Allan Kardec

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4. Jesus also said: Do not make charges for your prayers; do not do as the Scribes who 'on pretext of long prayers, devoured the homes of widows,' that is to say, they took possession of their fortunes. Prayer is an act of charity, an ecstasy of the heart. To charge someone for the prayers we direct to God in their name, is to transform oneself into a paid intermediary. Then prayer becomes a mere formula whose length is in proportion to the amount it cost. Moreover only one of the following can be true: either God measures or does not measure His blessings by the number of words used in a prayer. If these were necessary in large numbers, why then are so few said, or even none, for those who cannot pay? This is a lack of charity. If one word is sufficient then an excess of words is useless. How then can we charge for these prayers? This would be a corrupt practice.

God does not sell His benefits; He conceeds them. How then can one who is not an agent and cannot guarantee results, charge for a petition which may produce no results? It is not possible that God makes an act of clemency, kindness and justice, asked for because of His infinite mercy, subject to the payment of a sum of money and that if the sum were not paid, or was insufficient, then the justice, kindness and clemency would be suspended. Reason, good sense and logic tell us it is impossible that God, Who is absolute perfection, could delegate to imperfect beings the right to establish a price for His justice, which is like the Sun: it exists for all, rich and poor alike. As it is considered immoral to trade in the favours of any earthly sovereign, could it then be licit to commercialize those of the Sovereign of the Universe?

Yet another drawback is presented by paid prayers which is that the one who buys them judges themself, in most cases, to be relieved from the need to pray. They consider themselves exonerated, since they gave their money. We know that Spirits are touched by the fervour of the thoughts of those who are interested in them, but what fervour can be felt by one who arranges a third party to pray for them on payment of money? What kind of fervour has this third party when he delegates his task to another, and that one yet another and so on? Does this not reduce the efficiency of prayer to the value of currency?

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