The Loudmouth Protestant

March 20, 2009

Information Age Prayer


Really? What will they come up with next? Information Age Prayer allows you to pay for a computer to say prayers for you. The site touts this as the perfect solution for people who are too busy to say prayers for themselves. Perfect examples:

  • Are you forgetful? Subscribe and the computer will never forget to voice your prayers each day. Choose a religion on the left to see available prayers.
  • Do you work the late shift? Can’t make it to morning prayer? You can still get the feeling of having your prayers said on time by signing up for the Catholic Morning Prayer, Protestant Morning Prayer, Muslim Fajr Salat or the Jewish Morning and Evening Shema.

As well intentioned as I hope this is, the concept scares me. Scares me because I can’t believe we’d ever get to a place where we would pay a company, actually , pay a company that tasks a computer, a device without a heart and a spirit to do a job that we need to be so set on doing ourselves. I don’t know the efficacy of this. I might be shocked to find that people will receive breakthrough by paying for this service because it ensures they never miss a prayer. But prayer is not a thing to be checked off on your spiritual “to do” list. And prayer is also not a matter of convenience.

Truth be told, prayer is not convenient at all. I’ll be transparent enough to say that there are times when I want to go straight to bed rather then pray. Or I want to sleep a few more minutes rather than pray. But, I acknowledge that the God who woke me up is deserving of hearing my voice, feeling my heart and connecting with my spirit. The God who kept me through dangers seen and unseen is worthy enough for me to be inconvenienced and put aside and hid behind his cross to seek His face in prayer.

Another fact about prayer–that a friend brought up–it is not about words. It’s about a posture. You can “talk” to God at any point in the day. You don’t have to wait until you get home, wait until you wake up, wait until you get to your closet, ask a friend to do it for you, etc. You can pray with your heart. Pray as you walk down the street. Pray in your speech to another. Prayer is movement all about you, if you let it be. And lest I be remiss, when we can’t pray or think up the words to say, he already told us he’d fill in the gap:

Romans 8:26 (The Message)

 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

I know prayer is tricky. I struggle with it. But it is only through taking the limits off of what we think we know about the spiritual practice that we can truly experience breakthrough. So let’s stop relying on legalism, compulsion, jacked-up definitions and methods to get us through the practice–it’s not about getting through a practice but getting to God. Instead, let’s go straight to the source with our broken and contrite hearts ready to admit, we can’t do this alone, we can only do it through you. You give us the words you want us to say. Holy Spirit, speak.


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