App helps strangers to pray for one another

24 April 2020

A NEW app that provides personalised videoed prayers and messages for those who request prayer support is helping people around the world to pray directly and specifically for others.

The app, called Thyne, was launched last month after its creator, Jessica Fraser, said that she experienced the power of personalised prayer while she was working on Broadway in the United States.

Ms Fraser, an actor, first began going to church in New York, and it was there where she saw the “overwhelming” effect that such a prayer by a church leader had had on a friend who was going through a difficult time. Her friend was able to keep the video prayer and refer back to it repeatedly, later on, for encouragement.

Ms Fraser said that she wanted the new app to help people to go deeper than the ubiquitous “praying for you” message posted on social media when friends or strangers were in difficulty, and to encourage people to pray individual, personal prayers for others.

The difference from other prayer websites was the personalisation of prayers, and the ability of users to send prayers using video or audio, she said. “You can submit prayers to other websites, but all you get back is a message that someone is praying for you — and so many people say this, now, on social media, that it often doesn’t provide a real sense of encouragement.”

The app requires users to register and then either post a prayer or respond to a prayer, by replying with a video or audio message, or a text message. Most of the 4000 users registered so far have posted a prayer, and then gone on to pray for others.

To protect an individual’s privacy, users are not able to send personal messages to each other, but Ms Fraser said that it was “really powerful” for people to know that complete strangers were praying for them. “To have a message of encouragement from a stranger is a really powerful tool,” she said. “When you see someone praying for you — a prayer that is designed for you and your situation — it is really beautiful.”

Prayers can be saved to the user’s profile so that they can be listened and played again.

Ms Fraser was working in the West End theatre production of The Woman in Black when the coronavirus spread, and has taken out a business loan to develop the app further while on lockdown. “While we are all isolating, we should be leaning into technology, turning it into a weapon of support rather than opposition. Praying for each other is one way of doing this,” she said.

Lockdown Bible. A retired clergyman in Milford Haven, Wales, Canon Bob Capper, has compiled a Lockdown Starter Bible. It comprises texts from Genesis to Revelation, can be read aloud in 14 minutes, and can be printed out as a booklet. Canon Capper designed it for his grandson, Owain, who is celebrating his 14th birthday. He also provides six introductory talks to watch on YouTube. lockdownstarterbible.com

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