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Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Awesome' global responses to ipod prayer trial
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¬†A new initiative by the British Jesuits to offer commuters daily prayer sessions in MP3 format, as free downloads from the internet, has proved an instant success, not just in Britain but overseas as well. Jesuit Media Initiatives planned to trial the new project ≠ called 'Pray-As-You-Go' - for the season of Lent, and invited people from their parishes and schools in Britain to give it a go by using the audio files on their iPods, mobile phones or other MP3 players to guide them through prayer on their daily journey to work, school or college. But by the time dawn broke on the first day - Ash Wednesday (1 March) - and some 3,300 prayer sessions had been downloaded from the web in countries as far apart as Australia, Mexico and the United States. Since then, a further 18,400 sessions have been downloaded, prompting a flurry of e-mails to JMI's Director, Fr Peter Scally SJ. Brooks Thoman from Nipomo, California, called it "awesome, wonderful, inspiring", while Patrick Allen in San Jose, California, declared, "This is the most beautifully produced prayer that I have ever heard. It touches me in ways that I never thought possible." Robin Farran, the wife of the Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, New South Wales, emailed to say: "It fills a real gap and is professionally and sensitively put together"; her husband is already promoting it in Australia. Nearer to home, a Metropolitan Line commuter from Harrow in North London, Audrey Newbury, said, "There is no better way to spend the tube journey home, after all the stresses of the day." A new prayer session is offered every day, combining music, a short reading from the scriptures and a few questions for personal reflection in a session of guided prayer that lasts around ten or 12 minutes. The site also offers the option of using 'Pray-As-You-Go' as a daily podcast (with iTunes or other podcasting software) which automates the downloading process and keeps you up to date with the site's latest offering. Peter Scally says the response has been amazing. "So many people have been enthused by pray-as-you-go that we are left in no doubt that it is addressing a very real need in people's spiritual lives," he says. Peter cut his teeth in the internet world as the designer of Sacred Space ≠ a prayer web site launched in Ireland in 1999: this provides users with ten-minute prayer sessions on their computer screens. It has since been reproduced in 19 languages and has logged over 17 million visits worldwide since its inception. To find out more see: http://www.pray-as-you-go.org
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