MP3 prayer-on-the-go chalks up a quarter of a million downloads first posted 31 May 2006

 MP3 prayer-on-the-go chalks up a quarter of a million downloads first posted 31 May 2006

A pilot project by the British Jesuits offering free daily prayer in MP3 format has proved so successful, with 250,000 prayer sessions downloaded in its first ten weeks of operation, that it is now to be offered as a permanent service.

'Pray-as-you-go' was launched by Jesuit Media Initiatives on 1 March, the first day of Lent. It offers, every weekday, a new 10-minute prayer session using music, a reading from scripture and some questions for reflection. The sessions, in MP3 format, can be downloaded from the web site, or subscribed to as a 'podcast' - both options being free of charge. This enables users to listen to them at home or in the office, or transfer them to a portable MP3 player such as an iPod and find a moment of prayer and reflection during their daily commute, or even walking the dog.

There were early signs that the trial might exceed expectations when 3,300 sessions had been downloaded before the first day was out. Word spread quickly across the globe through blogs and emails and, within days, messages of thanks were coming in from Australia and California, as well as from harassed users of the London Underground, grateful for a moment of peace and tranquillity in their stressed-out daily routine.

Because of the enthusiastic, global response, the trial period ­ originally due to end at Easter ­ was extended by seven weeks. Now, with more than a quarter of a million prayer sessions downloaded, the Jesuits have taken the decision to continue the service indefinitely - music to the ears of people like Roger from the USA, who wrote, "I was surprised. My bus was turned into a cathedral of prayer and meditation. I can no longer imagine a commute without it," and Simon from the UK, who said, "I find it difficult to find a daily space like this provides for God. I'm not really sure why it is, but this is just right. Genuine space for time with God."

Fr Peter Scally SJ, Director of Jesuit Media Initiatives, confesses to being stunned by the success of the project. "Pray-as-you-go seems to be tapping into a real need that people feel in their lives - the need to pray." Fr Scally is convinced that "the busier people get, the more they notice that lack in their lives, the more they yearn for at least a moment of peace and reflection, a moment of prayer".

Find out how pray-as-you-go works by visiting

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