By Rob Imberger
Our life with Jesus doesn’t deepen by accident. All of us know the habits and rhythms that help or hinder and, for many of us, a ‘quiet time’ featuring prayer and bible reading has been a given throughout our faith journey.
If you’ve found a meaningful way to do it that works for you and remains fresh coming into 2024, keep going! But if you need some new ideas, and if you don’t need to leave your device in a drawer, then check out my review of the top devotional apps.
✅ Stimulating combination of silence, insightful questions, and rich reflection
✅ Achievable morning and evening routines (with a few days either side too)
❌ Design is clumsy and sometimes buggy
Lectio365 comes out of the 24/7 Prayer movement, and it aims to help Christians P.R.A.Y., ie. pausing to be still, rejoicing with and reflecting on Scripture, asking God for help, and yielding to God’s will. Various speakers write and lead the devotionals, shaped by week- or month-long series, as well as stopping for ‘feast days’ to honour influential Christians from around the world. It somehow manages to be calming, challenging, invigorating and reassuring, all at once.
✅ Heaps of theme and plan options for listening, reading, or studying
❌ Some content is hit and miss
YouVersion touts itself as the most downloaded bible app, and for good reason. For a free product, it will give you an enormous amount of content (reading plans, daily meditations, and much more). And if you’re new to using your device for bible reading and/or devotionals, this is probably the best option for you: it provides new content each day without you going looking.
✅ Great follow-up from app team
✅ Guided plans to help motivate daily engagement
❌ $90 annual subscription
I was really impressed with Glorify’s features, look, and tone. It’s easy to navigate and full of options that make it a lot more than a daily devotional. Signing up via email doesn’t oblige you to begin a paid plan, and there’s much to discover that is unlocked. Unique features you won’t find on other apps include custom songs and an editable journal.
Honourable mentions go to…
✅ High production value
✅ Strong bible focus
❌ $60 annual subscription
The principal purpose of Dwell is to let Scripture be read over you, and there are seemingly endless customisations to allow for this. Dwell offers plans that last short or long periods, taking in whole bible books or themed areas of focus. It’s ideal for those uninterested in reflections or guided prayer, but rather simply want to be washed in God’s word.
Every Day with Jesus
✅ Strong brand with long history
✅ Multiple readings per reflection
❌ Production quality is not high and narration verges on dull
Many believers aged 50+ will remember growing up with these pocket-size study guides written by Selwyn Hughes, featuring a short passage of Scripture followed by a reflection and prayer prompt. This has now been converted into app form, with the option of being guided by Hughes’ words, or contemporary content. EDWJ is well-suited to someone who can commit around 10mins a day but who also wants to read wider with connected passages.
✅ Recognises the power of Christ-centered mindfulness
✅ Customisable for goal-setting
❌ Background music is difficult to turn off
From the moment you open the app, Abide puts you at ease and ’welcomes’ you well. You’re presented with various questions about what you’re looking for, eg. guidance, better sleep, regulating emotions, bible reading, etc. It aims to meet the Christian who wants to cultivate a slowed-down pace, and it would especially suit someone keen to manage their anxiety with God’s help.
✅ Rich and customisable features
✅ Lectio Divina daily devotionals
❌ $95 annual subscription
Written from a Roman Catholic ethos, this app remains an accessible and feature-rich resource for the global Church. Although some aspects may be unfamiliar for some, Hallow emphasises the believer’s worship (“hallowing”) of God, which it promotes through guided Scripture and prayer reflections. With prompts about what interests a user has, it will tailor the experience and provide a strong devotional structure.