A prayer app for addiction recovery? – INTERVIEW with PrayerSpark
Prayers for everyone
PrayerSpark is a mobile app that helps people to virtually find support and motivation while going through the not-so-easy process of addiction recovery. People can use the app to share prayers and blessings regardless of their belief system. The app also allows people to get in touch with spiritual leaders that will share positive affirmations and support their willingness of making change.
For a better understanding on how this app works and what possibilities it offers, we have invited Michael Feder, the Founder & CEO of PrayerSpark App, to share with us his idea. In fact, we encourage the idea of providing support and faith encouragement for everyone in recovery.
At the end of this interview, if you have any additional questions for Mr. Feder, or want to leave a comment, please use the section at the bottom of the page. We try to respond to all questions or comments with a personal, prompt reply.
ADDICTION BLOG: Michael, thanks for joining us! How did you first discover the need of a recovery-based app that focuses on spiritual practice? And do you find anything missing in the existing (faith-based) treatment modalities?
PRAYERSPARK: I am friends with David Marlon, a leader in Addiction Recovery, and the co-founder of Solutions Recovery here in Las Vegas, where PrayerSpark was founded. PrayerSpark has always provided prayers to patients in rehabilitation, but in conversations with David, we realized we could do a lot more good if we created a comprehensive app, that also provided spiritual support.
ADDICTION BLOG: Can you explain to our readers which options are included in PrayerSpark App and how it works?
PRAYERSPARK:The app has things like:
- a timer to show how long the user has been lean and sober
- a counter to show how many minutes of quality life have been gained by becoming sober
- a virtual piggy bank showing how much money has been saved
- colorful tokens that are awarded for sober milestones
- a panic button to alert sponsor and rehab facility to problems before they occur
- a Spiritual Support button, that gives the user direct access to our entire team of wonderful spiritual leaders
- guided meditations to listen to when feeling weak
- sound and music therapy for helping to find a calm center
- light therapies for refocusing attention to the goal at hand
…and much more!
ADDICTION BLOG: How do you select spiritual leaders? Can people around the world contribute by referral or their own willingness to help?
PRAYERSPARK: We screen spiritual leaders carefully, for interfaith, for LGBTQ friendliness, and for grass-roots charitable activities. We seek full time leaders, who are working in hospice, prisons, hospitals, homeless shelters, and other places of need. We seek the most beautiful, accepting, loving people we can find.
ADDICTION BLOG: Where else do you think that people in recovery can go to LEARN how to pray? Where can we receive guidance on the different options?
PRAYERSPARK: Many of our spiritual leaders have voiced a desire to provide blog posts and video blogs about how to pray from their own unique faith perspective. I suspect we will be posting these prayer classes within the next few months, as our financial resources allow.
ADDICTION BLOG: In what format can a prayer be technologically sent? Can users upload a video or audio at the moment?
PRAYERSPARK: Currently we offer text formats, in the form of an email, or text message, or even a postal mailed greeting card (talk about “classic tech”!). You can see these methods on our website www.PrayerSpark.com. But as you referenced, we hope to add audio and video prayers in our next version 2.0 which we are diligently working on, as funding allows.
ADDICTION BLOG: Is group chat available? If so, is a moderator included?
We have been asked for this feature before and we are programming it into the app as we speak. The idea is to create a SAFE space where people who are in recovery can talk in private with others who are experiencing the same struggle. The chat function will be a protected group chat, similar to a private support meeting at a rehabilitation program. The rehabilitation centers that adopt our app as their support platform will also provide the chat moderation so that they can keep their members focused on the recovery process.
ADDICTION BLOG: What is your final goal in developing the app? Or better said, when will your expectations and hopes be fulfilled?
PRAYERSPARK: We hope to lower the relapse rate. That is the singular goal.
To be brutally honest, the only thing stopping us from rolling this app out tomorrow is lack of funding. We are a self-supporting, boot-strapped startup, because we believe so deeply in our mission. We know that we will find the financial support we need to get this app out in just a few months. Perhaps someone in your readership will like our idea enough to contact us directly and contribute funding to our cause!
ADDICTION BLOG: How many people do you think need virtual support in their recovery? How often can we realistically engage with ANOTHER app in our lives?
PRAYERSPARK: We are creating clinical, white label apps. This means, they are available for those folks who are in recovery at a rehab center. The app will be branded with the rehab center’s logo and will be distributed through them.
The first partner is going to be the Solutions Recovery app (powered by PrayerSpark). We expect to expand our platform to rehabilitation centers everywhere. Regarding your concern about “another app in our lives”, the observation is appreciated. The important thing to remember is that once you make the decision to go sober, it becomes a major part of who you are, and we see the PrayerSpark app as the place you go to when you are feeling inspired by your progress, or when you’re feeling weak and need a little support.
The wonderful thing about the app is that it’s right there in your pocket, your constant support companion, even when you’re walking by a bar or an old haunt that tempted you before. It is an app only because that is the technology through which we are delivering a community of support and connection, and some tools to help with daily recovery.
ADDICTION BLOG: Are there any costs associated with using the app? Are there services offered that need to be paid by the users?
PRAYERSPARK: We anticipate all costs to be absorbed by the recovery centers themselves, for at least the first 12 months, as a part of their complete recovery plan. After a year of support, we know that users will continue to use the app, and are likely to donate small amounts to their favorite spiritual leaders, the ones who were there for them in their darkest time of need.
ADDICTION BLOG: Do you offer treatment options or referrals for users? Do you think that this might be a future development?
PRAYERSPARK: We see ourselves as a new spiritual technology company, if you will. We provide simple access to beautiful faith leaders from all over the world, in the palm of your hand. We are not in the business of comparing one rehabilitation center to another. So I guess we would leave that service up to someone who knows it better than we do. Since our app is one that is used by Rehab Centers themselves, patients would already be working with one by the time they access our app.
ADDICTION BLOG: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
PRAYERSPARK: Our tech is being created by a leading telemedicine physician, a leading brain scientist, and addiction specialists from all over the country. This is a unique offering. If you know of any rehab facilities who should hear about us, please share our website with them. And, we currently have a crowdfund going – which includes a wonderful Interfaith Blessings blanket just for Recovery as a “perk”. Please check us out!