Popular Christian prayer app Hallow based in Chicago

ByRob Hughes WLS logo
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Popular Christian prayer app Hallow based in Chicago
Alex Jones, the CEO of the Hallow app and startup, shared his journey with ABC7 Chicago. Mark Wahlberg starred in a commercial for the app.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A tech startup and Christian prayer app based in Chicago has soared up the app charts this Lent.

The meteoric rise of "Hallow" came in the wake of a Super Bowl commercial featuring Mark Wahlberg.

Millions of people all over the world in more than 150 countries are praying via their phones.

Just five years ago, Hallow was just an idea.

"Most people thought it was a stupid idea, the vast majority of people. I mean my family thought it was a stupid idea," Hallow co-founder and CEO Alex Jones said.

Jones was undeterred.

A self-described fallen away Catholic, Jones said he built the app to help reconnect with his own faith.

But shortly after launching Hallow, he started receiving notes from other users.

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"We had a woman write to us and say, 'I just wanted to let you know, if you do nothing else in this life, just know that you saved my life,'" Jones said. "It's like - what an incredible blessing."

In just five years, the Hallow app has more than 18 million downloads. The entire operation is run out of a co-working space in the West Loop.

Hallow even peaked at No. 1 in Apple's App Store on Ash Wednesday, ahead of some of the world's most recognizable brands.

"You've got Netflix, Amazon and Temu and all these massive organizations. It's just really cool to see Jesus pop on up there for a little bit," Jones said.

Religious leaders are hopping onboard, too. Bishop Ronald Hicks of the Joliet Diocese uses the app himself.

"If it helps people embrace their faith or find meaning in their life or keep God a little bit more in the center, what a great movement," Hicks said.

There are more than 10,000 sessions of prayer, meditation, Bible readings, music, trivia and kids content.

Jones said the Hallow experience is highly customizable, no matter where a person is on their faith journey.

"That's the opportunity that we have is to really reach out to people, and that's why I get excited about it as a startup and as a mission is watching what God does when he reaches out to people who have fallen away," Jones said.