At its core, Hallow is a Christian organization. Our number one priority is helping bring these prayer techniques to as many people as possible. To help us reach that goal, we are pledging to give away a subscription for every subscription purchased. Part of our mission is to provide Hallow for free to various organizations (e.g., Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Christian non-profits, young adult retreats, faith immersion programs) to continue and to help strengthen the formation of people's faith lives.
Want to see what we're all about? Challenge yourself to sit with God for just 10 minutes through a sample Christian meditation session with Francis, one of the voices and spiritual guides at Hallow. The session below is taken directly from the first day of Hallow's 9-day prayer challenge.
In addition to Christian Meditation, our 9-day prayer challenge includes sessions on the Examen, in which you reflect upon your day with God. If you'd like to try it out, here is the ten-minute version of session four from our prayer challenge. This one is led by our other spiritual guide, Abby.
Want to try praying with the Bible? The last prayer technique explored in our 9-day challenge is called Lectio Divina, in which we read a passage from the Gospel and meditate to find what God is saying to us through it. The session below is the seventh from our 9-day challenge and is led by Francis.
Every session in Hallow, in this challenge and otherwise, is available in 5-, 10-, and 15-minute versions, and with both of our guides, Francis and Abby. We have chosen the three above for sample purposes only. We recommend the 10-minute sessions as a good default. If you are interested, the full 9-day prayer challenge can be found on our YouTube channel. If you find these exercises useful, please share them with anyone you think might be interested. #shareaprayer
Any contributions to Hallow will go directly toward the product, including the technical development for both iOS and Android versions, content development for hundreds of different prayer sessions, recording of these sessions, and sound editing of each session.
Hallow is a product that will never be "complete." In order to bring the most value to our subscribers, our goal is to be updating our content constantly, such that every day you can pray through a session that you have never heard before, or complete a challenge that best fits your needs at the time, whatever they might be. With each contribution, we stand to develop more prayers, add more features, build up more local prayer groups, and share prayer with as many people, in as many languages, as we can. Any contribution at all - be it $1 or $5,000 - is deeply appreciated and will help us take one more step toward achieving our mission of sharing peace through prayer.
My story, I've learned, is not all that uncommon. I was raised Catholic, but was really only going through the motions, never really exploring what I was professing to believe. Unsurprisingly, I quickly fell away from my faith, and bounced between agnostic and atheist for most of my time in college.
This was a relatively dark and empty time in my life. I was filled with feelings of hollowness and anxiety, caught up in feelings of jealousy, lust, and insecurity, and often lacking in motivation and purpose.
Then came something profound: a change brought about by friends. Friends who had rational arguments for their faith. Friends who didn’t just believe in a nebulous being up in the sky, but had developed a philosophy and theology based on logic, reason, and experience. And with these friends, I began to seriously explore the Christian faith for the first time through a series of beautiful books (big shout-out to CS Lewis here). Many arguments from these discussions and books struck a chord deep within me. These arguments were thorough and complete, rich with history and tradition, and had beautifully profound things to say about truth, reason, free will, and most of all, love.
But something never really clicked with me: this whole idea that apparently, you’re supposed to be able to talk to this guy. You’re supposed to be able to be friends with Him. And that is something I had never experienced, and, honestly, wasn’t sure I could. I tried praying, but for me, my only exposure to prayer was what I learned as a child. I had never explored any new ways to pray, and though I knew that these memorized prayers were supposed to be deep and powerful, I just could never get past the feeling that I was talking to a wall.
It was right around this time that I entered the professional world. A world full of emails, reviews, deadlines, stress, and busyness. A world with very little silence, very little time to pause. In an effort to try and retain my sanity, I decided to try mindfulness meditation through some of the popular guided apps.
I loved them and ended up using them for a few years. They were a great way to learn mindfulness meditation without needing to travel across the world. The only issue was that it felt like I was trying to force-fit my spirituality into a secular or agnostic box. I had no idea whether this was in line with my rediscovered Christian belief system. Moreover, I could not get past the feeling that I was focusing too much on myself during these sessions. I kept feeling the pull of my mind outward, to focus on my faith and on others.
And that’s when I really started to think that there has to be something more. That there must be some kind of way to find peace in silence, while also growing in a relationship with God.
