part of the whole pause as the audio plays: “That’s good. That’s enough for now.”  In those six words, a whole world of performative pressure falls away. There’s something deeply encouraging and reassuring, something ‘”come all you who are heavily burdened and I will give you rest” about it: it’s all good, you are a good, daughter or son, don’t stress. It’s been nice to have you. I can almost feel the Father’s smile on me, like that to a small child being sent out to play again.

And then you do it again in the afternoon. Another opportunity to remember who and whose you are.

Taking just one minute, twice a day, to take our eyes off the world and ourselves and look to the Lord reorients us in the course of a busy day. Head down, heart up, it’s a simple but powerful re-set.

It’s a little counter to the whole vibe of the thing,  I think, that the app also allows you to record your streak, track your longest streak and your total number of pauses. Back to the performative thing again perhaps?

I pass on all that – that’s good, that’s enough for now.