By Sally Ivaska

Living Water: Meeting God Where You Are

“What a helpful way to meditate on the Word.”

“Now I can have my quiet time while I walk.”
“Those bells — an immediate call to slow down and listen to God!”

These are comments from friends who have used the Jesuit website Pray-as-you-go, a free service which provides daily music, scripture, and reflections for prayer to use on an mp3 player. From the opening bells to the Gloria Patri, this devotional tool provides a framework for thoughtful reflection on Scripture and on one’s own relationship to God. Here are some of the reasons why I recommend it:

  • It’s brief, about 10-15 minutes, and can be tucked into any part of my day. Each session combines music, Scripture, and some reflection questions to help you refocus on God and his presence in your life.
  • It’s portable. All five days can be downloaded at the beginning of the week to an mp3 player, allowing for use in a variety of venues.
  • It’s online. Initially I feared that using it on my computer would feel too work-related, or that I would miss the familiar feel of my leather-bound devotional guide. But to my surprise, sitting down at the computer and being led into the presence of God before opening email has become an effective way to start my day with the Lord.
  • Music centers the listener on God. The music is from a variety of genres and worship traditions. The website also features breathing and body exercises to help develop stillness, focus, and attentiveness. Information on the artists and CDs used is available at the site.
  • Scripture readings follow the pattern of Lectio Divina. There is a reading from the Word, a few questions for reflection, a time for meditation, and then a re-reading of the passage and more time to respond to God in prayer. This “spiritual reading” was an important element in early monasticism, so it is a devotional style that bonds me to the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us.
  • It’s British. I’ve appreciated the accent and find I listen more closely.

Having said how much I like it, as with any devotional tool, it has limitations. Perhaps what I miss the most is time for intercession. Pray-as-you-go focuses on one’s personal relationship with God. But that relationship spills over into all other relationships — family, friends, neighborhood, church community, nation, and ultimately the world. I fear becoming too ingrown if my devotional life fails to take me beyond myself. So an online tool that leads me through a series of intercessory prayers would be a nice addition to this site.

Pray-as-you-go has become for me a quiet sanctuary at the beginning of my day. I highly recommend it as a rich tool for your devotional life.

About the Author

Sally Ivaska is the wife of David, mother of four sons, and proud grandmother of Zadie Marie. She has a master of arts in teaching from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University. Her passions — small group Bible study and all things cross-cultural — have taken many forms over the years: hosting international students, coordinating small groups for her church, serving as the International Student Advisor at North Park University, and training African students to study Scripture inductively and write their own discussion materials. Sally is never far from a book or a friend and enjoys life most when her “plate is full.”

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