What if, I began asking, I could wake up each morning and instead of trying to figure out what I wanted to do, could ask God what He wanted me to do? What if I could somehow start to hear Him, to recognize what He’s saying? What if I could spend the entire day in conversation with God?
Constantly with Him. Sharing in His joy and peace. Bringing all of my shortcomings, worries, joys, and stresses to Him. Letting Him carry them for me. Letting Him into my day-to-day routines, into my hopes and dreams.
And this is the idea that sparked our work here at Hallow.
We’ve spent the last few months digging in and researching all the different ways to pray and meditate within the Christian tradition. We have talked to countless priests, religious brothers and sisters, faith leaders from different denominations, and laypeople inspired by their faith to try and learn the different methods for finding and growing in peace with God. And what we found was more than we ever expected. We found a beautiful world of prayer, rich in history, experience, and teaching, going back thousands of years - a world in which seminarians and religious brothers and sisters spend years of formation learning a diverse array of deeply spiritual and contemplative methods of prayer. Methods that I, a supposed-Catholic my entire life, had previously had no idea existed.
And we couldn’t wait to practice and to share them.
This is the idea behind Hallow: to provide a simple, intuitive app that helps us explore techniques to foster a real two-way relationship with God.
We are striving to create a personal retreat for each of us, every day, right in our homes. The idea isn’t to invent new ways to pray, but rather to make accessible the wealth of contemplative prayer methods that exist within the Church today.
The second this idea came into mind, we knew we wanted to do everything we could to make it happen. We immediately began running full speed to put together a team and get to a full working version within a few months.
In fact, our progress so far has looked a little something like this:
In short, the last few months have been nonstop exploration, fun, work, excitement, and growth. We cannot wait to continue on this journey with you. To read more about the journey and some of the prayer techniques available through Hallow, we welcome you to download our free e-book, 3 Ways To Renew Your Prayer Life, available on our website: hallow.app.
After several months of iterations and many customer feedback sessions, we believe we now have a product that is simple and intuitive, yet contains a wealth of rich content. Our plan has the app available both on iOS and Android straight from the beginning, and all sessions will be available for download and use offline as well. Here is a bit more on the features and sessions offered by Hallow:
After hearing that we are Christian, folks often quickly ask a follow-up question: Is Hallow specifically built for any particular denomination? The short answer is that we as founders are part of the Catholic Church, and the prayer techniques that we use in Hallow were developed in Roman Catholic tradition hundreds or even thousands of years ago. With that said, we believe the prayer techniques are extremely effective regardless of denomination, and our beta testers have agreed. Our goal is to be a resource for all denominations.
In addition to the months of research that we put into discovering the best techniques to include in Hallow, all of our content is created in close association with faith leaders and scholars. Hallow's voices and content directors, Francis and Abby, plus theology expert Joe, have taken great care to ensure we are in line with the Church. Abby has a degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame and comes to us after a career at Dynamic Catholic. Francis also has a bachelor's degree in theology and is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity. Joe has earned a master's degree in theology, also from Notre Dame, and has served in parish ministry for several years. All three of our content directors have led countless faith groups and prayer retreats in the past. In addition, we seek constant consultation from leaders within the Church to help us stay integrated and aligned with the Church's teachings.
Despite these concerted efforts, Hallow is not intended nor suited to take the place of your priest, preacher, or communal worship. We are here simply as fellow travelers, with a goal to help you pause, enter into silence, and listen, so that God can tell you who He is. We do not know what will work best for you, nor would we presume to tell you anything about your relationship with Him. Instead, we seek to introduce you to the myriad ways you might be able to open yourself to Him, and let God take it from there. He is already knocking on your door, and we at Hallow hope to help you let Him in.
"Shouldn't this app be free? Why are you charging anything at all?" It's a question that we have not taken lightly and we want to be as transparent about it as possible.
The guiding principle to help us to answer this question was to do whatever we believed would allow us to answer God’s call and help as many people as possible grow in their relationship with God.
