Things That Should be Free: PrayerMarket.com
In a previous post, I’ve lamented that there are few resources for Christian churches that are 100% free of charge. Most charge some sort of membership fee, either lifetime or monthly. The ones that are free are, regrettably, extremely limited in quality and quantity of resources.
I think someone ought to open up a website that enables users to download high quality sermon resources for free. The site should subsist entirely on donations and/or PPC advertisement.
I would love to look into the feasibility of something like that, and perhaps trying to collect sermons, sermon series, scripts, videos, and other resources that match or exceed the quality of SermonSpice.com or the Skit Guys, but will be available free of charge to the public.
That’s just a dream. Perhaps it could become reality one day. We shall see!
As a follow up to my rant on resources that ought to be free, I thought I’d examine a few resources that exist out there that ought to be free, but really aren’t. This post fits in with my study theme of the month: prayer!
I’ve recently stumbled on to a site called PrayerMarket.com. It’s exactly what it sounds like. The site buys and sells prayers. That is absolutely reprehensible. The very concept is outright offensive.
I’m actually more at ease with a website like Why Won’t God Heal Amputees than I am with PrayerMarket.com. I expect skeptics and atheists to attack Christian beliefs, and say nasty things in the process. As an apologist, I welcome the challenge and am happy to provide a reason for the hope that is within me. The Lord himself predicted such attacks, and we should meet them head on.
But PrayerMarket.com is run by believers and is offering to pay its members tokens in exchange for offering prayers to God on behalf of other users. By submitting a video of yourself praying on behalf of the user, you earn tokens. These tokens can be used to post your own prayer requests in the forums or redeemed for cash rewards.
Many, many issues with that right off the bat. First, the prayer has to be publicly posted on YouTube. I’m not opposed to public prayer per se, but Jesus condemned the practice of public prayer to appear holy or religious (Mt 6:5-8).
Motivation is key to prayer. Why do I get the feeling that many people are only praying out of a desire for these tokens? You can get a $25 cash reward for so many credits, after all.
Not surprisingly, few are legitimate prayers motivated by a desire to please God and see his will done on earth. Here are some typical prayers that I saw while visiting the forums:
- God, please give Brandy at least a 68 on her calculus 2 final. she worked so hard and it wouldn’t be fair if she didn’t pass. Thank you God.
- Lord, Help Brittany lose 25 pounds before June 6th, Brittany is trying her hardest, but she cant fight the temptation alone. She is grateful for the strength that you give her today and every day. Amen.
- [G]od[,] grant that the packers beat the patriots by at least 6 points next week[.] amen.
Some were more pious:
Dear Lord, Please bring Tanner, Alex, and Andrew Skelton back to their mother Tanya safe and sound. Amen.
And a few defy classification:
- Lord above, Your servent Cassandra asks thaty ou stop allowing these attacks on Sarah Palin by the socialist left-wing lieberals. she is a good woman that shows a different life than the east coast elites want to see. bless her and her family this holiday season. amen.
- The Lord Our God, Please put this nation back on the right track by granting enough votes in congress to: Repeal ObamaCare, Outlaw gay marriage, And cut government spending. Amen.
The bottom line: Prayer circles should be free to join and to request help from. While it is free to join this site, the fact that material goods are being remitted as a reward for praying is just terrible. Prayer has a spiritual dimension to it; receiving material rewards for it misses the point entirely.
I’ve written before that motivation is key in prayer. Prayer should be about communicating with God and laying yourself bare to him. It ought to be motivated out of a desire to commune with God, to seek his presence, to further his kingdom on earth, to find his will, and to change yourself into something acceptable to God. Ideally, you should learn something from prayer, and it should change you. Most people expect the opposite, and that is why prayer is lacking in its power. Sites like this seem to promote the incorrect view.
John Wilson, founder of PrayerMarket.com, has agreed to talk about his site with me. He believes that I’m misunderstanding his purpose and is willing to defend his point of view. So I will be posting a follow-up interview with him shortly. We’ll see if he can turn me from a hardcore critic into an evangelist, singing the praises of PrayerMarket.com!