Information Age Prayer is a subscription service utilizing a computer with text-to-speech capability to incant your prayers each day. It gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your prayers will always be said even if you wake up late, or forget.
I thought this was a joke the first time I saw it, but on looking further at the site, I come to realize that they mean serious business. And to make things easy, they have promotional rates for first time users, and they give you some choices of religion. Unfortunately, if you happen to be pagan, satanist, or anything that does not fit the box, so to speak, you are out of luck. Sure, they have an "unaffiliated" option, but what does that exactly mean? Anyhow, you can pay for specific prayers, or you can get a few of them in a bundle.
Of course, there are no real guarantees. According to the company,
"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."
I am sorry, but if the Big Guy (or Gal) is all-knowing, would he not know about your praying already without having to pay these pirates? If he knows exactly who has subscribed, does he express a preference then? Maybe get you a discount?
So if you are spending way too much time working, out partying, or heaven forbid, having some sex, and you feel a need to send up some prayers to make up for your heathen ways, for at least $3.95 a month, these people will send them right up for you. Hell, I am guessing that if you pay enough, you may just be able to skip church altogether. Let's see how this may work for some religious people:
- I would not pretend to make claims for Catholics; after all, Pope Benedict is quite the mean slave driver (let's let people die of AIDS rather than promoting condom use? Really? Get real). Now, I can see where some Catholics may find this useful. They go to confession, and the priest gives them the old "One 'Our Father' and 'Ten Hail Marys'" for whatever it was they did. No problem. Go to the website, and you can pay $3.95 monthly for the first prayer. The Hail Marys are conveniently bundled in packs of ten already for $19.95 a month, which they claim is less than 7 cents a day (go look at the website; I am not making this up). Kind of sounds like one of those commercials for sponsoring kids in the third world, "for less than 7 cents a day, Alberto in Guatemala will get fed, and you can get a picture of Alberto in the squalid shack he lives in with 20 other family members." And since it is a subscription, your penance is well covered. Hell, you might get some praying ahead of time for next time you go to confession. You see, you do save time.
- But this could work for those Protestants who do what they want anyways.
- And how about Muslims? Is there a guarantee that their prayers, at least the ones requiring them to face Mecca, are said facing Mecca? Can they get out of the obligatory prayers they have to do five times a day? Nope, not quite. According to the service, when it comes to obligatory prayers like the First Daily Prayer, "You may not fulfill your daily obligation to pray through this service, nevertheless, praising God is always encouraged and it certainly doesn't hurt to have this holy prayer voiced!" So, you lazy Muslim, get down and pray, but hey, feel free to send them some money anyhow for some extra prayer mojo, "and it certainly doesn't hurt to have this holy prayer voiced!"
- For the budget conscious Jew, they offer a "Complete Jewish Package." No, I am not trying to do a joke about Jews. They really offer that, go look it up. According to the website, "save money by subscribing to the discounted package deal. This special Jewish Prayer Package includes the basic morning and evening prayer (shema), 5 Get Well Prayers and a Prayer for Peace." And you get the whole enchilada for the low monthly price of $25.95.
Then again, if you are already very busy working, partying, and fucking, you are probably skipping church anyhow. I could not make this up even if I tried. As I sit here looking at it, stifling some laughter, I have to wonder who in the world is gullible enough to fall for this.
I will remain a heathen, thank you very much.
A hat tip to Pharyngula.