Friday, June 8, 2012

Please Pray for Me!

My Facebook account is packed with Christian friends - about 400 of them - and one of the most common posts I see is the "please pray for me" variety.

I used to be one of those.

Then I just ignored those posts.

Now they bug the shit out of me.

Is there anything more whiny, more pathetic, more self-centered than the relentless parade of neediness on display?


Please pray for my interview today!
Please pray for my kid who has the sniffles!
Please pray that I'll be able to focus on my work!
Please pray for my presentation!
Pray that the insurance company decides in my favor!
Pray that a check will arrive in the mail so I can pay my bills!

I'm completely embarrassed and ashamed that I used to ask for prayer like this, not on Facebook but directly to friends. It makes me cringe to think of it.

I guess I should be more charitable. It's just a way for people gain comfort in difficult situations. But it reminds me how Christianity encourages some of the least helpful attitudes and behaviors in us. I am not okay on my own. I need strength from outside of myself to accomplish anything. When my friends whisper pleas on my behalf into the air, the Creator of the Universe will step in and help me.

Even the idea that "God" will intervene to make the presentation go smoothly, while he's apparently okay with massive suffering every single day across the world, is heinous.

And Christians are so insulated in their little world (as I used to be) that they don't even grasp this. It really bothers me.

I don't know how to stop feeling so judgmental when I see these "please pray for me" posts scroll by. I suppose I'm still too close to it. I haven't yet developed a healthy distance. Whatever the person's problem is, I want to yell, "Suck it up! Put on your big-girl panties and deal with it!"

Ha. I wonder what would happen if I really responded that way!

28 comments:

  1. I can certainly relate to this!

    Depending on the situation, I do sometimes respond with something a little more direct. For instance, on the "please pray for my kid's/spouse's/cat/dog/niece's/friend's routine surgery", I may say "I'm confident they are in the good hands of very capable doctors", or I may ask if I can drop by to visit or actually provide more tangible support.

    Like you say, it's really about the person's desire for solidarity or community. Now that I am an atheist, I am compelled to do more than send wishful thoughts, and that actually makes me feel more connected than praying ever did.

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  2. I am also a closet agnostic/minister's wife. And I teach women's classes. Very challenging. When I'm asked to pray for someone, I encourage their taking responsibility for as much of the situation as possible. And usually I can offer a personal example of my own.

    I remind them that we have been given minds to think with and for processing solutions. And I sometimes add that we don't want to cop out of our part of the responsibility of doing what is expected of us.

    It's not easy being somewhat honest while keeping the facade together. Been doing it for over four years.

    I've also decided that I can 'pray' for, not to someone. Which is more like those 'wishful thoughts' Allison mentioned. And more direct.

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  3. I am also an atheist. I have been watching your blog lately.

    Also, I just awarded you the Liebster Award. stop by my blog to receive your award and info. http://willingtomakeadifference.blogspot.com/

    Jim

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  4. Dear Friend,

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  5. I've just read your post and its sad. Not to judge, for who are we, who am I? One thing for sure is that when I pray for others I realize that we are not alone. Just because we (me) are Christians does not mean that we are not going to face struggles. I also believe, that it is easier to understand someone elses situation after we have gone through some rough times ourselves. I can also say that many wonder about God, but for those who do not believe or have their faith in something other than God, how come they don't call on them when something mayor happens... I pray for healing in your life and that whatever has made you walk away, touch you in a way that you get see Him for who He is... Your Creator and Savior.

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    1. Jesus heals all hearts and no matter what you claim to be, who you are, your background, religion, faith, or what, he is waiting for you to come back to him.

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    2. I'm not the author but I am an ex-christian.

      When your biblegod/Jeezus decides to do something about this:

      http://www.buzzfeed.com/lynzybilling/where-syrian-children-sleep#.dxRA0nyEb


      As well as deal with many of the evils that a supposedly omnipotent and omnibenevolent god could deal with...

      THEN I'll consider "returning".