We believe that the key to achieving this goal is to try and create a beautiful customer interface that is both "cool" and extremely intuitive. In a space where the traditions are thousands of years old, it often feels like most of the technology is as well. We also wanted to create content that is truly world class and constantly new. We want to have an app that ceaselessly builds in feedback from users, with content that refreshes each month. We believe a subscription model is the best way to bring the best people together to meet all these goals and to hold ourselves to the high standard to which we aspire. We believe in the power of for-profit enterprises to solve problems, and are excited to bring that power to our faith lives. Our goal, though, is that price never be a barrier for anyone in accessing our content. In addition to the free content we make available, we are also dedicated to providing the full subscription version for free to folks who are unable to afford it. For every subscription purchased, we will give one away to someone who cannot afford it. We are formally incorporated as a public benefit corporation, which means that, unlike corporations who have the sole goal of maximizing value for shareholders, our mission - to help people grow in their faith lives - is first and foremost when it comes to making decisions.
Lastly, as mentioned above, Hallow is a product which will never be "complete". We hope to continue to grow it to best meet the needs of our audience, always adding more prayers and more functionality. To that point, we have extremely high hopes for Hallow's future. We'd love to ultimately become not only a place for prayer, but a community to find like-minded individuals to support you in all aspects of your faith life. We hope you will trust us to live out Christian values in all our initiatives as a company. In other words, we hope to be a truly Christian organization to our core. But hey, while we have big dreams for living out our social missions in the future, we know that all of that is quite far away and requires a solid foundation first. In the meantime, we are exclusively focused on one goal: to walk you step-by-step through a variety of prayer techniques to help you deepen your relationship with God.
Alex and Erich both studied engineering at Notre Dame, went into management consulting at the Chicago office of McKinsey & Company, and then eventually made their way over to Silicon Valley - Alex heading to Stanford to complete his masters degree and Erich to join Fuel by McKinsey. Alex served as an engagement manager, primarily in digital strategy and analytics. As part of Fuel, Erich spent the last year consulting for fast-growth tech startups in the San Francisco Bay Area on go-to-market and growth strategy.
The very first week we began our full-time jobs, despite hardly knowing each other, we found ourselves discussing how to keep faith a priority in our lives in a mostly secular and incredibly busy day job. Ever since, faith has been the theme of nearly all of our conversations. Hallow exists because both of us truly needed and continue to need it in our lives. When the “traditional” secular or Eastern meditation apps fell short of our spiritual aspirations, we decided to try to explore these techniques ourselves. And so here we are. Alex spends his time coding and helping Francis and Abby develop the content. Erich is working full-time to connect Hallow with the right communities, gather and respond to feedback, and generate interest in target markets.
We immediately pulled together a core team of 6 additional members. All 6 members joined Hallow and its mission within just several weeks of the idea's first formulation. What we all have in common is that we were born and raised Christians, and, more importantly, that we are all actively trying to grow in our faith lives. Alessandro, our finance and business expert, immediately put together an incredible board of faith and business leaders and is leading our relationships with faith institutions. Bryan, our community leader, has done a phenomenal job building the basis for personal faith communities across the country. Michael, our design guru, in a matter of a few weeks has put together the initial brand, aesthetic first version of every screen of the app, and our first wordmark and logo. And last but arguably most important, Francis and Abby, the amazing spiritual guides and distinguished voices of Hallow, have synthesized thousands of years of spiritual practices into beautiful and relevant content with the help of Joe, our theology expert. In addition to this team cranking away late into the night and every weekend, we wouldn’t be where we are without with the help of Josh, Owen, Julia, Sofi, our four Chris’s, Harris, Shang, Tom, Quinn, and Joe helping on everything from audio editing to the video on this page to the blog to outreach.
Risks and challenges
As with any startup, this whole endeavor is quite the risk. The risk of not meeting our funding goal would mean setting us back on our projected timeline, but the team at Hallow is dedicated to making the project happen in whatever way we can. We believe there is an unmet need in modern society for a product like this and we pledge to deliver one, even if it means taking months longer than originally anticipated.
There is also the risk that we may be delayed in the delivery of rewards. We have set deadlines to launch our product as soon as possible. Though they are aggressive, we have based the deadlines on our team’s track record, and we have never been more dedicated to the cause. With that said, transparency and honest communication with our supporters is of the utmost priority to us. We vow to provide constant updates on the state of the product or if there are any unforeseen setbacks. We can't thank you enough for your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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