While scrolling through actor Mark Wahlberg’s Instagram, you’ll come across some posts under which Wahlberg has written “Stay prayed up” with the hashtag “#HallowPartner.”
Hallow is an app primarily aimed at Catholics which claims to be “the No. 1 prayer app in the world.”
Wahlberg isn’t the only celebrity who can be found on the app. Liam Neeson and Jonathan Roumie (yes, the actor who plays Jesus on “The Chosen”) are also featured on the app. So is Giavani Cairo, who plays Jude Thaddeus.
Neeson struck up a partnership with the app to read parts of C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia,” according to Fox News.
“I’ve partnered together with Hallow for this project to help guide folks through some beautiful meditations,” Neeson told Fox News.
If you join the challenge Neeson is part of (along with Roumie and Sister Miriam James Heidland), you also gain access to hymns from Andrea Bocelli.
“It’s always been a dream of ours to do a challenge with C.S. Lewis’ incredible writings,” Hallow CEO Alex Jones told Fox News. “They changed my own life and we’re honored to be able to pray through them this Advent.”
How the ‘Hallow’ app works
The Hallow app is a spiritual meditation app.
Jones told Fox News that he was inspired by meditation apps like Headspace. He wanted to make an app that combined meditation and spirituality, and then “discovered this rich, beautiful tradition of contemplative and meditative prayer.”
The app tries to take that experience and make it applicable to a 21st century smartphone user. There’s even a prayer tracker at the bottom of the app (345,660,853 prayers were prayed with Hallow at the time of writing this article). The app has free elements to it, but a subscription will run you around $5 a month.
I downloaded the app to experience it firsthand. Here’s what I learned.
How do you want to pray?
The app asks you how you would like to pray and lets you select options like:
- Sleep meditations.
- Scripture reflections.
- Quick prayers.
- Night prayer.
- Bible in a year.
What are your goals?
After you select how you would like to pray, the app tells you to choose you goals from a list that includes:
- Patience and humility.
- Reduce stress.
- Reconnect with my faith.
- Sleep better.
Your personalized experience
The app then unlocks access to the type of content you selected. For example, on my screen, it suggested that I listened to Roumie read the Beatitudes.
There were several different options for activities, like a sleep playlist with songs like “Abide With Me” and “What Wondrous Love is This.”
Some of the featured content included an invitation to join the Advent Pray25 challenge — Advent is the sacred season that leads up to Christmas.
“Liam Neeson, Jonathan Roumie and Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT, will guide you in daily prayer for four weeks of Advent with reflections based on different works of Lewis, including ‘The Four Loves,’ ‘Mere Christianity,’ ‘The Great Divorce,’ and more,” The Hallow website said.
There is also content for Thanksgiving, like a playlist of Thanksgiving prayers and a series on food and faith by Father Leo Patalinghug.
My top five favorite things about the app:
- The sound quality. I enjoy listening to scriptures, and the Hallow app adds the unique experience of hearing someone read who has experience speaking clearly. The quality on the app is high, the sound is clear and the pacing was just right.
- The personalization. In addition to what I mentioned above, my app also recommended a women’s devotional to me, as well as plenty of content for before bedtime. The app makes it easy for me to choose something relaxing over other options because it let me personalize my experience. While the app is directed toward Catholics and I’m a Latter-day Saint, there was a lot of content that felt applicable to me.
- The interactivity. There’s an option to add an intention — something that you’d like to pray for or about. You type it in a box and only you can see it. It’s a helpful feature that makes the experience feel interactive and personal.
- The courses. When scrolling through the courses, I noticed that scholar Arthur Brooks (affectionally called the “professor of happiness”) had a course on happiness. The course wasn’t overwhelming in terms of time. It was broken up into listening sessions of around 20 minutes, which was great for me.
- The daily scripture reading is available with text or audio. The readings follow the liturgical schedule the Roman Catholic Church uses. I appreciate that there were recordings of the passages, as well as the text — It makes the app more accessible for people and it made it easy to incorporate the reading into my day.