I'm a software developer based in London. I'm married to Elise and we have three primary school aged kids. We belong to Euston Church which is nestled amongst various university campuses nearby.
I have the great privilege of running Discipleship Tech, a small charity building Christian apps like PrayerMate, where we're currently working on a relatively ambitious project to create a BibleOverview mobile adventure game to help people engage with the big Bible story ("The Serpent & The Seed").
That's something of a lifelong dream of mine so feels like a real privilege!
Tell us about a ministry you love
Along the road whilst developing PrayerMate, I realised that there must be other Christian software developers out there who would be interested in how their faith and their professional skills connected, so with a few others I helped set up a community here called Kingdom Code UK. That's something that has really taken on a life of its own, and they now run annual Christian hackathons (there's another one coming up mid-October in London and in Leeds, for those who might be interested).
It's been such an encouragement to see all of these people seeking to live for Jesus in the world of technology, and thinking through how they can glorify God with their talents.
Do you seek to have a daily 'quiet time'? If so, what does this time look like?
Since having kids, my wife & I long gave up calling it "quiet time"! We have "Bible time" instead, which we tend todo together. We find it helpful to anchor it to a regular event which we know will reliably happen every day - which for us means doing it straight after breakfast. We'll pray for God's help as we read a short bit of the Bible together, chat it over and then pray it through.
How do you read the Bible?
We tend to work through a particular book of the Bible bit by bit. We try and mix it up a bit between Old and New Testament.On a Sunday we might tend to read the passage that we know will be preached at church later, to help prepare us for that.
What practices have you found helpful for engaging with the Bible?
I've been finding it harder to focus in sermons lately, so one discipline I have been finding helpful is to take notes. I've been trying out a new app I was recommended called ChurchNotes, which is handy for keeping them all together in one place. The important thing then is to review those notes later in the week, by which time I've often forgotten what it was all about. Coming back to it like that is so helpful for actually engaging with what God is saying to me through the Bible and allowing him to change me through it.
What does your prayer life look like?
You might have guessed that I find it helpful to use thePrayerMate app to help me pray! I have a few lists of people that I like to include each time I pray: something for my own walk with God, something related to my wife, something related to my kids, someone from my small group at church.
But then PrayerMate suggests a few other things/people that I haven't prayed for in a while, perhaps a prayer request from a Christian ministry like Open Doors or a friend who I haven't seen in a while. I used to do this on my commute to work but since working from home that hasn't worked. It's not ideal, but more recently I've found the time that works most reliably was whilst emptying the dishwasher before breakfast. I need some kind of routine where I know I'll have a bit of uninterrupted time to myself and before I get carried away with the busyness of the day.
My wife and I also make a point of praying together last thing at night before we go to sleep. That tends to be a more contemporaneous time of prayer, and an opportunity to pray for things going on in our lives or friends with particular urgent needs, or things in the headlines. I've also found it really helpful to end each day with prayer like that, and an opportunity to give thanks for the good gifts God has given.
Do you make use of any catechisms, liturgies or pre-written prayers?
For some of those people I pray for most often, PrayerMate has a few prayer packs you can download, like different ways to pray for your kids or for an unbelieving family member. I've found those really helpful for avoiding my prayers getting stuck in a rut or overly repetitive. Confession is another area where I've found liturgies really helpful - the Church of England (of which I'm a part) has some really good ones of those, or there are books like The Valley of Vision or Prone to Wander.
How have you failed or struggled in these areas? What has God taught you as a result?
All of this definitely looks very different since getting married and having kids. I find it much harder these days to carve out time alone to meditate on God's word and pray, and find myself far more easily distracted. But in other ways it's been really helpful to have Elise there as my "glory buddy". All in all I think God is definitely teaching me humility - not to think too highly of myself. I definitely can't earn my way to God by my own feeble efforts!
What wisdom would you share with a younger Christian?
Remember that God calls us all to follow him wholeheartedly, and to love him above all else - but what that's going to look like in practice might be different for each of us. I spent a lot of my life feeling like if I was going to be really serious about following Jesus then I ought to give up being a software developer and go and work for a church full time (and the church needs some people to be willing to do that!) but God has given us all different gifts and there may be something that he has uniquely equipped you to do that has a very different shape to what that other godly person over there has been called to do.
For me, I have found my little niche making Christian apps - and it's been such a joy to get to serve Jesus in this way! The important question is, given the gifts, skills and opportunities that God has given you, what can you best be doing to bring him glory? And in the mean time, to get on with seeking to grow in holiness and love for Jesus.