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    Internet offers ways for faithful to pray more often

    by Nancy Haught, The Oregonian
    Saturday May 16, 2009, 5:33 AM

    The Bible calls Christians to pray without ceasing, and believers are finding new high-tech ways to do that.

    Requests for everything from a boyfriend to a job with benefits are posted and passed along day and night by people hoping others will join in their prayers online.

    Twitter, the "what-I'm-doing-right-now" social network, allows truly instant prayer requests and regular reminders to pray. It's the latest twist in a trend fast becoming a tradition.

    Guideposts magazine's ourprayer.org has posted more than 38,000 Web pages of prayers since June 1990. An interfaith prayer site, ipraytoday.com, boasts 10,000 subscribers.

    In online prayer rooms, digital candles flicker to create a prayerful atmosphere (see praywithoutceasing.org.uk). Other sites lead believers through a particular prayer process. Sacredspace.ie, a site run by Jesuit priests in Dublin, Ireland, counted 661 people praying on the site during each hour in February.

    Online prayers aren't all that different from the old-school variety. They include requests for physical, emotional and spiritual healing, but many now involve economic needs.

    "I am in so much stress," reads a post on ourprayer.org. "I have no money, no food, overdue on my rent. I have seeked help and been turned away, I'm scared and desperate I will be homeless."

    Paige Maurer-Wheeler of Scottsdale, Ariz., who created ipraytoday.com, defends online prayer against charges that it doesn't provide a meaningful sense of community.

    "I don't need to be in the same room as someone I'm praying for," she says. "There are so many lonely people, some who have no one to turn to. To have the pure intention of a stranger placed upon your needs is a beautiful feeling."

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