Using one’s iPhone as a prayer tool is not necessarily a bad thing. But feeling that it’s necessary to pray, or even to get one’s prayers to the Kotel, the Western Wall, is. I’ll explain, but a bit of background first from the Washington Post’s God in Government column:
It was only a matter of time. There’s now a prayer app for the iPhone. You can send a prayer via the app to be printed out and placed on the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
“The only iPhone app that puts you directly in touch with God,” or so goes the marketing tagline from its creators’ Web site.
And there’s the rub. Claiming that this app, and this one alone, will put you “directly in touch with God” is not only inaccurate, but actually offensive.
Leave aside the $1.99 charge for the service – getting one’s spiritual needs met has cost something since the first humans offered sacrifices to the God’s of their choosing.
The idea that one will be better heard by God because they use this app either means that one is praying to a seriously limited God, or that they are guilt of turning a Jewish holy site into a form of idolatry which allows the sacred space to become God. Either way, don’t be fooled.
If the idea of having your prayers printed out and placed among the stones that make up the Western Wall moves you, then go for it. But please know that for Jews at least, ones prayers are heard when offered from anywhere, and from anyone, when offered with honesty and sincerity. And that piece of information won’t cost you $1.99!