Prayer and meditation are nothing new. However, with the influx of the digital marketplace, thousands of apps have flooded the market. Games, movies, books are all popular pieces of media on mobile and web-based platforms but the next big thing? Prayer and meditation apps.
When the app store launched in 2008 on the iPhone, “YouVersion”, a rudimentary bible app appeared on the marketplace and was seemingly an instant success. With over 500 million downloads since its inception.
With the amount of people consuming religious and prayer apps, it didn’t take long until capitalists and investors saw a commercial opportunity within the digital marketplace and began investing heavily. The two major apps at the forefront, Hallow and Glorify, received over 40-50 million dollars in funding. Both apps are free however, they implement a monthly subscription model between $7-9 respectively.
Hallow has a target demographic for people who used to or don’t attend church anymore while the former has a focus on bettering daily prayer and devotional habits.
Connie Chang, an investor based in Silicon Valley, CA told Christianity Today, “One thing that I’ve always thought deeply about is, how do I find investments that are tied to what people deem to be a core part of their identity,” she told the Wall Street Journal.
Even the host of the mega-popular Late Late Show, James Corden, had a few words to say about the potential of this capitalist venture. “I felt I understood it immediately.” He continued to add “I grew up in a family of faith, and I saw that what Ed was doing was building not merely an app, but a community.”
Using technology is nothing new when it comes to prayer and devotion. Religious groups used the telegraph and quickly realized the potential to spread their beliefs and have greater influence throughout the entire globe. The same could be said for radio and even more so for television. Religious leaders and mega-churches heavily emphasized television between the 1970s and to an extent, to this day. However, is the internet and more specifically, mobile and web-based devices the next giant leap for prayer, devotion and church organizations?
One can’t help but see the opportunities with this financial venture. You have millions of people logging in, using these digital prayer/devotional services. Clearly, there is untapped potential in a market that was seemingly niche and barren just a decade ago however, in this digital and internet-focused world, it appears to be a necessary move as well. This is only amplified during the events of COVID-19 and its variants. People are looking for closure, consul, and distance from others.
The future is bright for this market that has great capital and religious benefits.
Read the full article on Christianity Today.