July 24, 2022; Paul Gibson
Over the past two or three years, I’ve been looking for a prayer app to help me focus my attention on praise and prayer. I’ve found four different types of prayer apps: 1) Apps that have a limited number of prayers included in the app (e.g. liturgy, published devotionals, etc.); 2) Apps with prayers that the application’s author wrote (e.g. an app from a church); 3) Apps that allow users to enter their own prayers; 4) Apps that allow users to enter their own prayers, and subscribe to prayer feeds written by other users of the apps. Echo Prayer fits into the last category.
Users can enter their personal prayers easily, and set reminders on when to pray (e.g. weekly before a Bible study). The prayers can have hash tags to help filter the prayers (e.g. #church, #family, #friend, #work). The flexibility in using hash tags can either be powerful or frustrating, depending on how consistently they’re used. I wish the app would show a list of previously used tags for me to select from, which might help prevent errors, but I’ll give this feature 4 stars.
Users who have a paid Echo Plus+ account can create public prayer feeds to share their prayers (or study/devotions); reading a feed does not require a paid subscription. I subscribe to several praise, worship and thanksgiving feeds to help me focus on God. The prayers can be displayed in random order so there’s not a long list of prayers from the same feed. The quality of the public feeds vary significantly, but this is no reflection on the quality of the app itself. The prayer feeds feature deserves 5 stars.
The user interface in Echo Prayer is elegant in it’s simplicity. When showing a prayer, little extraneous information is displayed. There are no annoying ads, pop-ups, buttons or menus to distract the user. Attention can be focused on the prayer. Only the feed name and the prayer are displayed in the app (the clock, battery status and controls to switch apps are still visible). Tapping on the prayer shows a few controls, but they’re normally hidden. The person who entered the prayer in Echo Prayer can add a background picture, but I generally find those distracting. The clean interface by itself deserves 5 stars.
The big Pray Now button on the opening screen shows prayers from both My Prayers and Feeds. Selecting the menu gives the options of showing only My Prayers or only Feeds. Other options include showing specific feeds or prayers with selected hash tags. I typically start with praise and worship feeds, then go to My Prayers. What prayers are shown is flexible and deserves 5 stars.
There are a few aspects I dislike. First, a paid Echo Plus+ account seems outrageously expensive; the fact that it’s an annual subscription rather than a one-time payment is even worse. Fortunately, I suspect most people will be satisfied with the free version. From the web site: “Echo Plus+ membership allows users to: Upload multiple photos to any prayer; Share prayer requests; Create unlimited prayer Groups; Create unlimited Feeds; Receive new features coming to Echo.” I use Echo Plus+ to create feeds that are publicly available, but I don’t use the other features of Echo Plus+. After I created some feeds, my subscription expired but I was still able to manage my existing feeds. Once a feed has been created, rights can be delegated to a user with a free account to add prayers or manage it. I believe if a Bible study group wants to share prayers, only one person would need to have an Echo Plus+ membership to create the group, and members with the free version can use it. Since there are no ads, the app is wholly funded by subscriptions; that takes a lot of the sting out of the price.
My other complaints are minor. The font size can’t be changed (I wish it were larger). The background color can’t be changed (although the color scheme is easy to read). The hash tags for My Prayers are mixed in with the hash tags for feeds; I’d prefer they were separate (the solution I use is to add an underscore to my tags to put them at the top of the list: e.g. #_family, #_friend, #_church).
Over the past two or three years, I’ve tried many other prayer and devotional apps (I currently have 9 on my tablet), but Echo Prayer is the one I keep coming back to. Just using it for a minute or two can help me focus and relax. I found I’m using Echo Prayer more than I had expected.
Overall, this is a 5-star app. It doesn’t do everything I want, but it helps me focus on God, which makes it a success.
Please subscribe to Echo Prayer Feeds by BibleQuestions.info.