The Daily Prayer podcast, which is also integrated into the free Daily Prayer app, brings listeners together three times a day for short traditional services of Morning, Evening and Night Prayer, usually led by the Revd Catherine Williams from Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire.
The atmospheric services follow the pattern set out in the Church of England’s Common Worship services, with readings recorded by people around the country and music from St Martin’s Voices, one of the choirs of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London.
Earlier this week the podcast, which was launched in March, surpassed 500,000 downloads, with around 8,000 people listening a day, either alone or in small groups.
Traditionally, the daily cycle of prayer was most associated with monastic communities but during the pandemic many more people have found support and a sense of belonging through online worship.
The Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, said: “I'm delighted to see that the Daily Prayer podcast has had half a million listens - helping holy habits to become part of our daily rhythm amid life's joy and pain, activity and rest.
“Whether people pray alone or alongside others, this podcast is an easy way of being united in prayer with brothers and sisters in Christ as we share the same words, and open ourselves to encounter God in prayer, silence and Scripture.
“Together, yet in different contexts and carrying different stories, we are participating in a pattern of prayer which has been practised down the centuries.”
Daily Prayer is the latest in a series of prayer and discipleship apps and podcasts available from the Church of England.
Last year they were accessed eight million times, up 50 per cent on the previous year as the pandemic triggered a major change in the way Christians worship.
Many cathedrals and local churches also broadcast morning and evening prayer as well as traditional services such as evensong, attracting a new virtual congregation both from their own communities and around the world.