Catholic prayer app Hallow makes history in app store 

Hallow Pray40 Lent 2024 "He Leadeth Me" Hallow Pray40 Challenge. | Credit: Hallow

The Catholic prayer app Hallow has made history becoming the first religious app to reach the No. 1 spot on Apple’s app store. 

Hallow reached the top spot on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, which was the same day its Lent Pray40 prayer challenge started. 

More than 1 million people joined the Lenten prayer challenge featuring Catholic actors Jonathan Roumie and Mark Wahlberg; Father Mike Schmitz; Sister Miriam James Heidland, SOLT; and Sister Mary Bernice. 

The Catholic app surpassed the e-commerce app Temu, which previously held the No. 1 spot, on Wednesday evening and held its top ranking into Thursday morning. With roughly 85 employees, Hallow is a significantly smaller company than those creating apps who tend to rank high in the App Store.

This Lent, Hallow will walk listeners through “He Leadeth Me” by Father Walter J. Ciszek, a Jesuit priest and missionary who was imprisoned for 20 years in the Soviet Union amid some of the worst conditions imaginable. 

“He Leadeth Me” rose to No. 2 overall in Amazon’s list of bestsellers during the same time frame. It currently sits at the No. 3 spot. 

“We’re blown away. When we started Hallow, it would’ve been crazy for us to imagine a thousand people praying together on it, much less 1 million. God is doing incredible things. All glory and credit and praise belongs to him,” said Alex Jones, CEO and co-founder of Hallow, in a press release.

“Never in a million years would I have imagined we’d be at the top of the App Store,” he added. “The other folks in the top 100 apps are just such incredible and popular apps with tens of thousands of employees — Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, Google, Instagram. What a crazy world.”

The spike in downloads comes after Hallow aired a 30-second commercial during Super Bowl LVIII encouraging viewers to take a moment to give thanks to God and invite them to join Hallow in prayer this Lenten season. 

After the commercial aired, Jones told CNA in an interview that “it was a phenomenal night. A dream come true. For the first time ever during the Super Bowl, we all got to take 30 seconds to give thanks to God.”

“We’ve been blown away by the responses to the spot,” he said. “We’ve heard from many who were inspired to join us and give prayer a try for the first time in a long time this Lent.”

“It was a huge bet for us. When we were producing the spot we decided really to just focus on making it all about Jesus — just on spending time in prayer with God,” Jones shared. “It was amazing to see how the spot resonated with so many. It was an honor to get to pray together and we’re thrilled to continue to pray together with everyone this Lent.”

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