When someone comments that they will pray for you, what do you say back? Even when I was a pretending christian I felt awkward when people said they would pray for me....

Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer. - Anonymous

and another one I am pseudo-quoting since I can't find a reference at the moment........

Helping hands are far more useful than praying ones.

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If I'm really annoyed, I suggest that they should rather estimate the amount of time they will spend praying for me, then work overtime for that amount of time instead and give me the proceeds, as that way I'll actually get some benefit from their actions...
But only if I'm really annoyed. Otherwise I say 'why not read some Darwin instead' or 'why not think about why the ancient Greeks believed in Zeus instead'...
I'm in the UK so the Bible-bashers are a lot less intense but recently groups of mormon missionaries have been appearing in my local town centre trying to recruit. Seeing a couple of them trying to get the attention of the as usual uninterested locals I walked past slowly for a bit of fun. The two quite sweet American guys asked if I wanted to learn more about God and be saved. I responded quite politely that I'm an atheist. One of the guys responded that God was calling to me. I repeated that I don't believe in the existence of God and that if he did that as a gay guy I don't think I'd really be what he's looking for. They both looked shocked by my response. The other guy said that he would pray for me. I said "That would be a waste of all of our time" and walked off feeling fantastic.

There are new missionaries every couple of months and I always do my best to get stopped now.
"I will think rationally for you" or "Quetzalcoatl sends you snakey kissy wissies" (depending on my mood)

They may think they are being good intentioned, but they are still shoving it in my face, so I shall respond accordingly
If the "I'll pray for you" is rude, I tell them
"I'll tell Satan to be gentle in/on/with you."
Just to fu*k with their heads.

If it's out of concern, I thank them.
I feel like printing my own fliers giving a logical explanation for the basis of religion and handing them out when the JW's knock on my door. A trade for a trade. I'll let my kids read their flier if they let their kids read mine.
A trade for a trade. I'll let my kids read their flier if they let their kids read mine.

Therein lies the real challenge. Whenever a customer bible-thumps me at work (which happens a lot, almost as if they know I have to be heavily censored in what I can say back to them), I let them know when I'll be off work, and invite them to meet me at a cafe to discuss the matter further. "And we both get equal time to talk."

No one has taken me up on it yet.

Even better I think to issue your trade: How much time do you want with my kids? You can have it, provided I get the same amount of time with your kids."
It's very creepy when people say that they will pray for me. I suspect they have their own interests in mind - they would like to hear me saying I'll pray for them too. Ha-ha! I usually reply: "Mhh", or something else equally polite and meaningful.
I just say "thanks, but that's not needed," and sometimes quote that first quote of yours. But, I only use that quote when they are saying it as a way of hostility.
I work in a public school...We have a group of mothers and teachers who meet in the building before school and they pray for various teachers. I've gotten little notes in my school mailbox letting me know they were praying for me. gives me the willies.....
wow, i don't even think that's legal. why did they say they were praying for you, b/c you're not religious? ugh, i will never get used to the south!
p.s. i work in the schools too and often worry that someone will "discover" i'm atheist and not want me around the kids.
I work in the public schools as well. I don't advertise my beliefs (or lack thereof) not because I'm worried about what the parents will think or say, but rather because I don't want to turn off students who might shut out anything I have to say if they disagree with me. I'd do the same even if I was devout theist.

It seems to work for me, I've had some seniors come up to me at the end of their final year to tell me they've never had such a spiritual teacher, and others who have said that they've never had an atheist teacher make so much sense. Apparently, I've straddled the line of objectivity fairly well.




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