While scrolling through Facebook recently I came across a post from a twenty-year-old young lady, a former student of mine from the Classical Conversations program where I teach tenth graders once a week. Although I didn’t know the young man she wrote about, I could tell he was a dear friend of hers who had passed away in an accident. Later when his phone was returned to his parents, they discovered an alarm on it that asked, “Who did you help today?”
It seemed that this hidden prompt, a daily for-his-eyes-only reminder to evaluate how he was living and serving others didn’t come as a surprise to those who knew him. It made an impact on many, and my former student shared a photo of its impact on her — those words tattooed on the inside of her wrist.
Though I didn’t know him, his story impacted me as well.
I have three alarms set on my watch, inspired by Stephanie Bryant’s devotional in the first (in)courage book, Craving Connection. In it, she encourages readers to set prayer alarms throughout the day. The idea really spoke to me, and since then, my watch quietly nudges me at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 8 p.m. each day.
Sometimes I stop what I’m doing and pray. If I’m really busy I may get no further than a simple Thank You, Lord. My favorite is when I’m in the middle of devotional time and the alarm syncs with what I’m already doing; it prompts me to dig beneath the words on the page and connect deeper. Lately, I’ve been challenging myself to pray big prayers because I worship a big God.
But now after reading such a small piece of this young man’s personal story, the question on his phone alarm left an impression on me, someone he never met. I’ve renamed my 8 p.m. alarm. It’s no longer labeled Prayer, but rather, Who did you help today?
Please join me today at (in)courage for the rest of the story as we think about how this question might affect us and how we live our days.