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Connecting Nigeria’s faithful

· ‘Prayerbox’ social network brings Christians and Muslims together ·

Part Facebook and part Twitter, and not just for Christians. Prayerbox is a new social platform with a religious approach. Its creator is Adebambo Oyekan Oyelaja, a young Nigerian programmer who lives and works in the African country devastated by constant terrorist attacks by the jihadist group Boko Haram.

There are prayers in the posts, amens instead of the usual “Likes” — referring to the SIR (social information retrieval) dedicated to this new technology — but also the opportunity to give testimony and post Bible verses. Prayerbox has the distinction of allowing entire religious communities to network among themselves and with the faithful, and the faithful with religious authorities. It allows offerings and donations to be made and religious calendars to be viewed. “It’s interesting to note that just like Twitter”, Oyelaja says, “we have inserted hashtags to enable users to pray as a group. Thanks to this instrument, we have seen an enormous number of prayers being shared for the tragic attacks that took place in Nigeria”.

In a country basically divided in half from a religious perspective (50% of the population profess Islam while nearly 48% are Christian), Prayerbox has in some ways brought Nigeria’s faithful together, giving them the opportunity to share their stories and prayers with the whole world. “I noticed”, the inventor explained, “a growing tendency of people to share prayers on social networks. However I perceived that the typical social networks are separated from religious content by the many distractions that they offer. Therefore I decided to build a platform dedicated to helping people to pray better, often and socially”. In a few short months, Prayerbox garnered about a hundred thousand users and had over five hundred thousand prayers posted. And thousands of its users are Muslims, happy to be able to interact and pray together with their Christian brothers and sisters. A certain number of pastors from Nigeria and other parts of the world are already using the platform. Thus, it is also an ecumenical and interreligious platform.

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