Rather than create a “networked object” I decided to attempt a project which I have wanted to develop for quite a long time, a peer to peer praying network,“praytopray”, which allows users to send prayers into a network of other users who allow their devices (computer/cellphone), rather than their minds, commit the act of praying.
I have had a very interesting relationship with prayer my entire life. Being raised Catholic, I was constantly reminded of my need to pray for others and others’ need to pray for me. Every day I would think of the relatives, friends and events that I would need to pray for and attempt to hit them all. As I grew older, my relationship with religion deteriorated but my underlying desire to continue praying, or in some way indirectly help myself or those around me remained.
Rather than simply rely on the human mind to achieve these goals, I decided to harness the power of a computer. Every time a user sends a prayer in “praytopray”, another user’s anonymous and encrypted prayer is sent to their device. At that point the device processes their prayer by hashing (committing several mathematical operations on the contents of the prayer). Rather than create a new forum for people to pray in the same way prayer has been achieved for thousands of years, I hope this method can be seen as an entirely new way to pray.
The entire project can be accessed via praytopray.com. I really like the way I’ve actually designed the system in that it works, however I truly think it needs one more level of user interaction (i.e. someway to track your prayers) to really be an effective piece. In the end, I am extremely happy with my results and will be continuing this project in the future.
A number of relevant inspirations were:
“Temple OS” an operating system created to worship God.
“prayr” a modern forum for traditional prayer using a facebook-like system.
“informationageprayer.com” a site which allows users to have their prayers read aloud by a computer voice filling in for a human.