Hackathon Improves an App to Cover a City in Prayer

Prayer is one of the most important things that followers of Jesus can do, but sometimes we get stuck in a rut and need some inspiration. If you’re used to praying with your eyes closed in a dark, quiet room and are feeling stuck, maybe it’s time to get out of the house and go on a prayer walk. Some people even feel like they connect with God better outdoors. 

On a prayer walk, you keep your eyes open to the things around you and look for ways that God can direct your prayers. You can pray for the people in your life who you usually pray for or you can use this as a way to branch out. Did someone just pass you while walking his dog? You can pray for him. If you walk along a residential street, you can pray for the people who live on that street. For the people you know, you can pray for them by name and pray for specific things in their lives that you know need prayer. For those you don’t know, it’s okay. God knows them, knows their hearts, and knows what they need.

There’s something powerful about praying for everyone on a certain street. How great would it be if every street was covered in prayer? How encouraging would it be to know that someone is regularly praying for you and all of your neighbors?

During a recent episode of Indigitous CoffeeTalks, we met with Phil Hardwick to talk about how he created a simple solution for tracking prayer to help mobilize people on prayer walks to cover his city in prayer.

A church with a need

In 2019, an elder of Phil’s church asked if it was possible to map prayer walks in a city as part of an initiative to prayer walk the entire city of Coventry, locatedin central England. The idea was to have everyone in the city prayed for in a month.

Phil went to work on coding the Prayer Walk app and first launched it in June 2020. It was great timing, giving people during the pandemic a chance to get out of the house and pray for those around them while remaining safe. With the app’s tracking, people were able to see which homes had been prayed for and which areas needed more prayer coverage. 

The Prayer Walk app isn’t the only prayer app out there, but what sets it apart is its ability to show you in real time how the homes, streets, and cities are being prayed for. 

“It’s this really amazing visual experience that you can see how much of the city is covered,” Phil says. “It’s so encouraging to see the color splashed across the city across all these streets and all the people that have been prayed for in their homes and when they’re walking about the streets.”

Indigitous #HACK

In the beginning, Phil developed the app himself but got help from others for the website, social media, and organizing church leaders around the campaign. But then Kingdom Code invited Phil to come to #HACK2021 and pitch his app as a challenge. He used this opportunity to take the app farther, adding features and an expanded scope. Three participants at the event joined him and worked over the weekend to expand the app beyond the city of Coventry to include the entire United Kingdom. They also moved the app from the binary solution of whether a street has or hasn’t been prayed for to a heat map that shows how often. The project ended up winning #HACK2021’s Kingdom Impact award. “It was great to see everyone united together,” Phil says. 

The app gives people an easy way to get involved in praying for their city and a fun way to track that progress. “We had a really simple prayer mandate. Just pray for salvation, bless the people around you. That’s the kind of stuff that no matter where you come from, no matter your church background, you can get behind.”

Since launching the new Prayer Walk app, it has helped people come together to pray for their cities. So far, it has been used for 19 different prayer walk events. 

Through working on the app, Phil has learned not to be a perfectionist. The first version that he made by himself was very simple but good enough for the needs of the time. With the help of #HACK participants, he was able to add features, improve the mapping, and expand the scope. Future iterations can continue to improve the product, but it’s being used for the Kingdom now even if it’s not perfect yet.

Phil encourages everyone to try to do the things that you enjoy for God’s benefit. “It might just be something that you enjoy doing, like creating an app or creating a website or creating a podcast or doing a bit of writing, creating a blog. All these bits of creativity, it doesn’t have to be wildly successful immediately. In fact, it usually isn’t,” he says. “Don’t despise the small beginnings.”


Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. (Habakkuk 2:2)

  • If you’re in the UK, use the Prayer Walk app to pray for your city.
  • If you’re in other parts of the world, look for other ways to enhance your prayer life. An app like PrayerMate might help.