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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I'll agree with the "intent" comments. If someone calmly tells me "i'll pray for you", that's fine. But if some backwoods xtian says "i'm gonna PRAY for you!", that would be a different ball game.
'I will pray for you" is derisive and implies their superior position. If you say nothing you help them believe you are inferior and abased by your shameful belief.

It is an opportunity to inform them that their faith is comical or stupid or naive or however soft or strong a response is indicated.

Situations in which that would be inadvisable are obvious, you boss in a job you need or parents you are dependent on and so on.
Actually I disagree that it is necessarily well intentioned. It is very similar to another common response to hearing someone is an Atheist, which is "Oh I'm so sorry for you". It is a sign of their disease if they indeed can't tell that this is an insult. They would know pretty quickly if this were the response to them telling someone they were a Christian, in which case the "Oh I'm so sorry for you" would make so much more sense too. I really don't think we should ever let this lie.

Also remember that most Christians will take the statement "I'm an Athesit" as a direct insult to their own faith, another symptom of their disease. Of course you are just being honest, but you basically have just told them, I have examined your beliefs and I find them childish and silly. There's nothing we can do about it, it really is their problem. "I'm an Atheist" is simply a statement of fact. "Oh I'm sorry for you" or "Oh I will pray for you" is a direct insult, and they need to know it.

I like to tell them "and I'll rub my lucky rabbits foot for you, (or wish on a star, or throw a penny in the fountain or toss some salt over my shoulder, or ask Santa Clause to bring them a brain) take your pick.
LOL, I love it! I think I will use that next time someone uses the "I'll pray for you" bit, I'll respond with "I'm so sorry for you." Though, keep in mind that in a situation where you are mentioning that you have cancer or you have lost a loved one, etc. to someone who is religious, the common response is going to be "I'll pray for you" or something similar, and in those instances, "thank you" is probably the best choice. I agree though, that all bible thumping, prayer mongers should be sarcastically smoten ;o)
Right on! There is no need to make excuses for others stupidity.
I think there is a difference between someone praying for me to get well, and someone praying for me to convert. I can't expect the oldies to change, and i'll accept their gesture for me to get well soon.
There is really no difference to their response. Yes, expect everyone to wise up or be ashamed of their quacky beliefs. I know that sounds harsh but please, can we be reallistic here? Young or old they need to know that magical thinking is foolish.
Yeah, I certainly suppose that "thank you" would be best, but I would probably just say "Um...okay..."

Heh. When people wish my (jewish) mom a merry Christmas, she sometimes responds by wishing them a happy chanukkah :)
It depends who says it. My sister-in-law continually says it to me even though she is very aware of my lack of belief. So to her I say something sarcastic or rude because after nine years of it I'm a little tired of hearing it. (Also she keeps calling my daughter the 'demon child' and telling her that she's sorry that her mommy and daddy doomed her to hell by not having her baptized.)

Otherwise I just quickly smile or shift uncomfortably. I don't want to say 'thank you' because then it invites them to think that I share their faith when I don't. I don't correct or argue with them but I think by showing them that it made me uncomfortable maybe (more likely not but I can dream) in the future he or she will think twice before making the assumption that everyone shares his/her faith. After all, they wouldn't like it if I came up to them and said I'd pray to Satan for them, would they? I'm guessing they'd correct me in a much less respectful manner...

I guess my issue with it is the arrogance that seems to exist. It's like some people just assume everyone is a Christian, or at least a deist. Even if they didn't mean anything by it they still must have made this assumption which irks me. I want people to know nonbelievers exist.
Your sis-in-law reminds me of why I don't see my family anymore, hehe.
She reminds me of many of my ex friends, crazy how people you've known your whole life will shun you. I was shocked actually some people who were the most critical where people I didnt even think of as religious.
When someone says they'll pray for you, if genuine, I think it's less about you than it is about them. They are obviously in a situation in which they feel compelled to express concern for you and more than likely one about which they can truly do nothing about for you (death, illness, etc). Therefore, I just don't see an 'i'll pray for you' as an assult or insult - just the only way they know how to express sympathy or empathy in such a situation.

Understanding that, I would simply be polite and acknowledge the concern with a thank you.

If uttered as an insult or threat, well, then those are about the same as a 'f@$& you' and should probably lead to something more biting.




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