Having Surgery - How to reply (or should I) to "I'll pray for you"?

I'm having a hip replaced on 12/4. Everyone who finds out I'm having surgery seems to think it's necessary to offer me their prayers. I don't feel comfortable saying "thank you" for what I think is a total waste of time, but I don't want to just not acknowledge what they think is a good thing.

Any suggestions? Should I just let it pass, or should I respond in some way. A lot of these people are just acquaintences and probably don't realize they've never seen me in church!

I live in a small town and work for Mormans so I have to be a little careful with making my beliefs, or lack there of, known.


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"Thanks for your thoughts":  It acknowledges their empathy for you, and lets you clarify what you are thankful for(at least for your self). 

Thank you, Michael. I think that's an excellent idea.

"How about giving blood instead?  That way you will actually accomplish something!"  Yeah, I know it's snooty, and no, in your situation and location, it isn't the best response ... but then again:

"Hey, if you really want to help, give blood.  Maybe it won't help me but it WILL help someone else."

I'm so good at sarcastic responses, Loren! That is something I would actually be likely to say. That's why my tongue is always bleeding!

Personally, I would just say "thank you". In my experience, offering prayer is just the christian equivalent of "good luck" or "get well soon" and doesn't mean, or do, any more than that. I thank people for wishing me good luck and I certainly don't believe in luck, it's just a phrase to express a positive attitude. (Having said that, it does irritate me sometimes if people offer prayers).

Given the fact you live in a small town, work for religious people and (I assume) the whole town is basically religious, I am impressed that you choose not to attend church and make your beliefs known at all.

I hope your surgery goes well, by the way.

We have very large Catholic and Mormon communities in town and the usual handful of other denominations. I have been told "see you at church" more than once! I have Wal-mart pretty much to myself before noon on Sundays, tho.

Good luck on the surgery. Hope all goes well. As to a response, I'd just say thanks. These people are just trying to express well wishes in the only way they know how. On the other hand, if they ask to pray with you, then I'd go with something like Loren's suggestion.

You could ask "what's your prayer batting average?"

I agree with Michael Black and with Pat - a simple "thanks" or "thanks for your thoughts" is enough said.  Diane's reply is witty, but will almost surely offend, and the person offended will probably remember and use it to reinforce any stereotype they have of atheists as mean or bad.  

I'm totally in favor of going on the attack when dealing with anti-atheist groups, but in dealing with individuals (unless they're representing an anti-atheist group), I think that a soft approach is a better one to take.  It leaves the impression that an atheist can be a nice person who simply doesn't believe in theistic fairy tales.

Diane................I just stopped laughing, without a doubt the best response ever!

Legit question, it's not offensive, and it may even cause them to think.

React as if you're horrified and exclaim "Oh no, you think I'm not going to make it!"

Hopefully the look on their faces will be priceless.

How about "thanks for your thoughts"?




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