Alex Jones, CEO and co-founder of Hallow, on VatorNews podcast

Mitos Suson · March 16, 2023 · Short URL:

The difference between prayer and meditation is God, and he's the best therapist

Bambi Francisco Roizen speaks with Alex Jones, CEO of Hallow, a Catholic prayer, meditation and sleep app. The company has raised $55 million in venture capital since being founded in 2018. 

Here are some takeaways:

– It was important for Alex to be brought up in a home of devout Catholics. Both his mom and dad instilled a lot of values in Alex, such as honesty, hard work and integrity. Much of his value system was grounded and baked in due to his values-driven, faith-based home.

– Alex’s biggest advice to parents (Alex is a parent of two toddlers): Be the best example they can be. “To live a radically joyful life and one of service and being an example.” He also points out that a truth that ultimately a lot of life is in God’s hands. Kids are crazy and while parents should be good stewards, there is the element of surrendering to God.
– While there has been a drop in the number of Americans who identify as having faith (See latest Pew survey), Alex points to a growing number of young adults who are “spiritual.” This is positive he believes because it suggests that people are believing in something external and outside of themselves. The question is, however, what is “spiritual” and that’s a term that can have different meanings. That said, when someone is spiritual, a good way to connect with them is to mention Christianity and prayer. It’s been proven for thousands of years so people should give it a try.

– The makeup of the Hallow community is broad and diverse. The app targeted young adults originally but has found older adults using the app as well. Last fall, the app reached a milestone - the facilitation of 100 million prayers. Those praying run the gamut from monks and nuns praying daily to people struggling with pain and loss trying to find hope. While Alex maintains that the app is “Catholic”, Hallow’s members aren’t strictly that religion. They are Protestants, Hindus, Muslims and even agnostics. 

The app provides guided mental health counseling sessions (taped guides and not live one-on-one conversations with mental health practitioners) for those looking to prayer to heal their mental conditions such as anxiety or addiction. But Alex wouldn’t say whether the company would move into the area of providing faith-based counseling but he didn’t rule it out either. As he said, the company doesn’t have in-person therapy “yet”. 

- Bambi brought up that there is a trend in secular therapy that is more pronounced in recent years and that is affirming someone’s feelings in order to help them feel good about them, suggesting a therapist’s job should be to ground people in truth, and not in their own emotional lies. Alex said God is affirming but also wants us to aspire to an ideal. He quoted Matthew, when Jesus said “Come to me all ye who are burdened and weary…” This means that God is saying we’re deeply loved, said Alex. At the same time, God calls us to be perfect. In Matthew 5:43-48, we are called to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It’s a radical call to being virtuous. This is what can happen when God is your therapist, he suggested, adding that Hallow’s goal is to make that connection for those discussions to happen.  “It’s our job to start a conversation with God.” 

- The conversation moved into the difference between prayer and meditation. Bambi mentioned the oxytocin hormone released when praying which doesn’t happen the same degree with meditation. Alex pointed out probably the biggest obvious: The difference between prayer and meditation is God.

- Listen to the rest to hear how Alex differentiates Hallow from other apps and where he sees growth in the coming years.

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Mitos Suson

I produce Vator Events and enjoy the challenge. I am learning and growing a lot, being involved with Vator and loving every moment of it!

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