Virtual and automated prayer

Thanks to Rich Shipe for alerting us to Information Age Prayer, a site that will pray your prayers for you–audibly and regularly–for a subscription fee. For $3.95 a day, your computer can recite the Lord’s Prayer for you. It can pray for your child for only $1.99. From the site’s FAQ:

Are the prayers meaningless, will subscribing really make a difference?
As with all prayer, the final results are up to God as everything follows His will. We make no claims regarding the efficacy of the service, however it is our opinion that the omniscient God hears the prayers when they are voiced, as He hears everything on this Earth. The omniscient God knows exactly who has subscribed and who each prayer is from when their name is displayed on screen and their prayer voiced. He is also aware of all donations to charity from each subscriber and we can surely make a difference in these charities supported.

Are prayers blasphemous when voiced by a computer?
We recommend you contact your local clergy for a personal answer, however we think that Information Age Prayer is a new and exciting way to connect with God.

How exactly will my prayer be voiced?
We use state of the art text-to-speech synthesizers to voice each prayers at a volume and speed equivalent to typical person praying. Each prayer is voiced individually, with the name of the subscriber displayed on screen. If the prayer is for someone else, then that name is displayed on screen instead. For more information see our terms of use.

Can I purchase a subscription for a friend or relative?
Yes, simply list their name as the person the prayer will belong to. Start by choosing their religion from the links on the top left. [The choices are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Unaffiliated, and Other Religions.]

Is it wrong to charge for prayers?
The fees assure our customers that we are the most reliable service provider for Information Age Prayer. While most companies only donate a small portion of profits to charity, Information Age Prayer donates a full 10% of revenue to charity before subtracting  our operating costs. For more information see our terms of use. If you are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and would like us to donate to you see this page. . . .

Can I get a direct Peer to Peer connection with God?
God is not your peer, His connection with you is ever-present. What we offer is a way you can tell God that you think of Him every day with our Information Age Prayer Services.

This reminds me of the medieval practice of hiring monks and nuns to pray for you, which Luther was so irked about. Only now you don’t even need monks and nuns.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/EricM EricM

    Ya know…there was a time when computers were installed in large rooms and serviced by a "select few" who labored in lab coats. Sometimes windows were installed in the computer rooms so that outsiders could view the activity within. The "select few" could be likened to monks or priests serving within the holy of holies (where the rest of the great unwashed dared not venture). Perhaps the folks who put together this site are just learning from history….

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/EricM EricM

    Ya know…there was a time when computers were installed in large rooms and serviced by a "select few" who labored in lab coats. Sometimes windows were installed in the computer rooms so that outsiders could view the activity within. The "select few" could be likened to monks or priests serving within the holy of holies (where the rest of the great unwashed dared not venture). Perhaps the folks who put together this site are just learning from history….

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/TKls2myhrt Theresa K.

    "pray your prayers for you, even if you forget"? Poor use of technology. On the other hand, there are excellent uses of technology and prayer out there. One is Twitter: check out Pastor Paul McCain's daily twitters and the Concordia Prayer on Twitter. The latter is a particular blessing in my life. Another great tool I've set up is a daily iCal of Luther's Small Catechism, broken into 31 segments. Each day I get a pop-up message to reflect upon. It's a virtual daily flip calendar!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/TKls2myhrt Theresa K.

    "pray your prayers for you, even if you forget"? Poor use of technology. On the other hand, there are excellent uses of technology and prayer out there. One is Twitter: check out Pastor Paul McCain's daily twitters and the Concordia Prayer on Twitter. The latter is a particular blessing in my life. Another great tool I've set up is a daily iCal of Luther's Small Catechism, broken into 31 segments. Each day I get a pop-up message to reflect upon. It's a virtual daily flip calendar!

  • http://www.bookofconcord.org Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Put this idea together with this one: http://pleasantfields.com/

    And you have the total digital spiritual care package!

  • http://www.bookofconcord.org Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Put this idea together with this one: http://pleasantfields.com/

    And you have the total digital spiritual care package!

  • Bob

    Does this answer the question, "Will there be computers in heaven?"
    Will teaching your computer to pray get it to heaven? $3.95 a day is cheaper than a Christian education for your children.
    How will the different denonations break down there Mac/PC evangelism efforts?

  • Bob

    Does this answer the question, "Will there be computers in heaven?"
    Will teaching your computer to pray get it to heaven? $3.95 a day is cheaper than a Christian education for your children.
    How will the different denonations break down there Mac/PC evangelism efforts?

