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Five apps for Lent

Author: John McKenna

Photo credit: Sarah (Rosenau) Korf

Five apps for Lent

Five free smartphone and tablet apps to help you get the most out of Lent.

Still haven’t decided what to do during Lent? Or need some support to see your fasting through to Easter? Here are five free apps to help.

1.     Youversion Bible app

Visiting my parents this weekend, their parish priest used his homily to encourage the congregation to immerse themselves in the Gospel this Lent.

I’m going to do just that, and use this brilliant little app to help me.

The Youversion Bible app is full of reading plans including whole and partial Bible plans (like the Gospels in 30 days) and themed devotionals, including Lent reading plans. The plan I’m going for is a mixture of both: The 40-Day Gospel Bible Reading Challenge.

There is a huge range of Bible translations available to suit your taste, and multiple languages available too.

When you use a reading plan you can tick off each reading as you do it. If for any reason you fall behind, you can simply hit the “catch up” button to bring you up to speed.

And best of all, if you don’t have a smartphone, you can still use the reading plans by visiting bible.com.

You can also download the app from there, or from Google Play here or the App Store here.

2.     MyFitnessPal

Bear with me on this one. For many Lent means giving up a favourite food or tipple, and we all know how difficult that can be (even with Sabbath rests from fasting).

Accountability can work wonders for staying on the right track, and MyFitnessPal helps you do that.

You can enter the food you eat each day and set that against any exercise you may be doing – it is a popular app with dieters and those in training for sporting events.

You can download the app from Google Play here and the App Store here .

Just like keeping a prayer journal, the very act of writing down what you are eating may help keep you focused on the fact you are fasting, and to think about what you are fasting for: runners use the app to get in shape for a marathon; it helps to be reminded that, to paraphrase Saint Paul, you’re giving up something you love because you’re running in an even greater race than a marathon.

Speaking of prayer journals…

3.     Prayer Notebook

This app is primarily marketed as being a prompter - a way of reminding you if you have promised to pray for someone.

It enables you to make categories of prayer requests, and file them under “answered” and “unanswered”.

As well as using the app for prayer requests, you can also use it as a prayer journal that records your own spiritual journey through Lent, allowing you to keep track of the prayers you pray each day and come Easter review what has changed.

There is a free “Lite” version available on the App Store here, although this only allows you five prayers at a time. You can buy the full version here for £1.49.

4.     Pray As You Go

Originally a podcast by Jesuit Media Initiatives, Pray as You Go is an app that downloads daily audio reflections on one of the readings from that day’s Mass.

The audio normally lasts around 10 minutes, and comprises a piece of music followed by that day’s reading, which is read twice and interspersed with prayerful reflections on the scripture.

Like the name suggests, it is a great app to get in some prayer time while you’re on the move: perfect for the morning commute or, like me, when you’re walking the dog.

Available from Google Play here and the App Store here.

5.     Laudate

The Catholic Church in your pocket. Laudate claims it is the No.1 Catholic app and it is hard to argue with such a claim when you look at the level of content available.

Fancy reading the daily Mass readings during lent? They’re on this app. Want to regularly pray the Rosary during Lent? It’s on this app. Want to do the Stations of the Cross, pray the Liturgy of the Hours, remember your prayers for Confession…well, you get the idea.

With Laudate in your pocket you’ll always have access to the prayers and scripture you want during Lent.

Available on Google Play here  and the App Store here.

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