By Norris Burkes Oct 31, 2021

If you’re having trouble with your spiritual life, I’m happy to announce that there’s an “app” for that. If you don’t know what an app is, then you’re in for a treat.

App is short for an application that works on your Smartphone to do a specific task. There are apps to help you manage every aspect of your spiritual life that you may currently be approaching with old-fashioned methods like prayer and such.

I once downloaded an app called EZPray that produced a prayer from any of 14 Christian saints that was directed toward the user’s specific needs. There are hundreds of Bible apps including the Top 100 Bible Verses app that promises to provide “powerful and life-changing scriptures.”

The spiritual apps aren’t limited to Christian doctrine. Muslim apps provide prayer times and a compass pointed toward Mecca. New Age apps provide a guide for stones and crystals. You get the idea.

In all seriousness, I can’t promise that using a new-fangled Smartphone application will bring you closer to God. However, I do encourage you to be open to the new ways to encounter God. The old ways may be easier, but they aren’t always right.

It’s like this: When I was a kid, my father asked me to dig a drainage ditch in our yard. He defined both the beginning and the end, but he let me choose my method for digging the ditch. At first, the digging was difficult, but it quickly got easier when I discovered a gopher trail along the ditch path. With a newfound ease, I put my pick into the hole and pulled up on the handle to transform the tunnel into a ditch.

Soon my father returned and ran his gaze up and down the ditch track. “How’d you do it so fast?” he asked.

“It was easy. I followed this gopher trail.”

“That’s nice,” my dad said, hiding his smirk, “but I can’t lay pipe in that ditch.”

“Why not?” I protested.

He motioned me into the ditch where I eyed it from level ground. The ditch began and ended at the points he determined, but the path was as crooked as a hose laid out by a drunken fireman.

Choosing to follow the traditions and spiritual habits that are laid out by those before us can be helpful, but every once in a while, it’s good to survey your path from another perspective. If your spiritual habits keep you from thinking, as did the trail of my gopher friend, then it’s really no journey at all.

The ancient prophets wrote volumes about people whose traditional religious practices became their God. These worshippers were more in love with their forms of worship than they were the one they worshipped.

Using traditions to aid in our spiritual paths can be helpful when we are lost, but if we’re not careful, we’re going to find that we are simply following the crooked diggings of a confused gopher, an easy path devoid of meaning.

We can’t simply assume that traditions are the only way. Bust out of your religious rut. Explore. God is everywhere. As you do, I think you will find the new paths refreshing. While scripture promises that God is, “…the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), we must remember that “His mercies are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:23).


Read Norris’s past columns at Contact him at or 10556 Combie Rd. Suite 6643 Auburn, CA 95602 or voicemail (843) 608-9715. Twitter @chaplain.