In the comments section of my previous post someone asked me to check out a site that he thought was interesting and to give him my opinion. I did a little digging and quickly discovered that the commenter was none other than the author of the other site. The site that he was stealthily (dishonestly?) promoting is a web-site in which you can post prayer requests and pay money to make sure that your request gets prayed for by a certain number of people. In addition, you can pray for the requests and receive tokens so that other people will pray for your requests.
One of the first thoughts I had was that the Reformation in the 1500's included a similar issue (indulgences) where people could pay money in order to get dead relatives out of "purgatory" sooner. But people profiting off of religion actually goes back much farther than the Catholic church. Jesus famously cleared the traders out of the temple because they were using religion as a means to financial profit. When Jesus sent His disciples out to serve He instructed them in Matthew 10:8, "Freely you have received, freely give." Paul warns Christians in 1 Timothy 6 against people who think that religion (godliness) is a means toward financial gain.
Not only does the very concept of paying for prayer go against Biblical principles, but the examples of prayer requests that were on the site were all self-centered. One person wanted to lose a certain number of pounds. Another person wanted a certain minimum score on a test. Someone else wanted their football team to win by a specific number of points (to cover the spread?). Someone else had a political request. Noticeably absent were prayers about God's glory and spiritual growth.
I doubt that I have to encourage you to hold onto your money. Most people aren't going to spend money on prayer. But I do encourage you to guard your heart. We are all in danger of focusing our prayer time on our physical and financial needs instead of on the the great God who meets our needs.