29 Jun Meet your new PrayerMate
The Medianet meets Andy Geers. designer and developer of the PrayerMate app
PrayerMate is a free mobile app for iOS and Android that helps users maintain consistency when praying for themselves, for their loved ones and for the world. Users can type in the names of the people they want to pray for, download suggested prayers and subscribe to prayer feeds from a diverse range of Christian organisations and churches. Each day the app gives users a small selection of things to pray for so that over time they can pray for all the issues on their hearts without feeling overwhelmed.
Andy, what inspired you to launch PrayerMate?
I started the PrayerMate app first and foremost as something that I knew that I would find helpful myself. It was essentially a digital version of the simple prayer lists I was already using – but it could automatically keep track of who I had already prayed for recently and help me pray for more people over time.
What’s more, it could combine some of the separate pieces of paper like prayer calendars from organisations such as Open Doors and OMF International, as well as my church prayer diary and missionary prayer letters as well. Prayer is one of those areas that all Christians wish they were better at, and anything that can aid us in that is going to be widely appreciated.”
When and why was PrayerMate launched?
I created the very first version of PrayerMate back in 2011, which was incredibly simple. I’ve slowly added to it over the years, and just since September 2016 I’ve been able to work on it full time, which has obviously increased my capacity considerably, allowing me to further enhance it.
The church has sometimes been accused of being on the back foot when it comes to technology, but I’ve always had a passion for how technology as an aid of Godliness rather than just a distraction. Used well, technology presents an enormous opportunity and I wanted to make the most of that.
What is your professional background?
I studied Computer Science at the University of Cambridge and have worked for well over a decade as a software developer – starting out at Trinity Mirror on their regional newspaper websites, then for a movie VFX company, a Christian charity and most recently a food delivery startup.
Social media is a crowded area – what is it is that makes PrayerMate stand out from its competitors?
There are a few other prayer list apps out there – Echo Prayer and Prayer Notebook are probably two of the most polished – but I think PrayerMate is somewhat unique in the way that it brings so many organisations and other content together in one place.
You can subscribe to more than 500 different organisations and churches, and now with recent additions to the app you can subscribe to individual missionary feeds and shared lists for church small groups as well.
I also think it’s original in the way that it’s able to offer you a small selection of all of your prayer items to pray for on any given day, helping you pray through everything over time but without feeling overwhelmed.
How has the app been received?
PrayerMate has been dowloaded more than 280,000 times in total, and is used by about 30,000 people each month. About half of those are in the USA and a quarter in the UK.
I have been overwhelmed by the success of the app – it’s been such a blessing to hear from so many about how PrayerMate has helped them in their prayer lives. I love reading people’s reviews on Google Play and the App Store – a common them is how PrayerMate helps people pray for a wider range of people and situations, rather than the few things that may naturally come to people’s minds.
Lots of people also write about how it has enabled them to pray in a more consistent and systematic way. It’s great to see the response from the whole spectrum of people – at the one end pastors who were praying anyway for whom the app allows them to do that even more effectively at scale, and at the other end people who are completely new to prayer and never knew how to get started before PrayerMate came along and gave them a simple framework.
To know that the app is making a genuine difference to people’s walks with God is so encouraging – and as PrayerMate users between them pray for more than a million things every month, it thrills my heart to think of what God might so in answer to all these prayers.
What are your plans for PrayerMate’s future?
The two features that I’ve been developing most recently are secure feeds for missionary prayer letters, and shared lists – essentially a private small group to allow you to share prayer requests with trusted friends.
There’s a lot more to be done to roll these out more widely. The other commonly requested feature from users is for better support for answered prayer tracking. Then hopefully at some stage it would be great to be able to translate the app in to other languages.