Recently, I have been using some modern technology to serve my obedience to Colossians 4:2: "Devote yourself to prayer."
When I am studying, I often get unhelpfully focused. I can go hours studying for a sermon or reading a book and neglect to commune with God over my studying. I can get to the end of a day and realize that I have "accomplished" a lot, but have failed to actually engage my heart with God.
So, I've been looking for a way to remind myself to "live upon God" (Bunyan) regularly and intentionally throughout the day. I'm challenged by something the Psalmist said in 119:164: "Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules." The Psalmist is counting? Exactly seven times? How does he remember to praise God at these various times? He must have had some sort of "alarm" or schedule to remind him to praise God.
Thus, I downloaded a free program for my computer that acts like a grandfather clock: it chimes every hour (and even tolls the hour!). You can set it to chime every 15 mins, 30 mins, or 60 mins. So, some days, I set it to chime every 15 mins. When I hear the bells, I am compelled to commune with God. Sometimes, I set it for every hour, depending on the kind of work I am doing. Last week, I had it on all during my sermon preparation. I stopped often to ask God for His help as I prepared and preached that message.
Now, I realize it is my own weakness that needs such a thing. The ideal would be to love God so much that I can't help but commune with Him. However, my heart has much purifying that needs to be done to it. I'm hoping that these regular reminders are being used by God to wean me off of the world and onto Christ. I'm praying that I'm being trained to regularly and intentionally go to God throughout every day.
In case you want to try something similar, the program I found is called ClockSmith Lite. I'm sure there are dozens of programs like this. Use your cell phone alarm if you are out and about during the day. Use the oven timer if you are at home with kids. Use a watch alarm if you are not near a computer.
There's the chime now...