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Thread: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

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    Senior Member Monte Butts's Avatar

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    When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    Just had this happen to me today on Facebook, and I just want to urge fellow Christians in the middle of a disagreement to NEVER SAY "I'll pray for you" when bowing out of a discussion.

    The topic doesn't really matter, but suffice it to say it was one in which reasonable Christians could disagree. A Facebook friend responded that we would have to agree to disagree, and urged me to read a Ray Comfort's book The way of the Master. I responded that I disagree pretty strongly with Comfort on a lot of things, so we would indeed agree to disagree.

    He simply responded "I'll pray for you".

    Furious. Those innocuous words insinuate:
    • Your Christian views are wrong and in need of correcting.
    • There can be no discussion because I'm right in this matter.
    • My views are not only right but morally superior to yours.

    Maybe I'm taking this the wrong way but I know I will NEVER do that to a fellow Christian. If you feel they are in need of it, certainly pray for them. To state you are going to do so is belittling and un-Christian.

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    I couldn't agree more.

    When anybody tells anybody else "I'll pray for you" as a closing post or in relation to a comment, it comes off as completely condescending.

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    The only time "I'll pray for you" is appropriate is if the person either expressed a need or has asked for prayer. The statement "I'm praying for you" is appropriate if the person has a long term need or is in a position of authority where support is appropriate. The statement "I remember you always in my prayers" is appropriate if you are the apostle Paul (ie have a relationship with the person) and it is said at the beginning not at the end.

    Alisa
    Thanks Diane Likens, Nelson Bradford, Monte Butts, Alan Starr - "thanks" for this post

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    Site Manager G R 'Scott' Cundiff's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    Just respond to them that you obviously need the prayer and that they could likely use the practice, so have at it.

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    Senior Member Debi Peck's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    Having been on the receiving end of many "I'm praying for you's," I share your disgust. I've said several times in the past few years that when certain people say that to me, it's as if they're pronouncing a curse. It smacks of spiritual superiority. Prayer should NEVER be used as a manipulative tool on people. That to me is "taking God's name in vain."

    When people share a need with me, I try to say, "I'm praying with you," or "How can I help you pray?" Better yet, I urge them to pray their heart and I support with an "Amen" or re-echoing of their prayer. That puts me in the proper place of humility, making me submissive to their needs and allowing me to truly see their hearts. It also helps avoid the "prayer warriors" mentality which has so plagued the church and made people feel only certain people can have effective prayers. That mentality is a travesty, I think, and has weakened the faith and relationship with God of many people.

    Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox now.

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    Senior Member Dan Henderson's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    I had no idea that this phrase is used in this manner. It sounds like it affects many of you the same way as "are you sure?" affects me.
    Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. - Gilbert K. Chesterson
    Thanks Susan Unger, Gina Stevenson, Diane Likens - "thanks" for this post
    Laughing Alan Starr - thanks for this funny post

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    Senior Member Bill Morrison's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    You could ask them to look up Matthew 7:3 if you wanted to ramp the heat up just a bit

    BILL
    Laughing John Kennedy, Gina Stevenson - thanks for this funny post

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    Host Fun & Prayer forums Gina Stevenson's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Morrison View Post
    You could ask them to look up Matthew 7:3 if you wanted to ramp the heat up just a bit

    BILL
    Yeah, you could ... you've got a bit of mischievousness within, it doth appear, Bill ... nearly clicked the "funny" button in your post, but decided to do this instead.
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    Senior Member Nate Pruitt's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    I had no idea that this phrase is used in this manner. It sounds like it affects many of you the same way as "are you sure?" affects me.
    Are you sure?
    Seeking to participate in the recreation of that which was called "good" and is being renewed. natepruitt.com My author page on Amazon.

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    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    Philippians 3:5 is what came to my mind.

    All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
    I'm guessing those disagreeing with Paul felt the same way.

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    Senior Member Bill Morrison's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    I had no idea that this phrase is used in this manner. It sounds like it affects many of you the same way as "are you sure?" affects me.
    Cool! Now we know what button to push for Dan.
    If I only knew what it was for some of the rest of you.........

    BILL
    Laughing Gina Stevenson, Susan Unger - thanks for this funny post

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    Senior Member Dan Henderson's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Morrison View Post
    Cool! Now we know what button to push for Dan.
    If I only knew what it was for some of the rest of you.........

    BILL
    Among peers of relatively the same age, the phrase "I don't know" is rarely uttered. I use the phrase ubiquitously (sp?) and thus, yes, that question is one of my buttons.
    Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. - Gilbert K. Chesterson

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    Senior Member Dan Henderson's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Pruitt View Post
    Are you sure?
    I don't know ...
    Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. - Gilbert K. Chesterson
    Laughing Nate Pruitt - thanks for this funny post

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    Senior Member Cam Pence's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    I find that people respond better to a more graceful response like " I love you and respect your stupid opinion"
    "Love without holiness disintegrates into sentimentality. Personal integrity is lost. But holiness without love is not holiness at all. In spite of its label, it displays harshness, judgmentalism, a critical spirit, and all its capacity for discrimination end in nit-picking and divisiveness."-Mildred Bangs Wynkoop

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Morrison View Post
    You could ask them to look up Matthew 7:3 if you wanted to ramp the heat up just a bit.
    Personally, I don't think that's a good idea. I know it can be tempting, but matching force for force with someone who is already being condescending is only going to lead to a bigger conflict.
    Last edited by David Parker; July 17th, 2013 at 07:13 PM. Reason: removed offensive wording

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    'I'll pray for you' ranks up there with 'Let me tell you something in love' only to be surpassed by 'let me tell you something in love, brother (or sister). That is when the hammer is coming down!
    Thanks Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Bill Morrison's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Starr View Post
    Personally, I don't think that's a good idea. I know it can be tempting, but matching force for force with someone who is already being condescending is only going to lead to a bigger conflict.
    I can see this new member doesn't have a clue about my sense of humor......thanks to all my Naznet friends who do.
    I'd say I was going to pray for him but something tells me that wouldn't go over well at all
    (And I didn't even get to see the "offensive wording"! Do any of the rest of you do that to me and I just miss it?!)

    BILL

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    Host Fun & Prayer forums Gina Stevenson's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Morrison View Post
    I can see this new member doesn't have a clue about my sense of humor......thanks to all my Naznet friends who do.
    I'd say I was going to pray for him but something tells me that wouldn't go over well at all
    (And I didn't even get to see the "offensive wording"! Do any of the rest of you do that to me and I just miss it?!)

    BILL
    We do like your sense of humor here, Bill, and readily recognize it, even if it's not of the bombastic sort as are some ~~ no one in mind, but yours is of the subtle sort sometimes (ETA: well, not "sometimes," but "most of the time").
    Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. ~ Stella Adler
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    It takes a great deal of maturity to accept that trying to eliminate all risk eliminates life. ~ Susan Lapin ~
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5 (NLT)

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    Senior Member Dan Henderson's Avatar

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    Re: When "I'll Pray for You" is unhelpful and infuriating

    And let's not forget the Southern translation of these wonderful phrases: "Bless your heart!"
    Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. - Gilbert K. Chesterson
    Thanks Gina Stevenson, Nate Pruitt, John Kennedy - "thanks" for this post
    Laughing Monte Butts, John Kennedy - thanks for this funny post

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