      And before you spout your excuses for evil in the world, I'll leave you with this:

      "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is He neither able nor willing? Then why call Him God?"

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  6. Wow! Just found your blog. Started to read your whole process beginning in 2010. Going through similar process over the last 10 months...brought on by major life changing events. Paradigms changing, shifting...shredding, decomposing! some days a Deist, some days an agnostic, some days/moments an atheist!
    Also, I'm 51, (female) have been a Music Director and Worship leader in my church for over 25 years...still am.....and don't know what to do now..not ready to come out of the closet.
    Would like to communicate if you have time!!! Can relate to so much of what you've written.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Kelly

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    Replies
    1. God bless you all to do what you should in Jesus name. God has not forgotten about you. HE always wishes for us to make the right decisions. We should never lead to our own understanding. God sees and knows everything. Please continue to pray,worship,praise and honor God. Read and think about John3:16

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    2. It's interesting that god wishes for us to make the right decision despite the fact that due to his omniscience, he would already know what we will decide. I never took an omnipotent and omniscient being wishing for anything, since such a being as all the power within its hands to shape the entire universe in whatever manner it sees fit.

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  7. I totally hear you on this one. I think people asking for prayer for all those little sorts of things is just a need for attention and comfort and sometimes "prayer requests" are also great ways to gossip without guilt. ha! I just want to say also, that I find myself on the same sort of life journey as you. Grew up a very dedicated and involved Christian. Yet I'm in my 30's now and through many different life experiences and events, find myself in a totally different way of thought and belief. Trying to figure out how long I can keep it internal before it explodes out of me on all my Christian family and friends. :) That said, please keep posting, I like your thoughts and "community" very much!

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  8. I only have one thing to say.....please pray for me!

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  9. Wow! A lot of "Anonymous" posters. What are they hiding from?

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  10. Hi mom,

    I can agree with part of what you say. It's horrible how some religions make you think you have to rely on anybody else BUT God. It is of course wonderful to have support from the people that surround you but sometimes they just won't be there, and the truth is you can STILL do things without them.
    What I can assure you is that doing things without GOD is all that more difficult. I am very ashamed to know that you have given up on christianity and I guess that's because there are still many flaws in the way (again) some religions interpret God's word.
    Nonetheless, I encourage you to NOT give up God because He has never given up on you, and THAT I am positive you already know.
    Where do you go from here? You go back to the very beginning where you didn't know anything about anything and find your way back... to God, not to a church or a religion, to God. It is possible and it IS the way, I can assure you.
    At the end of it all, what I'm trying to say is: the only one that REALLY is going to be there for you ALWAYS no matter what you do, is God. Just because things aren't doing so well, it doesn't mean you have to go crazy and let go of everything. On the contrary, it means you have to hang on to God all the more.
    I hope you've read all of my reply and will at least give it a try.

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  11. Veronica-

    "I am very ashamed to know that you have given up on christianity"

    I don't want to presume on a family discussion, but you might want to consider this statement. Why would you feel ashamed about someone who is being totally honest about their views towards the Christian faith?

    Why does that bring you shame?

    respectfully-ca

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  12. Found your blog. Interesting... Most Christians are wrapped up in a magical thinking mindset rather than genuine faith in the Creator. It's a "god-in-box" mentality they have when they need something they ask the magical "god-in-a-box" to help them with this or that. I would suspect you were wrapped up in this kind of mentality and that you also walked strongly in Pietism. The end result of all Pietism is atheism. Trying to serve and please God by what you say and do all the time exhausts a person's faith and leads them to emptyville. By the way - been there. Ever think you may have it all backwards and that is why you ended up where you are?

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  13. I love this page. I have only have one question for Christian women... Why does thou worship when it is you that they crucify?

    Think about that for a minute.

    Blessings from a former battery of the matrix.

