One in three people suffers from sleep deprivation...three out of four feel the physical effects of stress...and one in five suffers from anxiety. In a time when symptoms of stress, anxiety and general life dissatisfaction plague our society, Soultime, a Christian meditation app, is encouraging people to set aside daily moments for spiritual connection and meditation on the Word of God. Soultime has many features designed to encourage and support inner-healing and connection including guided Scripture meditations, Bible readings, classic hymns arranged with soothing instrumentals, ambient sounds like running water, waves and wind, and sleep stories including the classic Christian tale "The Pilgrim's Progress."
Possibly the most noteworthy feature of Soultime is the daily "mood-checker" which asks users to evaluate their feelings about God, others and themselves through 24 different key areas. Based on these self-assessments,Soultime curates a collection of Scriptures, readings, songs, and more, to address the root needs of each person, day-to-day.
We are honored to be able to chat with Founder and CEO of Soultime Mark Wagner for this exclusive interview.
Q: Mark, thanks for doing this interview with us. What is the Soultime app?
A: We describe it as a Christian meditational app. In the last few years, Buddhist and secular meditation apps have become all the rage. So much so that Christians have almost forgotten that the Bible is full of meditation but in a way that's different - and in my view much more rewarding.
Q: I believe this app helps us to meditate on God's word. What do you have to say to people who may say "I am far too busy" to meditate?
A: I'd say "me too!" But we're all like our phones or laptops. We can run for a while without being connected. But eventually our charge gets low and we start saying things like "I can't talk for long because I'm almost out of juice". It's the same with us - when we don't take time to recharge our souls we end up not having much left either for ourselves or for those around us.
Q: What practical steps can one take to set time apart for God?
A: It's not a very original answer, but honestly, finding and keeping to a regular time that works for you is still the best solution. I plug my phone in each evening when I go to sleep and I try to make time to meditate before I go to sleep as well. But honestly, the best time is the time works for you. The key is not the action of meditating itself, the key is being able to find, to get to, that place of connection. Soultime is designed to help you find that place.
Q: When you talk about mediation, what do you mean by "meditation"?
A: So Biblical meditation is different. It's not about emptying your head but about taking the time to connect with God - his promises, his goodness. David talks about "gazing on the beauty of the Lord". Paul says "whatever things are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, dwell on these things". It's a process that's at the same time both incredibly simple but yet strangely difficult - especially when life is busy and stressful.
Q: What are the benefits of meditation?
A: About 3000 years ago God said to Joshua that the benefit of him meditating on His words were that Joshua would be "prosperous and successful". In the New Testament Paul says that if we practice thinking about the true, honorable, just, pure and lovely that the "God of peace will be with you". Modern science is just beginning to catch up with lots of studies around these days looking at the benefits of meditation in terms of better sleep, less stress and so on.
Q: How long would you recommend that we should spend time with God each day?
A: I don't think it's possible to make general rules - people's lives are so different and go through different phases. At one time we had 4 children under 4. It was hard to find 5 minutes! They're all grown up now so finding time is easier. The key isn't the length of time but rather not letting go until you find that real connection. Soultime is all about giving you tools to help you do that.
Q: There's also music on the app. How does music help in our meditation? What can you tell us about the music you've chosen for the app?
A: It was King David the "singer of Israel" that first recognized that when we come to God with music something changes in the atmosphere. Music brings the atmosphere of heaven closer to us. We've been lucky enough to have Emmy nominated composer Robert Logan do beautiful modern meditational music for us, as well as doing versions of many of the best-loved hymns. We've also got great new music from other well-known musicians coming soon.
Q: How has meditating on God's Word helped you in your own journey?
A: I used to think that time with God was about asking for things. But in meditation I've begun to learn so much more about God. I've learned that as I understand more about myself I understand so much more about God's heart. In meditation I've discovered that God comes and holds my hand so that there's nowhere that's too frightening to go. I've learned that as I've become comfortable going even to the difficult and shameful parts of my life and history I can finally learn how to be my true self and to live my true life.