Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Please! Stop Praying for Me!

I am being prayed for on a regular basis by one blog commenter after another. I wouldn't mind prayers, I suppose, if they were actual prayers. "I'll be praying for you," or "I'll pray the Lord saves you," or whatever, is not a prayer at all. It is the way the righteous true believer says "You suck" or "Go to hell." Why don't you just say it? It is that pious, syrupy, holier-than-thou phoniness that makes one want to join the Atheists Club of America.

20 comments:

  1. Good point! I had never thought about it this way. Thanks for waking me up!

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  2. People tell me all the time, they're praying for me. I figure, I need all the prayer I can get. The Lord can sort it all out.

    Why do you think all these people think, "You suck," or "go to Hell?"

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  3. Hey Grace,

    When someone says or writes that I am (or anyone for that matter is) doing/believing what they think is wrong, then they say, "I'll pray for you" it is condescending.

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  4. Prayer is an interesting concept, especially the whole, "I'll pray that the Lord saves you." In a way, that type of prayer is almost ego-driven, because it's praying for the person's will to be done, rather than God's. If we are saying that God already knows everything about us, then what is praying for one's salvation supposed to accomplish? Are we saying that that type of prayer can change God's mind or purpose? That we actually have the power or ability to affect God on that level?

    Otherwise, it gives me the impression that God won't heal someone unless someone else specifically prays for it.

    But I do understand what you're saying, John. I think the better approach, and one I try to follow though not always successfully, is that if confronted with someone that we're certain is wrong, we don't pray to impose our will upon that person (because we're very certain that our will aligns with God. I think the saying is that we know we've created God in our image when He hates all the people we do). Rather, pray that we still see the person as someone loved and treasured, and that our frustration with that person doesn't make us ... well, like them. O:-)

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  5. You are feeling hurt, John. I know. But, what should all these folks say or do, if they really care, and are genuinely concerned that would be better.

    None of us have it altogether. I have to say it again, I'll take all the prayer out there, even if it might be offered for the wrong reasons.

    Heading off for some shut-eye now. Good night, John.

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  7. That was awesome John! that was exactly what I was thinking. But being a minister, you must have pity on them. Right?

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  8. Me, I would take a different approach. If you say you are going to pray for me, then you really better do it.

    Its on your head if you don't.

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  9. This sort of "I'm praying for you" message is basically saying, "I'm on God's side and you are not, and I'm going to have a conversation with God about how you need to see the error of your ways and join my and God's side".

    It is condescending, and it is offensive.

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  10. I can totally emphathize, Jodie. I don't think we pray for each other enough, or for things in general. Prayer has become this Christian cliche. "I'll be prayin for ya."

    And, then it goes right out of our heads, or we say it so lightly.

    I'm trying to make it a practice to say if I'll pray for someone to do it right on the spot, and whenever the Lord brings the person or situation to mind.

    And, God help me to do it.

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  12. Well, hell's bells, John. I do actually pray for you (just as I pray for everyone else in my life). Should I feel guilty?

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  13. I agree with Jodie, and with John, to some degree. I suppose this post came about as a result of my comment, and I am sure there are some out there that are using those words in the manner John thinks they are but I actually did pray for John, and his congregation. If one makes oneself the ultimate arbiter of truth, then one will never know when one falls into error. However, if the word of God is one's arbiter of truth then one can rest assured. I do not see any reason for being a believer if there is no objective standard of truth, so I would say you all are deluding yourselves, even if I am wrong you still have no way of knowing whether or not you are correct.

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  14. Well, Alan, it sounds all well and good, but where we get into the weeds is over what we consider "the Word of God" and which parts of it we use as an "arbiter of truth".

    I can just about guarantee that almost everyone on this blog lives daily in violation of the Levitical laws, spelled out in black and white, right there in the third book of the Bible. I eat shrimp and bacon and wear blended cloth but do not consider it sin, despite what "the ultimate arbiter" says. Most modern Christians and Jews get around this only by a pretty tortured reading of other Scripture.

    The discussion that honest Christians should be having is an acknowledgment that we do draw lines on what is and is not important to us in the Bible, then to determine where we draw those lines and for what reasons.

    And to stop using prayer as a weapon.

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  15. I guess one problem I have is that I resent some human being (read fallible here) judging whether my search for the truth is valid or not. There are enough admonitions against judging in the Holy Book that you need to have second thoughts about your position. I once was told "If you don't believe in every word of the Bible how can you believe any of it".

    EXCUSE me, but there are numerous contradictions in this revered text. Every word cannot be true! Each of us on our journey must reconcile for themselves what for them is true. It is none of your beeswax.

    And I will allow you to do your own praying for yourself in any manner which works for you.

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  16. John,

    When we lived in the South, people would also say, "Well, bless her heart" when they usually meant, "Well, she is a crazy heathen, so..." You have turned me on to the idea of euphemistic prayer! Good post.

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  17. "Well, bless your heart," is the Southern version of the phrase often used to the same effect in Corporate America: "well, with all due respect..."

    Try 'em both out! You can insult just about anyone and they're not allowed to be offended!

    "Well, bless your heart, but you're a pompous SOB!"

    "Well, with all due respect to Reverend Shuck, he is a full-fledged child of the Enlightenment and his activities have been reported."

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  18. Hey Alex,

    'Bless your heart' is a good one. thanks for that phrase, "euphemistic prayer"!

    Fly LOL

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  19. I totally agree John! And I have the same complaint elsewhere. The Orthodox are *really* good at this kind of nonsense. So are the deists. Its really quite abusive. I am actually having an atheist crisis because of all the false piety floating around these days. Its making me absolutely sick!

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