In the "Dear Abby" column today Abby answers a question that is similar to one posted here about how to respond to those who say they will pray for you when they know you are dealing with illness or a serious problem. She states as part of her advice "And most people battling a serious illness welcome a "blast of positivity," whether it is couched in religious terms or not." I strongly disagree as it's just so frustrating to have to deal with that remark on top of other things.
Just wanted to point this out in case others have better things to do with their time than to read the comics and advice column which I seem to find time for most days.
I have not had tragedy in my life since I was homeless some years ago, and I learned from that experience a response: Thank you, but I could use something practical like food or shelter. Can you help?
That can be adapted for the issue of a family death or illness: Thank you, but I could use something practical like (shopping, fielding phone calls, walk my dog, help with dishes or housecleaning, &c.) Can you help?
I do understand, but take the devout Jewish lady who had two hens, and one got sick. She prayed for the sick hen to get better and nothing happened. Then she killed the healthy hen to make chicken soup for the sick one.
People mean well even if we do not understand thier belief system. Personally I don't believe others who say "we are all praying for you." The politicians say it, and all your friends and neighbors say it. Your relatives say it.
Why would someone want to bow their head and start talking to themselves?
So.... did the sick hen get better?
"I'll pray for you."
Interesting how those who utter this don't recognize that by saying this, they are only appeasing themselves. Nobody needs to hear this, whether they are religious or not. Telling someone you will pray for them does not make the gesture more likely to be effective, it only serves to pat yourself on the back for saying it to someone who is experiencing a hardship, or worse yet someone who is perfectly fine and happy in their life as a nonbeliever.
But, but... it's so much EASIER than actually doing something to help! ;)
Did you see the prayer by Rev. Black in the Senate that the fiscal cliff crisis would be resolved? Super helpful that they all stopped working to listen to him pray, right? Ha!
My reply: "What?! You think God's too busy and he's going to let me die unless you remind him?"
Or this one from Emo Phillips: "I prayed to God for a new bike, but then I realized he doesn't work that way, so I stole a bike and prayed for forgiveness."
Just saw this! Very good. That's one of the many things that bothered me about religion until I decided it wasn't worth bothering about, that as long as you "believed" you could do whatever you wanted and if you asked for forgiveness, you were good to go. But, if you lead an exemplary life but didn't "believe" you were doomed for all eternity.
I also hate it when people say they'll pray for me. A simple 'you're in my thoughts' would mean so much more and not be so damned condescending.
In a similar vein, I really hate being "blessed" by some complete stranger. Typically an ordinary human being at that. When I was still somewhat of a deist I took the position that if I had not been blessed already what good will your pathetic entreaty do?
Nowadays when I get blessed I reply (in the best "Exorcist" demon voice that I can muster) "Too late...Priest!!!"
This is an old thread, but some old threads are useful and interesting. Plus, it reminds me of how quickly I forget what's been said before!
Since this was posted, I was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery, and am taking medication. The medication is not the worst thing ever done to a cancer patient, by far, but it affects how I feel every day, every night, morning, afternoon, and evening, affects every meal, every trip to the bathroom, and a lot of other stuff.
Here's the thing about people telling me they will pray for me. I know they are sincere, well meaning, serious. The positive thought is moving. Even so, sometimes it adds to the burden. Not takes away from it. Adds to the burden. I don't take comfort from their wishes for continued life in this mortal world, while they believe in the immortal. It's burdensome to accept the prayer wishes with grace, while not expressing how I really feel about it.
And not once has any of the prayer givers made me a sandwich. Not once. Never. Or a cup of coffee. Or a cup of tea. Or a cracker. Or a bowl of soup. Not that I want that. I don't. Although, I would be moved almost moved to tears, if they offered it. I might cry into the soup. But, just, I'm praying for you.