In a country bedeviled by Boko Haram, instability and corruption, a niche social network for prayers could be just the thing.
So you’ve posted yet another brilliant article about your passion – canine acupuncture – to Facebook, and once again it bombs. No likes and no comments. Where are the people out there who understand you?
That’s why niche social networks are becoming so popular. Now Nigerian startup Prayerbox.co, which launched on Wednesday, is offering a social network for Nigerian Christians who want to offer prayers and thanks on-the-go and not just at church on Sunday.
Nigeria’s religious nature
Between 40 and 50 percent of Nigeria’s population is Christian, a total of over 85 million people. They are also among the world’s most devout, and most persecuted, amid ongoing deadly attacks from Muslim extremist groups like Boko Haram.
“Nigerians are religious. Whenever anything happens, the first thing they do is they pray about it and tell their pastors. This is why we are launching the platform to allow users to connect with their church on the go. Users can share prayer points and testimonies,” the company’s founder Oyelaja Oyekan Adebambo told the African tech website HumanIPO.
What users will get out of the network
Adebambo said that users can pray for friends, get sermon summaries, download audio sermons and receive push notifications from their churches on the site. The website even allows users to pay tithes and offerings, he says.
The web site shows a photo and username for each user, along with the church where they worship. Nigeria is divided among many different Christian denominations including Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian and Evangelical, which don’t see eye-to-eye on doctrine.
Adebambo says he is working on a way to accommodate everyone.
“We are building specific tools to cater for different doctrines,” he told HumanIPO.
Praying about just about anything
A perusal of the site shows prayers offered on a wide array of topics, including prayers for sports teams, prayers for God to forgive one’s sins, and even prayers for a light traffic day in Lagos.
“May God open the doors of success to everyone that says amen to this prayer,” writes one user.
“Whether Buhari or Jonathan, I pray our next leader will lead Nigeria to its true potential. I pray people will see Nigeria as the next country to visit,” writes a user who identifies himself as Methodist.
The user is referring to Nigeria’s fractious general elections scheduled for February 2015.
One user even identifies himself as Muslim and writes, “I pray the developers rip [sic] the reward of this beautiful app.”
Whether prayerbox.co can monetize is an open question but it’s nice to see a social network where the users are so relentlessly positive. Good luck to them, and a little divine intervention can’t hurt.