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Controversial and Thought-Provoking Articles for the Savvy Christian

Too Busy to Pray? Outsource!

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Wednesday

Savvy Article #0925

The old, wrinkled woman said to me, “Remember that if you ask us to pray for you, to also pray for yourself.”  Of course, I knew that. I may have been a young Christian, but even a ninny knows to pray for yourself while others are praying for you, right?

But that was the 70s, when men were men, women were women, all lesbians were militant, and very few people had peanut allergies. Now those were simple times!

Imagine my shock when I recently spied an article by Christian humorist Tim Patrick that mocked a new trend—outsourcing prayer.The article read like a piece from The Onion, which is known for publishing stories of pure fiction as if they were true. The humor comes from some insane premise that the Onion knows you’re too smart to believe. The insane premise of the Tim Patrick piece?—Christians are now too busy to pray, so they are paying companies to pray for them!

How funny, I thought. That Tim Patrick is ca-ray-zee. But wait! I did a search on Google. Know what I found? Yep … a site offering to pray for you for a fee! The company, Information Age Prayer, states that prayer is for your own connection to God and that you should pray for yourself, but it also says that the service insures that prayers will be said even if “you wake up late or forget.”

This site does not even provide human pray-ers. There is a synthesizer, and your prayer is repeated throughout the day by a computer. Your name flashes across the screen as the prayer is said.

None of the companies that Patrick mentions in his piece exist as far as I can research, but there is a group in India that is saying prayers given to them by priests. Funny, Patrick’s article mentions India, too, and has a picture of the Taj Mahal. Rather stereotypical, but nonetheless, these Indians are saying prayers given to them by American, Canadian, and European priests because the priests are stretched too thin. And yes, the pray-ers are getting paid.

Although Patrick’s piece is a mock article in The Onion tradition, it isn’t based on absolutely nothing. There are people and companies outsourcing prayer, and there are Christians who are using their services. Bizarre, disheartening, and completely ridiculous!

Before I end this article, I need to apologize to the people I have offended:

I apologize to old women. You are not all wrinkled as the stereotype suggests.

I apologize to the Indians. It isn’t your fault that India is the Outsourcing King.

I apologize to everyone from the 1970s. I respect your culture.

I apologize to everyone with a peanut allergy. I have the utmost compassion for those with this debilitating condition.

And mostly, I apologize to all militant lesbians. You can’t help it if you’re funny.

Okay. I will probably never get the militant lesbian audience back, but will the rest of you please tell me what you think of prayer outsourcing?

Related Article: My friend Lucille’s Examiner.com article called Send your prayers to the Wailing Wall using TwitterShort on Priests, U.S. Catholics Outsource Prayers to Indian Clergy (New York Times); Information Age Prayer website; Tim Patrick’s article Outsourcing Prayer ; and, what the heck, take a look at The Onion, even though it’s a secular paper.


About The Author

Denise Miller Holmes
Denise Miller Holmes enjoys teaching biblical topics, and especially researching and communicating what Christians believe about the world around them. She sometimes turns established viewpoints on end. A graduate of the University of Southern California School of Journalism, Denise also has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, and has been a Christian for over 35 years. She belongs to the writers’ groups Words for the Journey and American Christian Fiction Writers.

Comments

9 Responses to “Too Busy to Pray? Outsource!”

  1. Terri says:

    Okay, this caught my attention. It actually sounds like a good idea. However, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood,” and even though I’d love to pay someone to “wrestle” for me, the privilege to strengthen my muscles falls to me. Alas, I suppose I’ll have to press forward. Thanks for the stirring thoughts.

  2. Joanna says:

    Prayers said by computer are so impersonal. Believers praying for each other builds relationships. Another thought is if you don’t have time to pray for yourself, then how important is it to you? I don’t mean that in a judgemental way, either, just a point to ponder. Interesting post, Denise.

  3. You can even call the “Wailing Wall” and have them put a prayer in the cracks for you.Even using Twitter: http://elev8.com/prayer-support/video-tweet-your-prayers-to-jerusalems-wailing-wall/

  4. Jan Parrish says:

    This is so amazing. Imagine if we outsourced parenting. Oh, um yeah, that’s already happening. LOL

    Tuesday night the prayer team spend a couple of hours at the house of a man who was diagnosed with cancer. It was an amazing, spirit-filled evening. But imagine if we outsourced it? We would have lost out on the blessing.

    Prayer changes things for those we pray for but It also changes us as we submit to God.

  5. needmorewordscs says:

    ouch! Scripture says: Luke 19:40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” NIV
    Instead of stones you have computers crying out.
    Diane

  6. Tonya says:

    Denise,
    What a great post. I can’t people would outsource prayer! Prayer changes things, we get the joy and privilege to pray for others.
    And have I told you lately, how funny you are!

  7. I’ve been contemplating this subject further, and I realize that those who outsource prayer are those who think of prayer as a ritual or duty to be performed. The “work” of prayer must be done daily to them, so outsourcing it makes sense. That’s one reason the Information Age Prayer website says it helps in case you “wake up late or forget.” The priests cited in the nytimes.com article also seemed to be outsourcing ritualistic prayers … prayers they thought had to be done a certain way.

    I’m hoping most Christians never forget that prayer is personal and it not only deepens our relationship with God, it changes us for the better in so many ways. Thank you everyone for your comments!

  8. Robbie Iobst says:

    Absolutely fabulous Denise. One of your best posts! SO interesting and SO funny!

  9. Kay Day says:

    I was going to say what you said. Prayer is about relationship. Those prayers are empty to God. Yes, when we pray for one another, that is different. God has asked us to. But to have a computer or a stranger offer it in an impersonal way in my stead is nonsense.
    I think I’ll program my husband’s computer to tell him that I love him every day in case I forget.

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