The Catholic prayer companion app Hallow is celebrating a major milestone after recording 100 million prayers completed through their service. To mark the occasion, app creator Alex Jones recalled Hallow’s humble beginnings and how the idea for the app came to him while he was estranged from his faith.
Jones, a 29-year-old husband and father of two, explained that he was raised in Christianity, but he drifted away from these roots as a young adult. Despite this disconnection from his religious upbringing, he found himself using meditation apps like Calm and Headspace to wind down after a hard day.In an interview with Fox, Jones explained:
“Every time I would meditate, my mind would feel pulled toward something Christian,” he said. “An image of the cross, or the Trinity, or the Holy Spirit, which I thought was very strange.”
As Christian imagery flooded his mind, he became more and more curious about the “intersection here between this whole faith thing and this meditation thing.” Jones went to priests and some of his friends who were more connected to their faith than he was, to ask them how meditation relates to religious practice.
“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,'” he revealed.
With this new direction Jones dove headfirst into the Catholic devotions and began to discover the rich history of Christian prayer. He highlighted Ignatian spirituality, imaginative prayer, and Lectio Divina – a traditional monastic prayer practice with Scripture – as particularly influential to his prayer life.
Jones told Fox that this exploration of Catholic prayers brought him back to his faith and he wanted to share this experience with others. It was around this time that he began to develop a rudimentary prayer companion app that would eventually evolve into Hallow. Jones considers this labor of love to be his vocation and stated that he is dedicated to this calling:
“If I spent the rest of my life and all of my retirement savings, and God was able to do one more thing like this through the app, it will have been infinitely worth it,” Jones told Fox
Today, Hallow is among the top Catholic apps, with around 3.75 million downloads in some 150 countries. While its focus remains on prayer, Jones and his team have grown their app into a Christian community, complete with challenges, prayer groups, and over 3,000 meditations. They further round out their content with Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year podcast, weekly sermons from Bishop Robert Barron, and an Audio Bible read by The Chosen’s Jonathan Roumie.
Roumie even starred in a commercial for Hallow earlier this year. The video, featured above, gives an excellent view of the app’s features, while letting the star of The Chosen stretch his acting legs for a funny yet faithful promo.
Prayer may be the intersection between religion and meditation, but Hallow is the intersection between prayer and technology. Those who use it have found that it quickly becomes an essential assistant to their prayer routines.