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  14. I am sorry you ran into hard times as a christian. I will say though it is all a part of a very real calling.I am almost certain that you wont want to hear this but if you were truly a child of God you need to repent. you are denying Jesus before man and He himself said deny me before man and i will will deny you before my Father. you don't want to tread here. God makes a much better lover of your soul that an enemy of it. Ask for forgiveness and he will give it to you.we are sent out to win souls and bring the good news that there is salvation for souls, not publicly trash his name and his people that he died for.you know better than this! you don't want to bring the judgement of god on your life. If you have been wounded by his people Then talk to God about it... he really does listen and care!

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  15. Listen, Ex-Christian Mom and all you currently christian commenters:

    Isn't it strange that when people beseech someone to "hold onto your faith" they usually say something like "God loves you"...."but don't make him angry!"

    REALLY? That's the best you've got? Specifically you, Tessa, an enemy of your soul? What a kind, loving, benevolent god you follow!!!

    Also, Ex-C Mom (hope the abbrev is ok :) ), since you're on the path to enlightenment, why not begin asking if humans have souls to worry about in the first place? Not that you do worry, I've not read enough to know if you do or not.

    I've been in your shoes, and I'm glad to have gotten religion out of my way before it had a chance to harm my children. Personally, I have never felt safer and more secure than I do now. Not believing in Hell was what came first for me, then Heaven, and then all of this crazy religious nonsense... Knowing there are no "demons", not being subjugated to archaic principles, and just being certain of the realities of life is so... refreshing.

    All the best on your journey; Don't let the religioulous idiots scare you.

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  16. The problem with prayer is, mostly we do it for things we can handle ourselves and that is what really bothers me. As a Christian, I can't help but feel bothered by this attitude that you pointed out.

    "Is there anything more whiny, more pathetic, more self-centered than the relentless parade of neediness on display?"

    I think this is stretching it, I have seen cancer patients who want to be prayed for. It brings comfort to them. Of course if someone lost their lipstick box and prays for it, has full merit to be labeled silly, but I still think you are painting prayers and people, with a very stereotypical brush. If you know and understand the problem then also understand why they do it. But please, not everyone is the same. You should be careful about this. Because human attitude toward prayer is your problem, which in your own words "really bothers you". Then I think there are many many many more people who do care about the afflictions, the pain, in the world and instead of simply complaining they often do something about it too.

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  17. Was here and found your blog Iwas like you at one time hey iwas thinking i can make it. As time after all the fun things a person can do with out God... was not makeing me happy at all sure I had it all the friends the everthing the world. Give me then one day I knew I wasn't.happy at at the time I found out that I had christian friend praying for me. I know there are others praying for you I was still running form God so I thought iam not happy in early 1990's I join other reglion thanking ah that will show i will show them trust me. It not a reglion it Jesus that you will need later. I had christians still praying for me trust me soon or later you feel the Holy Spirt on you 1997 after liveing in motel room LOST everything job money all my worldy friends ran out on me. My christian friends who prayed for me never give up on me and Jesus will never give up on he loves you so to die on a cross you please come back to him and Iwill pray for you too like my family in christ did

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  18. do you still post? I stumbled upon your blog. Could use someone to talk to.

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  20. As hard as tolerating those silly postings, resort to compassion with the understanding that they are in delusion and in ignorance.

    Always be loving and kind when responding. Meditate before automatically reacting to such postings.

    Just few weeks ago, I got a prayer request email from the church: Pray for niece getting wisdom teeth removed.

    God, you are so merciful in slowing down the hurricane (that was going through certain Caribbean island). How about not starting the hurricane in the first place? How about stopping the hurricane before it reaches inland?

    It truly amazes me how otherwise intelligent people can get so caught up in these silly believes.

    However, we need to remember that they are simply caught in ignorance. We need to show tolerance, love, and compassion to guide them over. We gently use reason to ask them why God didn't stop the hurricane while it was in the ocean? Why God even start the hurricane in the first place? How can the slow down be attributed to God in light of the first two questions.

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  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  22. (Previous comment removed for errors)

    Ugh, I'm happy I wasn't like that when Facebook was all that for me. I see these posts regularly, and I don't cringe at them like you. Well maybe now I will thanks to this lol.

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