  • Bob

    Does this answer the question, "Will there be computers in heaven?"
    Will teaching your computer to pray get it to heaven? $3.95 a day is cheaper than a Christian education for your children.
    How will the different denonations break down there Mac/PC evangelism efforts?

  • Bob

    Does this answer the question, "Will there be computers in heaven?"
    Will teaching your computer to pray get it to heaven? $3.95 a day is cheaper than a Christian education for your children.
    How will the different denonations break down there Mac/PC evangelism efforts?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    I think the users of this are thinking small. Set the thing to speak REALLY, REALLY quickly and then have it start praying for you non-stop, repeated over and over, 24 hours a day. Get a cheapo computer with speakers, turn the speakers way down so they don't bother you with the sound (but God can hear even quiet prayers), and you can have 20,000 prayers a day said for you!

    God MUST have to answer 20,000 prayers! Have those prayers be for lots and lots of money! Pretty soon you'll have to get a larger mailbox to handle all the bundles of cash God will have to send to keep up with all those answered prayers!

    Woohoo! We're gonna be rich!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    I think the users of this are thinking small. Set the thing to speak REALLY, REALLY quickly and then have it start praying for you non-stop, repeated over and over, 24 hours a day. Get a cheapo computer with speakers, turn the speakers way down so they don't bother you with the sound (but God can hear even quiet prayers), and you can have 20,000 prayers a day said for you!

    God MUST have to answer 20,000 prayers! Have those prayers be for lots and lots of money! Pretty soon you'll have to get a larger mailbox to handle all the bundles of cash God will have to send to keep up with all those answered prayers!

    Woohoo! We're gonna be rich!

  • Bruce Gee

    My Catholic sister is constantly buying masses for me, which I never get the benefit of actually "hearing". Is this something like that?

  • Bruce Gee

    My Catholic sister is constantly buying masses for me, which I never get the benefit of actually "hearing". Is this something like that?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/TKls2myhrt Theresa K.

    Bruce, how does she do that? I am totally unfamiliar with "buying masses" for someone.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/TKls2myhrt Theresa K.

    Bruce, how does she do that? I am totally unfamiliar with "buying masses" for someone.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    You've never had someone buy a mass for you? Somehow I've gotten on a mailing list that periodically asked me if I would like to buy a mass for someone. I've had several Catholic friends mention in passing about having prayers said for someone, though I don't know if they paid for it.

    I'm sure details vary, but the ones I know of essentially have a candle lit for someone and the monk/priest say a quick prayer for the person.

    In the mailings I get, there are different levels of prayers you can purchase – a full rosary said for the person with several long-lasting candles was the most expensive model, and the one of hundreds tea-candle-style was the cheapest. In the video on the website in the mailer, they light what looks like hundreds of candles, and they seem to go pretty quickly from candle to candle for these, so the prayer might be a 1.5 second "Father remember John Doe. Father remember …." or maybe a longer, single prayer being said while lighting the candles, and the prayer being applied to each person for whom the candle was being lit.

    I don't remember which monastery mail me mine, but I think it was somewhere in New York.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    You've never had someone buy a mass for you? Somehow I've gotten on a mailing list that periodically asked me if I would like to buy a mass for someone. I've had several Catholic friends mention in passing about having prayers said for someone, though I don't know if they paid for it.

    I'm sure details vary, but the ones I know of essentially have a candle lit for someone and the monk/priest say a quick prayer for the person.

    In the mailings I get, there are different levels of prayers you can purchase – a full rosary said for the person with several long-lasting candles was the most expensive model, and the one of hundreds tea-candle-style was the cheapest. In the video on the website in the mailer, they light what looks like hundreds of candles, and they seem to go pretty quickly from candle to candle for these, so the prayer might be a 1.5 second "Father remember John Doe. Father remember …." or maybe a longer, single prayer being said while lighting the candles, and the prayer being applied to each person for whom the candle was being lit.

    I don't remember which monastery mail me mine, but I think it was somewhere in New York.

  • Bruce Gee

    I've always wondered how much these things cost, Webmonk. do you remember?

    Theresa, I believe that my sister probably makes a donation to her local church/priest, and then a private mass gets scheduled. If I recall you can stack masses, so one good one will edify a group of people. Not sure if you get group discount on that though.

    Why does this make me think Al Gore got his idea for buying carbon credits from the Catholic Church?

  • Bruce Gee

    I've always wondered how much these things cost, Webmonk. do you remember?

    Theresa, I believe that my sister probably makes a donation to her local church/priest, and then a private mass gets scheduled. If I recall you can stack masses, so one good one will edify a group of people. Not sure if you get group discount on that though.

