People’s Choice awards 2015 winner Andy Geers, creator of the PrayerMate app, tells us why prayer is so important and how winning the award has impacted his work
1. Why is prayer an important part of the Christian lifestyle?
Martin Luther said “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” - it's a fundamental expression of our faith, that we are utterly dependent on God and can do nothing in our own strength. Besides, it's also just a huge encouragement to see God answering our prayers day by day.
2. What inspired you to create PrayerMate?
PrayerMate is first and foremost the app that I knew I needed. I knew that prayer was this huge privilege that I wanted to enjoy more, but like most Christians I also found it really hard work. PrayerMate is an app to help draw together all of those different things you want to be praying for - prayers from the Bible, my close family, my church, and various prayer requests from mission organisations and people in gospel work. As I come to pray each day it helps me pray for just a few, so I don't feel overwhelmed by all of the different needs, but at the same time it can make sure that over time I pray for everything that I want to be praying for.
3. How will it help with everyday prayer life?
PrayerMate can help with a number of the struggles with a habit of daily prayer. Firstly, it can help remind me to actually stop and pray, with its daily alarm. Secondly, it can help with those people I pray for every single day - like my kids - with suggestions of how to pray Biblically for them so I don't get stuck in a rut of just praying the exact same things every day. But also, it can help me remember to pray for all of those other people and causes that I want to be praying for, but don't necessarily pray for every day - whether that's by getting regular prayer updates from some of the many Christian charities and churches you can subscribe to, or the latest PDF prayer letter that I've attached from my friend who I support in gospel ministry.
4. What’s the best way to use the app?
PrayerMate is centred around lists. I have a list basically for each key area of responsibility in my life: first and foremost I'm a child of God, so I start with a Biblical prayer to focus me on God; then I have a list related to role as a husband, a list for my kids, a list for my church small group, a list for various people I'm praying for who don't yet know Jesus, a list for the wider world, and so on. Some of those I set to appear every day, others I let PrayerMate decide how often they come up. Then I can just make a bit of time to sit down and pray through a small selection each day - it's designed to work really well during a commute, or maybe just as an alternative to Facebook when you flop down on the sofa.
5. How can Churches use the prayer mate app?
Churches can sign up here to publish a prayer feed for their congregation, perhaps praying through the various ministry areas your church is involved in, or praying through various aspects of your vision as a church. I'm also seeking to take on a second mobile developer to build out some new functionality to better help church small groups pray for each other - but even now, many small groups find it a helpful way to track the various requests that they share week by week and to help make sure they actually get prayed for during the week.
6. You won the Premier Digital awards 2015 People’s Choice winner, how has winning the award impacted the work you do?
It was a great honour to win the People's Choice award, and it was a wonderful reflection of the passionate community of users that has grown up around PrayerMate. Knowing how people have come to rely on it as part of their daily routine is a real responsibility, but has also been a key part of how I eventually decided to quit my day job and start working full time on PrayerMate. It's been so encouraging to see people's willingness to support me in what I'm doing - both by voting for PrayerMate to win the award, and through their generosity in supporting me financially.
7. What advice would you give to Christians who have an idea for a project/app?
Firstly, I'd say don't underestimate what a long slog it can be for an app to come to fruition and then to gain traction - so don't be over ambitious! But secondly, if you think you have an idea for something that could be a blessing to people, why not give it a go? PrayerMate started off as something incredibly simple, and has just taken little steps forward over the years - and God does not despise the small and weak things!
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