After my trip last week to Dubai, and experiencing the embarrassment of the weak westerner in a country where people take their faith (relatively) seriously at least in an outward manner, I have once again tried to instigate my own little reminder system from some time back.
Certainly our Lord has instigated the practice of the sun going up and down to help us with our morning and evening prayers, but I am trying to keep an extra mindfulness for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is the Great Fast, a time when our spiritual life should be an even greater focus than usual in preparation for Pascha. Secondly, with travel / jet lag / meetings and dinners it is easy (for me) to forget between those sun-up and sun-down moments. At the end of the day particularly this adds a spiritual element to my tiredness.
So, the smartphone was programmed before I left Australia to ping a meeting reminder at the time corresponding to the services of the hours and present me with the Trisagion Prayers and the psalms and prayer corresponding to that hour.
Sounds simple doesn’t it – except meeting invitations don’t really work well when you change timezones; during the trip to the US and the first day my smartphone requested me to prayer the Australian Hours. At least at that time my body was tuned still.
A little swapping around and my prayer time was synced for the US. This might sound a bit crazy but it has at least kept my prayer life more front of mind and certainly in these few days reduced the spiritual lag at the end of the day.
Sometimes we just need a kick, and this is a small one that I can get my phone to do, rather than telling me that someone commented on Facebook or what meeting I am missing in Australia at 3am.
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me