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Topic: "I'll pray for you"

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Subject: "I'll pray for you"
Date Posted: 6/25/2011 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 8,592
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What do you say when someone tells you that they will pray for you or your loved one in a time of trouble? Do you accept it graciously without comment, or do you ask them not to? Especially in view of a recent study in which prayer actually seemed to have a negative effect on the health and well-being of its intended target, now I kind of want to say Please don't pray for me!

Date Posted: 6/25/2011 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
Posts: 8,022
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I think that the "I'll pray for you" is really no different than somebody saying "I'll keep you in my thoughts", "I'm sending good vibes your way", or "I wish you luck".  I say "Thank you", regardless of how it is expressed in words.

Date Posted: 6/26/2011 11:19 AM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 188
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If people mean well (i.e. in a medical crisis or some similar situation) I always say thank you, since their heart is in the right place even if their beliefs are wacky.

If, on the ohter hand, they are just saying it to make a point (i.e. I'll pray for you, becaue you're a godless heathen and I'm a righteous bible-tumping Chritstian) I would saying along the lines of "You do that." and walk away.

Date Posted: 6/27/2011 6:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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I usually just say "Mmkay."

If someone wants to do something actually helpful or if they're just expressing sympathy I'll say thank you.  Them praying is just making them feel better, not me.

Date Posted: 6/28/2011 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Well, we can't really say "Ya know, prayer is just 'word magic'" to our fellow human beings who are trying to express sympathy to us.   If the person who says he/she will "pray for us", on the other hand, really means "oh you poor lost soul, you are  'standing in the need of prayer' ", well, that's a different situation!

The difficulty comes in figuring out which way the person offering to 'pray for' us intends it . . . . .

Scott (scalta) - ,
Date Posted: 6/29/2011 1:30 PM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2010
Posts: 723
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Last Edited on: 7/15/11 2:39 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
K. A. (nyxki) - ,
Date Posted: 7/3/2011 1:39 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2010
Posts: 313
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If it's a sincere wish on their part, on par with "I'll keep you in my thoughts", I'll usually just say thank you.  

If, on the other hand, it's that condescending, snide "I'll pray for you to see the light and adhere to my beliefs because your own life is so paltry and diminished without god" I usually respond with something snarky such as "Thanks.  I'll think on your behalf since you seem to be incapable of formulating your own thoughts."

Date Posted: 7/3/2011 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 8,592
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Too funny, K.A.!

Date Posted: 7/4/2011 10:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2011
Posts: 18
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I normally just say "thank you" and go on. Or if someone I know is having a rough time and I want to show that I care, I will sometimes tell them "my thoughts are with you" or "I'll have you in my thoughts". I don't say prayers, because that makes me uncomfortable.

Date Posted: 7/9/2011 4:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2007
Posts: 6,435
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Yep, I agree with you guys.  If it is said genuinely, because someone I love is sick or whatever...I give them a thanks, and treat it as them saying they'll keep me in their thoughts or whatever. 

If it is condescending, as in they are praying for my poor damned soul, then that's a whole other can of worms.  I've told people I don't need their prayers, because I don't believe I'm going to hell, so thanks anyhoo. 

Date Posted: 4/8/2012 12:33 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2006
Posts: 11,063
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If there being nice and truly think it will help me.  I say thank you. But when  a lady put my name in book at her church for everyone to pray for me at her church. Then  a couple of members came up to pray with me I about flipped I hate to hurt peoples feeling but I hate my privacy being invaded,I let them pray then feigned feeling in pain so they would leave.Since from time to time I have to be in the hospital I had to tell the lady that I knew she had the best intentioned I was touched she thought of me.  But that I don't believe and it made me uncomfortable to have to pray. She got really mad and turned around and said dramatically well don't expect me to ask my church to pray for the salvation of you soul I said thank you please don't. Real religious lady huh?

Date Posted: 4/21/2012 10:03 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 8,592
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Heather, it sounds like her "prayers" were mostly for her own self-gratification and nothing to do with you.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 4/28/2012 12:29 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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It doesn't bother me either but if someone does it a lot I will avoid them. Prayer can be useful for the person doing it. People usually end up feeling so helpless when someone they care about is having a problem and if prayer makes them feel better than whatever, go for it. 

Date Posted: 4/28/2012 12:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2009
Posts: 852
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My reply usually is : Well, if you think it helps, go ahead!     The fanatical christians do not find that amusing at all. Oh well.

Date Posted: 5/22/2012 3:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2010
Posts: 1
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I live in the Bible Belt, so I hear this a lot.  Most of the time it is said by people I just met and who, upon asking what church my family attends, received the answer, "We don't attend church."  My standard reply is along the same lines as everybody else.  Depending on the person and our relationship (or lack thereof), my go-to replies are:  "If it makes you feel better" or "whatever".  Of course, whether they hear my reply is a different matter.  Usually, they've gathered their children and walked away.  I don't let it bother me.

Date Posted: 5/23/2012 9:03 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2009
Posts: 852
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I have some people at work, who I like a lot as a person, and when they say the ' I pray for you' I just smile and nod.  Since they are nice people I don't want to hurt them or upset their belief system.

But strangers or people I don't care about or the constant missionaries (my husband used to be mormon and has long ago left the church, but they don't give up, ever) do get the 'well it you think it helps, go ahead!'.

Fortunately I live in New England and not in the Bible belt or worse yet Utah or Idaho, so I am fairly safe in my god-less way.