Saturday, October 22, 2005

Ideas Factory: Daily Devotions

Well, after an initial burst of enthusiasm, my blog petered out like so many others. My excuse for this is I just had my final exam for my Open University degree in psychology. This has meant my spare time has been spent revising or feeling guilty about not revising. But now that's out of the way here's an idea which I've been meaning to post about for ages.

Daily Devotions

As a Christian I think it is good to spend part of each day in prayer and reading God's word - the Bible. This is not what gets you to heaven, only accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savoiur can do that. Christianity is all about having a relationship with God, and part of having a relationship is communicating. Prayer lets us talk to God, and reading the Bible lets God talk to us.

Anyone who has tried to be dedicated in these two activities will know how hard it can be. If you are not a Christian, it can be similar to revising for an exam. You want to to do it, you know it is important, but unless you get into good habits it is possible for a million and one other things to distract you.

Part of my day job is writing software tools which make the lives of me and my colleagues easier. This means my brain is trained to think in statements like "How can I automate that?" or "How can I get a computer to help me overcome my mistakes in that?". Automation of prayer has been tried by other religions, but I do not believe in it. However, a tool to help in the discipline of daily reading the bible and prayer has been something I've looked for and haven't found.

It would be nice if this tool had features similar to several other programs:
  • A Calendar/Diary program, so it would help you overcome apathy by giving you a reminder (maybe by email)
  • A collaborative information tool like a Wiki, so things like a Church prayer diary could be shared
  • A database of resources, so for example you could automatically get the M' Cheyne reading each day
  • An educational software tool, maybe testing you on memorisation of bible verses
  • A statistical/bug tracking/Business Intelligence tool so for accountability you could keep track of how you were doing

There are several general tools which will do this job, for example, with a bit of hacking I'm sure you could get Lotus Notes to do a lot of it. But by creating a specific tool you could make it very easy to use for this one particular job, and that would mean people are more likely to use it.

I haven't managed to find anything which does this yet. I think this idea from the ideas factory I will start to do myself.


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