Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yes You Can -- Chris Lim's Prayer App

I opened my e-mail one day to discover a note from a friend who told me he had prayed for me that morning. He had signed up for an app called Ceaseless, which sends him daily messages that include a scripture and the names of five of his Facebook friends so that he can take a few minutes to pray for them. My name had come up that day.

I don't know about you, but I am always blessed to learn that someone has brought me before the throne of God through prayer. My friend gave me the website and suggested I might also like to sign up. I did, and am in my third week of receiving my own daily reminders to pray for specific Facebook friends. I may have already prayed for you!

Each day, as I see the faces of five friends -- some whom I am close to, others whom I barely know -- I pray for them. The Bible calls us to pray for each other. Even the apostle Paul asked people to pray for him! So when I pray, I am fulfilling a part of my role as a follower of Jesus. I am also participating in the dream of the young visionary who created this app, Christopher Lim.

Chris is a twenty-something computer programmer from the Seattle area. Tom and I had coffee with him a while back. I wanted to know more about the person who would make an app to encourage people to uphold others in prayer. With that conversation, and questions that he answered for me online, I came to appreciate this young man whose heart is set on the things of God.

Raised in a loving Christian home, Chris found joy in following the Lord, yet he struggled with a sense of being unlovable. "My whole life was driven by a desire to impress and amaze people since those were the only times I felt loved by them," he told me. But through an experience during his days at the University of Washington, he sensed the Lord saying to him, "'Chris, you can't impress me and you don't have to impress me. I love you just as you are. Apart from all that you have done and despite all the sins you have committed, I love you -- I gave my Son for you.' In this moment, the gospel of Christ's death in my place on the Cross crossed the chasm between my head and my heart and my soul burst with joy and praise to God like I had never experienced before. The abiding sense of his steadfast love satisfied my longing to be loved...and instilled in me a heartfelt desire and love for Christ and a passion for others to know him."

Chris' love for Jesus, for others, and for technology have come together in the Ceaseless app. It started as a "weekend project" in March and is now operating without too much oversight. It's a simple app in an era of "exceptionally well designed and beautiful and fancy products," says Chris.

Most Christians have a desire to pray for others, he says, and "as a royal priesthood it is one of our privileges and responsibilities to intercede for people." But distractions and busyness overwhelm us. "So my aim was to try to address those two challenges technologically to see if it might help us to fulfill our priestly ministry."

"My desire is to help people experience the joy of discovering that the Father hears their prayers and answer them! I long for people to regularly experience the joy of prayer that Jesus Christ promised, 'Ask and you will receive and your joy will be full.' I long for people to share in God's compassion for others by praying for them. I long for us to obey the full scope of the priestly ministry Christ has given us. I long for God to hear and grant our petitions, doing something beyond what any of us could have asked or imagined."

In the first six months of Ceaseless, the daily e-mails sent out the names of 25,000 unique individuals to be prayed for. "What might God do with all of our intercessions? I don't know, but I am excited to find out," says Chris. And he dreams of the day that Ceaseless can provide personal  prayer for every person on earth over the course of a year.

If you would like to sign up for Ceaseless, just click this link. If you have any questions about how it works, this link will answer them.

Chris has other ideas for encouraging the church and using technology to bless the world. He believes God has called him to start a business to do just that. He will soon be leaving his job to begin this new venture.

I asked Chris what else he'd like to share. "Please pray for me as I make preparations to leave my job, devote my attention to the purpose God has called me to, and trust in him to provide. From the time that I believed this was clearly his will for me, I have struggled with all sorts of ups and downs and trials and having your prayers and those of your readers would be immensely encouraging and helpful. Perhaps the verse Ceaseless sent me this morning would be fitting:
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).
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(Yes You Can is a monthly feature that tells the story of someone who has had a dream, followed their  dream, and made a difference in their world because of it.)

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