Christopher Quinn

ATLANTA: Too busy to pray? No problem. A new online service can do it for you — Jewish, Christian, Muslim or other, for a price. Or, it suggests, if your children have stopped praying, the service can get them back into good graces by praying for them for only $1.99 for a month. Prices go up from there.

“By using the latest technology in text-to-speech synthesisers, we are able to provide the service at very affordable rates,” the site promises. Chatter about Informationageprayer.com has heated up the busy Web universe of religion since the site opened on Monday. Atheists are mocking it, many people of faith are rolling their electronic eyeballs and posting LOLs (laugh out loud).

Prayer websites are nothing new. One can e-mail requests for free to Franciscan friars in St. Louis, or users can pay to have copies of prayers stuffed into the cracks of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. What is unusual about Informationageprayer.com is the audible prayer the service promises.

James Mcarlos of Boston, a 23-year-old co-founder of the website, said users type in the name of yourself or a loved one, and the software plugs it into the right place and actually synthesises it out loud in Boston.

Reactions to the site have been less than saintly. Some readers are steamed and sending hate mail, Mr. Mcarlos said. It is not for everybody, he said. “But, if you feel like this could have a good effect, then it doesn’t hurt,” he said.

It is actually for very few right now. While the Web site has had more than 15,000 hits since Monday, he said subscribers so far are, well, not many. Asked if he had 100 or even 50 takers so far, he said: “Much less than that.” — © 2009 The New York Times News Service/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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