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Review: Tweet the message out

New smartphone apps allow users to share their prayers with believers around the globe — and schedule times to present their requests to God.

Prayer and smartphones. 

One connects us with God. The other connects us with people on earth — but tends to draw critics for being overused, often at the expense of relational maturity. 
Can they coexist, or does a smartphone app focused on prayer detract from the purpose of prayer? 
Instapray is a social media app with a beautiful design, similar in concept to Twitter. It’s an online community that advertises itself as “a safe place that connects people around the world through prayers.”
The Gospel Tech | Tyler Brassfield
The app allows you to compose a prayer, ask others to pray for you and browse through a list of prayers from users around the world. 
The app asks for your location so users can search for those praying nearby. (A word of caution: It’s always safest to be online friends only with people you know in real life, especially with this location feature.) 
Additionally, all prayers are public by default, but users can create a private group and then post prayers only those in the group can see.
You can follow just the prayers of your Instapray friends or view the live feed to see the prayers of all users. You can then “Pray” for them or “Re-Pray” whatever prayer they post. These are the equivalents to “Favoriting” or “Re-tweeting” in Twitter. If you enable push notifications, you will be notified when somebody prays for you. You can add pictures, comment on prayers or even update your prayer later on. 
Though it is not yet optimized for the iPhone 6, it is very user-friendly. However, I do wish there were a way to submit anonymous prayers.
If praying socially does not seem beneficial to you, Echo Prayer is a personal prayer app. It helps you record all your prayer needs and schedule time to pray. 
You can set up a push notification or e-mail to remind you to pray for something specific. A prayer timer keeps you focused for an amount of time you set, keeping your screen occupied until the timer is finished. You can mark prayers as “answered” to keep a record of how God has responded to your prayers. 
Echo Prayer is well-polished and intuitive. It has fewer features than Instapray, but it does them all well, looks great and promises more features in future updates. 
Smartphones can be distracting, but they are great tools when used properly. They can help you organize your prayers and extend their reach beyond your congregation. 

Tyler Brassfield
is a youth minister and developer of iPhone apps including iPrayed 4 U and Flappy Faith. He and his family worship with the Fritch Church of Christ in Texas.

Filed under: Features Headlines - Secondary Reviews

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