According to an article in today's "Wall Street Journal," cellphone providers in Asian countries are offering many innovative services. In India, Hindu worshippers can send text messages to their god Ganesh at the Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai. Ganesh is the god in charge of destroying obstacles that might keep you from successfully completing personal goals (like getting a job or purchasing a house) and he is particularly receptive to requests on Tuesday's. So visitors on that day may wait in a line for up to five hours just to get Ganesh to obliterate the hindrances in their path. However, for only four cents per text message (a fee split between the cellphone company and the temple), participants can use their cellphone to send a text message request which will be printed out, neatly folded, and placed in a box next to the temple's idol--with the hope that he takes time to read them. Presently, about 70,000 text messages are coming in from all over India each week.
Another service allows the cellphone user to keep up with how many times he chants a mantra or a hymn to each of 18 different Hindu gods. The companies also provide services for followers of Islam. A Muslim can spend a onetime fee of $1.27 to download an application that will put a display on the phone that will always point to Mecca. This way, the busy Muslim will always know which way look when praying to Mecca. The same service also gives five daily alerts in order to remind the user when to pray.
We recognize that technology can often be used for good. However, these particular aids are unnecessary when praying to the living and true God. Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead so that we might have instant access to the "throne of grace" (Hebrews 4:16) at any time and from any place. Text messages are unneeded and you do not need to know which direction to pray [if you need a direction, send your prayers upward]. God knows where you are so you do not need to know where He is. He hears your prayers whether they are sent verbally or silently. He even understands your "groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26). If this is the God to whom you pray, you can thank Him for such blessings and and send some prayers up for others who do not have such a God.