Hey everyone -
Aside from everything we’ve been talking about with Clover Sites, I wanted to take a minute to tell you about a side project that Jim and I have been working on.
Actually, it's a project that I started way back in 2006, before Clover was even a thought in our minds. It's called "Echo Prayer", and for the last eight years it's been a free service on the web that allows you to organize your prayer life.
THE STORY OF ECHO
The idea of Echo came out of a small group I was a part of while in college. We all believed we were called to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thes. 5:16-18), but the reality of keeping track of all our prayers and then remembering to pray throughout the week seemed to be becoming harder and harder. It took a little while before I figured out exactly how technology could assist in facilitating a better prayer life, but in 2006 I took 3 months to create the first version of Echo. It was basically a free web app where people could keep track of their prayers, and then schedule email and text message reminders for them.
I made it to help all of us who are used to saying that typical "I'll pray for you" and never remembering to, even though we genuinely want to. Echo has been running all this time without advertising or marketing, but it's been really cool to watch it grow through simple word of mouth. Today, 8 years after it was released, there are almost 20,000 people who have signed up for it, and it sends out about 100,000 prayer reminders each week!
The one sad part of the story is that I have never made the time to work on it more since the initial launch. I have always wanted to add more features to it and grow the community of users to spread the word about it.
At the end of last year, though, Jim and I decided to finally devote some more attention to it. The web world is very different than it was in 2006, so we redesigned Echo as an iPhone app, with new features that make it really easy to use. While still working constantly on Clover Sites 3, we managed to get Echo made these past few months (with the help of a great app development company we found!).
So today is the first announcement to all of you that know us only through Clover. We're about to launch the Echo iPhone app two weeks from today!
WHAT (THE NEW) ECHO DOES
Echo will be a free app that lets you manage and organize your prayer life. You can keep track of a list of prayers and mark them as "answered" over time. You can also set reminders for specific prayers or groups of prayers, and Echo will send you notifications on your phone or prayer reminder emails if you'd like.
Once you'd added some prayers to your list, you can tap a button to enter "pray mode". The app then strips away the rest of the interface and shows only your prayers, one at a time. You can swipe through them as you pray, or you can have them advance automatically with a timer.
During the past few weeks while we've been using the app for ourselves, this has been the most exciting new feature. You can make it a routine for morning devotionals, or you can just use it for a couple minutes while you're standing in line at the grocery store.
We really believe that this next iteration of Echo is an amazing tool for those who are serious about their prayer life, and would love to be engaged in prayer more throughout their busy weeks.
We've got a lot more planned for Echo. Right now it works primarily as a tool for individual prayer, but our next plan is to add features for sharing prayer requests and using it it for small groups. We'd also like to make it for Android phones as soon as possible.
You can see more information about it on the new Echo website.
And if you’d like to stay updated or get connected with the community around Echo, check out Echo's Facebook page.
The app will launch in two weeks, on June 10th. We hope you use it and love it. And more importantly, we hope it helps you stay more connected to God through prayer!