Allison Gingras is no stranger to struggling with her prayer life. In fact, she considers herself something of a pro.
Consider this video that she made to support a new project she’s working on:
Unlike some people I know (ahemMYSELFcough), Allison didn’t look at the challenge of daily prayer and think, “That’s IT! It’s JUST TOO HARD! I QUIT!” No, she tapped into her love of technology and the pain she felt watching other people yearn for God and…developed an app idea.
Yeah, I’m impressed too. Even more by the partnership she established with what I consider to be the best of the best.
Allison was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about the app. I hope by the end that you’re as excited as I am and that maybe you can even spare $5 to help it become a reality.
What I set out to create was an app that would offer a new way to enter into prayer each day. A few months ago, I overheard two friends talking about the difficulty they had praying – either from lack of remembering to or not knowing what to say or where to start. When I pondered this problem, I instantly thought of Jesus. Who is better at entering into dialogue with God than Him?
The original idea was to take only Jesus’ words from the Gospel – break those down into smaller segments and then add a sentence-long reflection to each.
The second decision had to do with format – as a writer, did I want to create a devotional book or explore other avenues? Over and over again in prayer, I felt the Spirit guiding me to meet people where they are. Where can we find people these days – usually attached in one way or another to their smartphones? In the end I decided to do both – an App to provide something that even the busiest person could turn to each day and enter into prayer, and — a companion book which will feature a bit more reflection as well as pictures.
As a homeschool mom of three in Catholic ministry, I’ll be honest, having the extra funds to develop a project of this scope isn’t in the budget. I considered waiting to save the money, but the more I prayed about it, the more I felt the App was needed now. After reading many articles about the current movement of CrowdFunding for small upstart business and projects, it seemed the perfect solution to my capital problem.
Why do you feel so passionately about an app? How do you expect it to help people’s relationship with Jesus?
I recently returned from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One thing was clear – no matter the nationality, age, or gender – people spend a great deal of time on their smartphones. There seems nothing to suggest it will decline anytime soon either – so it was back to meeting people where they are at. They are on their phones, so if we want to evangelize, if we want to help people build a relationship with Jesus, we need to figure out how to include smartphone technology. The first way is through the reminder option – we set reminders for to wake up, to take medicine, or to make appointments, why not reminders to do what might possibly be the most important thing of our day – Talk to God. Second came the content – and although I do offer my own short reflections, what is truly wonderful about this App is the Scripture and in future versions, the writings of the Saints. The Catholic faith is so rich in texts to bring people closer to Christ, just many of us don’t know how to access it or where to begin.
I can’t help but notice that you picked one of my all-time favorite app developers to produce “Words with.” Can you tell us more about what influenced that decision process and why you think it will be a great partnership?
I was completely at a loss as to where to begin in having my thoughts transformed into a useable piece of technology. I did a great deal of praying in Adoration for direction. It was truly an inspiration of the Spirit that led me to write an email to Little i Apps, I honestly was not sure how they would respond to my inquiry. Much to my delight, they responded very quickly by email, and within a week we were having a phone meeting to see if this was a feasible project. They put me at ease, really listened to what I was trying to create, and were incredibly encouraging. I felt it would be the perfect partnership when I realized how much in common we had – sharing the same faith, goals and ideals. They seemed match my passion for using current technology as an effective tool in the New Evangelization.
You mention, in your introduction to this series in your Tech Talk column at CatholicMom.com, that you were pretty reluctant to undergo developing an app. What made you decide to do it? What’s the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now?
You ever have an idea that just won’t go away. No matter how many reasons you can come up with not to do it, no matter how many obstacles are placed before you – you just have this unshakable conviction that it has to come to fruition and for some unknown reason God seems to have chosen you to do it. Yeah, that is sort of how I decided to move forward with the Words With series. My biggest hurdle to be quite frank is our economy and securing the funding to pay for development.
How can we support this app, Allison? What’s the best way to spread the word and also donate money, if we’re able?
If you want to learn more you can visit www.GoFundMe.com/reconciledtoyou – there you will find a video and more detailed information. It also fully describes the first app in the series called “Words with Jesus.” It also describes the other apps planned in the series (Words with… Mary, St. Paul, St. Therese and St. Teresa of Avila).
In addition, I have set up what I think is a fun reward system which provides every budget something to choose from. I’d also be quite remiss if I didn’t mention I accept prayers, and I am grateful for anyone willing to share the GoFundMe link to help reach even more people.
Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom and author whose nose is probably in a book if she’s not scraping something off of her shoes. Her latest book is A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism. Check out all of her books at http://sarahreinhard.com/writing/my-books/.
Visit Sarah’s website: http://sarahreinhard.com/
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