Development / Help build a prayer app

Help build a prayer app

OneSheep prayer app

OneSheep Prayer AppA little under two years ago I helped set up a new ministry that sprung out of a well established organisation. The vision was to help other ministries figure out and use technology well in their mission context. Starting a ministry sure has it’s challenges and pretty much the only way to overcome them is on your knees, in prayer.

Even so, we knew we needed as many people praying as possible, lifting informed prayers to God for our unique and specific needs. Needs that were changing week by week as we started to find our feet.

To be honest, we struggled as technologists to get useful, timely and targeted prayer requests out. We ‘self medicated,’ applying our strategic and technology focused thinking to the problem. We tried a bunch of ideas from project management tools to email services, to social networks.

Through this experimenting we came to the conclusion that the ideal solution would be a mobile app for prayer. Great, what’s everyone using for this?

I couldn’t find a single person I knew who used a prayer app. So I went to the app store, where I found a bunch of apps with some relation to prayer, but not one of them solved this problem. We found personal note-taking apps, daily liturgy apps and public global prayer walls. Then a moment of inspiration came and we scribbled out a concept that would cover all our prayer need issues: Sharing privately, sharing in different contexts, getting feedback and seeing answers to prayer.

The Prayer App, (yes, we do need a better name at some point) uses circles to allow you to control exactly who receives your prayer requests. You have total privacy over your prayers and only you can see who they are shared with. You can create a circle for any context you choose, be it family, church friends or small group. You control whether you join or leave a circle, and all circles are independent of each other.

Feedback is at the heart of what makes The Prayer App so special. Share a prayer request and you’ll be notified the instant someone prays for it. Knowing when people are praying is a powerful encourager. When a prayer is answered you can update your request and encourage everyone who prayed, closing the loop, stirring up praise to God and creating a journal of your prayer life with a single tap. This clear premise provides an amazing variety of use cases and opportunities, and on its own we believe would really encourage and spur on the prayer life of the individual. Yet, as a ministry ourselves this was only a part of the solution; a good one, but there was a missing piece.

The ministry or church context is a little more complex than the individual, yet when I share prayer or come to pray I don’t want to have prayer requests in different silos. A church network for church needs, a prayer leaflet for the ministries I support. I want them all in one place. So, the Prayer App has an organisation side, allowing a circle to be controlled by a church or ministry, so only missionaries or members can contribute and also a public ‘read-only’ feed so supporters can receive and pray.

What does this mean? Well, a large organisation could have a circle internally that shows every prayer need in real time from right across the ministry world, or they could break it down to each region or project team. When any team comes to a prayer time the app will show them exactly what needs prayer right then.

A missionary can get prayer requests to all of their supporters right at the moment of need, not in the next prayer letter or mail shot. Their prayer requests can be specific and timely. With each prayer request a journal can form naturally, as people indicate they’ve prayed, as the story gets updated and as God moves to answer prayer. The app will save these great testimonies, and perhaps even remind you on an answered prayer anniversary, reminding you of God’s goodness in your life. As an individual I can share prayers with my family, friends, small group, or any social grouping i choose. I can see the needs of the ministries I love and the needs of my church all in one place.

The prayer app can be the heartbeat of your prayer life; you’ll always know the needs, always know when you’re prayed for, always be encouraged by seeing prayers answered and always have way of getting out a prayer request right at your point of need.

It’s a grand vision, one we often can’t believe has been cracked, but we do believe this can be done. We have vision for an app that Christians the world over are using to share and pray for one another.

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You can support The Prayer App by offering coding or design skills, testing or QA skills, by donating to the project, and of course, most importantly, through prayer itself.