Those hard-working Puritans who came up with the adage that there's no such thing as something for nothing never could have imagined a telephone number where people could call, even anonymously, to get free prayers. In fact, when Kansas City-based Unity first initiated a call-a-prayer service in 1907, telephones were still a novelty in Kansas City and the prayer line was also the office phone. Today at Unity Village, a staff of paid prayer providers works three shifts a day, 24 hours a day, handling "about a million calls a year," says Unity spokesman Tom Taylor. The professional prayer-givers, who are not permitted to impart advice or counsel callers, instead gently pray with people from all over the United States (some of them tearful and distraught, others with more pragmatic needs, such as new jobs) and add their requests to special prayer books, which staffers then pray over for 30 more days. After a month the requests are shredded, but devotees believe Silent Unity's success rate is very good (including one local bon vivant who called to pray that he would stop losing his thinning hair -- "and it worked!"). "The number-one request we get," Taylor says, "is for healing. But we hear every kind of request, including praying for pets."