    Why does this make me think Al Gore got his idea for buying carbon credits from the Catholic Church?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    I think it ran anywhere from $9.99 up to $100, depending on what you got.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    I think it ran anywhere from $9.99 up to $100, depending on what you got.

  • John

    Aruthur C. Clarke, in 1953, wrote "The Nine Billion Names of God", about a Tibetan lamasery that harnessed the power of computers…
    It was an interesting story along the lines of this post, from the perspective of an eastern religion.

  • John

    Aruthur C. Clarke, in 1953, wrote "The Nine Billion Names of God", about a Tibetan lamasery that harnessed the power of computers…
    It was an interesting story along the lines of this post, from the perspective of an eastern religion.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    Loved that story! I realize it wasn't intended as a humorous story, but I started laughing as soon as I read what the purpose was and couldn't stop until five minutes after I had finished it.

    Ahhhh, good times, good times!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    Loved that story! I realize it wasn't intended as a humorous story, but I started laughing as soon as I read what the purpose was and couldn't stop until five minutes after I had finished it.

    Ahhhh, good times, good times!

  • Garry Trammell

    "Another great tool I've set up is a daily iCal of Luther's Small Catechism, broken into 31 segments. Each day I get a pop-up message to reflect upon.'

    Are you serious? What a handy tool that would be. Would you share how to do that?

  • Garry Trammell

    "Another great tool I've set up is a daily iCal of Luther's Small Catechism, broken into 31 segments. Each day I get a pop-up message to reflect upon.'

    Are you serious? What a handy tool that would be. Would you share how to do that?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/TKls2myhrt Theresa K.

    Garry,

    I took a version from the ELS website and broke it into 31 sections. I wanted just enough to be able to spend 5 minutes or so reading and reflecting, but not so big that my phone would be overwhelmed (G1). Then I copied and pasted each section into my Google calendar (I use Gmail, so I already had one going). I still need to figure out how to make it pop up, versus just appear at the top of my daily calendar page. (not hard, I'm sure, just need to spend some time with it). Trust me…if I can figure this out, anyone can. Well, maybe not my dad …but my mom could do this, too! :)

    Bruce and WebMonk, I'm speechless. I've never heard of that. Wow.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/TKls2myhrt Theresa K.

    Garry,

    I took a version from the ELS website and broke it into 31 sections. I wanted just enough to be able to spend 5 minutes or so reading and reflecting, but not so big that my phone would be overwhelmed (G1). Then I copied and pasted each section into my Google calendar (I use Gmail, so I already had one going). I still need to figure out how to make it pop up, versus just appear at the top of my daily calendar page. (not hard, I'm sure, just need to spend some time with it). Trust me…if I can figure this out, anyone can. Well, maybe not my dad …but my mom could do this, too! :)

    Bruce and WebMonk, I'm speechless. I've never heard of that. Wow.

  • http://www.cph.org Paul McCain

    If you are looking for short, prayer thoughts delivered through the day, via text messages, check out:

    http://www.twitter.com/concordiaprayer

    And other great daily thoughts from:

    http://www.twitter.com/lutheranbible

  • http://www.cph.org Paul McCain

    If you are looking for short, prayer thoughts delivered through the day, via text messages, check out:

    http://www.twitter.com/concordiaprayer

    And other great daily thoughts from:

    http://www.twitter.com/lutheranbible

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/TKls2myhrt Theresa K.

    Garry,

    I took a version from (the ELS website. and broke it into 31 sections. I wanted just enough to be able to spend 5 minutes or so reading and reflecting, but not so big that my phone would be overwhelmed (G1). Then I copied and pasted each section into my Google calendar (I use Gmail, so I already had one going). I still need to figure out how to make it pop up, versus just appear at the top of my daily calendar page. (not hard, I'm sure, just need to spend some time with it). Trust me…if I can figure this out, anyone can. Well, maybe not my dad …but my mom could do this, too! :)

    Bruce and WebMonk, I'm speechless. I've never heard of that. Wow.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/TKls2myhrt Theresa K.

    Garry,

    I took a version from (the ELS website. and broke it into 31 sections. I wanted just enough to be able to spend 5 minutes or so reading and reflecting, but not so big that my phone would be overwhelmed (G1). Then I copied and pasted each section into my Google calendar (I use Gmail, so I already had one going). I still need to figure out how to make it pop up, versus just appear at the top of my daily calendar page. (not hard, I'm sure, just need to spend some time with it). Trust me…if I can figure this out, anyone can. Well, maybe not my dad …but my mom could do this, too! :)

    Bruce and WebMonk, I'm speechless. I've never heard of that. Wow.


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