Yikes, I hate the headlines we've been seeing past week.
Google and Verizon create a side deal to head off net neutrality. Pennsylvania’s Lower Merion School District gets off scot-free for using school-distributed computers to record 56,000 images of unsuspecting students and their families at home. Some 380 million eggs have been recalled because they might be tainted. And, oh yeah, my Facebook interface is suddenly appearing in German for no apparent reason.
I think it's time for ...Information Age Prayer!
Yup, world events have been negatively impacted because I'm not having a speech synthesizer automatically speak prayers in my name every day.
The god of all things digital is not being honored! That's why Google is going to the dark side!
Information Age Prayer is a free 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.
See, and you thought I was making it up!
If you would like extra prayers to be voiced you may subscribe for a fee. At Information Age Prayer we think our service should be used like a prayer supplement ...
There's no way I could make this up!
It turns out that digital prayers are a whole market category. Information Age Prayer was founded in 2009 and offers digital prayers in all major analog faith categories ... and it has a lot of company.
If you want to save your soul, find a soulmate, win the lottery, get good grades, cure illness, and stop your cheating spouse -- well, buddy, you're in luck! There are hundreds of thousands of online options where someone will put your request through to a higher authority.
Now, to be fair, there is a wealth of honest prayer material. Religious-event planning calendars, iphone apps with cards of the saints, online audio teaching the correct Hebrew pronunciation of key prayers, sources of prayers for specific occasions ... The industry of religion is like every other industry: online, digital, with emerging mobile components.
But then there's the others ...
Ourprayer.org asks "May we pray for you?" as it features a prayer video, prayer request form, and prayer widgets that you can download and run locally.
Visitors to prayonit.com can find something to pray for (presumably they don't have any requests of their own) as it highlights a "featured prayer." Today's feature is a student asking for good grades on an exam. Hmm, well, like the tagline says "There are always reasons to pray. Find them here."
Looking for bargain prayer? Look no further than the prayer engine software application at theprayerengine.com, which calls itself "the cheapest, most effective way to share prayer requests online."
It's just $99. But wait, there's more! For that same $99 you get a mobile app too, for those prayer-prayers on the move. Just be sure you have a Web server running PHP 5+ and MySQL 5+.
Speaking of mobile apps, for mobile Catholics and prayer bead lovers, how about a digital rosary?
With this iphone app from Premier Christian Radio, you can buy, downland and then pray from the privacy of your mobile device.
Once the app is downloaded and installed you will be presented with a beautiful wooden set of beads that you can individually rotate or move around the string as you wish.
Uhm, that would be virtual wood beads, of course. Don't believe me? See for yourself at http://www.premier.org.uk/features/iPhone.aspx
Wouldn't it feel nice to know someone heard you? Of course it would! That's why rigthfromtheknees.org is the right choice for you. Make your prayer request there and you'll receive an email the moment someone prays for you. No word on whether the big man (or woman) acknowledges receipt.
Maybe it's a prayer-maker with attitude you need? The Phoenix First Assembly of God (online) says its "On-line Prayer Center Connects Your Online Prayer Request with the Prayer Warriors from our Circle of Love"
When you request a prayer through our website, your intention is remembered in the daily prayers of about 100 contemplative nuns living in seven monasteries in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and in one monastery in the neighboring Diocese of Belleville, Illinois.
Are you inclined toward a Tibetan prayer wheel? You can turn your hard drive into a hyper-efficient one by using the directions at http://www.serve.com/cmtan/buddhism/Lighter/GoodKarma/index.htmlprayer wheel/
"Nowadays hard disk drives spin their disks somewhere between 3600 and 7200 revolutions per minute, with a typical rate of 5400 rpm. Given those rotation speeds, you'll soon be purifying loads of negative karma," explains the author, who appears to be quite serious about the process.
Always wanted to pray in the Holy Land? No need to take on that pesky air travel, when for as little as $29 and a web connection you can get the same result.
At HolyLand2all you'll find your special place to have Private Wishes & Private Prayers in the most sacred places: the "Western Wailing Wall" ( The "Western Wall" / The "Kotel") & the "Church of the Holy Sepulchre" at the Holy Land.
Talk about reducing your carbon footprint!
Need more than a prayer? Need a MIRACLE? You can get it at Liveprayer.Com - Prayer request and MIRACLES 24 HOURS A DAY!
... founded for the sole purpose of having a site on the internet where people can go 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to see and hear via video a Godly man or woman to pray for their needs.
The credit card link and call-in donation page for this self proclaimed "beacon of light in the vast darkness over much of the internet world" is but one click away.
Now don't get me wrong, I actually do believe in prayer. And I believe that when you gather with others in prayer there's some of sort of energy created. I don't know how to explain it and I don't know how to label it, but I do know that it's not the same thing you'll find at miraclesRus.com.
Or is it?
Some of the prayer requests online are glorified gimmes - good grades, money, beauty. But some of them are sad and desperate - prayers for boyfriends to be released from jail, for a dying spouse, for a life out of control. Sad people looking for some connection, some thread of hope. I want to be cynical about the sites that prey on this desperation, but who am I to judge?
It take a lots of hope and belief to get through life every day. There are moments when both world and personal headlines seem overwhelming, when even the most basic things seem under siege. I mean, 380 million eggs are tainted - tainted EGGS????
So maybe its not so crazy to hope that we can keep Google 'doing no evil' with a digital prayer or two. Stranger things have happened ... and if that fails, well, there's always the prayer warriors!