Photo: Fox News
A Catholic prayer and meditation app that blends technology and faith to allow believers to personalize their prayer experience called Hallow is changing lives.
The word hallow means “to make holy.”
The app, headquartered in Illinois, currently has 3.75 million downloads. According to its creator Alex Jones, it has led more than 100 million prayers in around 150 countries since its release in late 2018.
In a phone interview with Fox News, the 29-year-old developer spoke about the app’s offerings, which combine technology and Christian faith, and how the idea came to him and made a breakthrough.
“I thought they were super helpful tools to learn meditation within the comfort of your own home,” Jones stated, stressing that he’d formerly stray from his own Christian roots.
Hallow started with popular meditation apps like Headspace and Calm. These apps were reportedly useful and enjoyed by Jones.
But while using the meditation apps, Jones – a father with two young children – said he noticed something.
“Every time I would meditate, my mind would feel pulled toward something Christian,” he stated. “An image of the cross, or the Trinity, or the Holy Spirit, which I thought was very strange.”
He began talking to his friends, priests and ministers – “brothers and sisters I knew who are deeper in their faith,” he said.
“I would ask, ‘Hey, is there any way there’s some intersection here between this would faith thing and this meditation thing?” he revealed. “They all laughed at me and said, ‘Yeah, we’ve been doing it for about 2,000 years. You’ve probably heard about it. It’s called prayer.”
Elaborating that he “discovered this rich, beautiful tradition of contemplative and meditative prayer” within the Catholic Church, he stressed that he also found “Ignatian spirituality, imaginative prayer – these things that I’d really never heard before.”
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‘Hallow’ is What Stood to Jones
Soon enough, he was googling “Lectio Divina” – a Latin phrase that translates to “divine reading.” It’s a meditative means of reading scriptures in which readers open themselves to God’s words, the Hallow website says.
“Hallow” was the word that shined through to Jones as he attempted Lectio Divina. It was from the Lord’s Prayer.
“It just changed my life – it brought me to tears,” stated Jones. “It brought me back to my faith. It changed everything about what I value and the most important part of who I am.”
Jones asked himself what was next.
“Is God calling me to be holy?” he wondered. “Am I to be helping other people grow in virtue?”
Later, he started to work on the first version of the app.
“I knew how to code a little bit, and so I coded the first version of it,” he stated. “It was terrible, but I used it, and I thought it was decently helpful.”
Some of his friends and family used the app, giving them memorable results.