"I'll Pray for You": A Question for Religious Folks

Discussion in 'Spirituality & Religion' started by phedre44, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. phedre44

    phedre44 Member

    SKC
    Apr 1, 2008
    Kansas
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I hate doing this here, but I can't think of a better venue to get some thoughtful responses to something that has made me curious for a long time.

    In October, my dad died. One of the chemo drugs that was destroying his tumor also destroyed his lungs. Later that evening, I posted a brief message on Facebook to let my friends and extended family know, and to share information about the visitation service. And as expected, a lot of people sent condolences.

    One of the most common themes among the comments was variations of "I'll pray for you/your family." I've seen these sorts of posts every time somebody posts something tragic, whether it is a personal family tragedy or a bigger news story, and it's always made me wonder about the people who say it. Do they immediately go pray? Or do they pray later, like before bed, or the next time they go to church? Or do they just say the words because it's the expected thing to do, and then just move on without actually praying? And how does this praying work? Is it quick and quiet, prolonged and thoughtful, out loud?

    Now, there are a few friends/family members of mine who I am quite sure did pray for my dad/me/my family. But a lot of others, especially those who are at best friendly acquaintances left over from high school and college....I'm just skeptical. I didn't want to post anything on Facebook because it would look ungrateful, and I don't really intend it to be. I'm sure everyone felt bad and wanted to say the right thing, and a lot of people messed that up big time, even though their hearts were in the right place. (I swear I was about to punch every single person who said "It's so sad you lost your dad" at the visitation. I've been anger-grieving pretty hard.) And I know Facebook lends itself toward short, thoughtless impulse-posting.

    So I guess I'd just like to hear from the religious types on the board about prayer. How do you pray, and what about? How often?
     
  2. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    With some variations, the basics are here: it won't let me excerpt, but the second para covers it (I use a different phrase )

    http://www.johnmain.org

    And I rarely get in twice a day, and even more rarely 30 minutes.

    If I pray "for" someone, I'll begin by imagining myself in that person's position as best I can, then get as quiet as possible and proceed as above. I'll conclude by getting back to my thoughts imagining that person's experience. I put "for" in quotation marks because I find that otherwise I tend to wind up doing the sort of petitionary prayer where I act as if God is my employee and, worse, enforce a sense of separation between my feelings and the suffering/mourning, etc. etc. of my fellow mortals.
     
    Ismitje and luftmensch repped this.
  3. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Oh: And not that anyone cares, but I sound a bit judgmental toward people who approach this differently than I do, which I try not to be.
     
  4. BlueDamian

    BlueDamian Member+

    Jun 7, 2005
    In the shade
    Nat'l Team:
    Colombia
    Yeah, I wonder about that, too. If is coming from an acquaintance I believe that is mostly is platitude in their part. "I'll pray for you" just comes out as a reflex whenever the situation is presented. Whether they actually do something more than just mention your name in their daily prayers, who knows.
     
  5. luftmensch

    luftmensch Member+

    May 4, 2006
    Petaluma
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That's kind of what I figured, that they would include whoever they're praying for in their evening ritual or whatever, whether that be just a token mention or a more in-depth engagement like what Wankler explained above.

    Or they're just saying it to say it because that's what you say in those situations. I'm sure there's all kinds out there.
     
  6. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

    Atlanta Damn United FC
    Apr 1, 2002
    The back of the bus
    Club:
    Atlanta
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Hear the band
    Hear the band
    Won't you let the music ta-

    [​IMG]

    Oh.


    Never mind...
     
  7. Auriaprottu

    Auriaprottu Member+

    Atlanta Damn United FC
    Apr 1, 2002
    The back of the bus
    Club:
    Atlanta
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Mine passed in December 2012 after almost a week of being brain dead from throwing a blood clot. All I cen really remember about the week or so afterward is saying about a hundred thousand times "Thank you for coming!" I don't remember whether anyone said they were sorry or not- all kind of a blur.

    Ultimately, I think the people who tell you they'll pray for you mean well. That's generally enough for me, so I don't ask myself if they really did. It might help you to think of it as kind words rather than words that will be put into action.
     
    Ismitje repped this.
  8. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

    Mar 4, 2010
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Red Stars
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well is better than just clinking like.

    I know Facebook was supposed to be coming up with something for these type of situation.
     
  9. Sport Billy

    Sport Billy Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 25, 2006
    I do the sign of the cross upon seeing serious accidents or funeral processions.
    I don't need to know you to empathize with your loss or to send good wishes towards the souls of the dead.
     
  10. jsimm

    jsimm Member

    Jan 23, 2004
    Club:
    Fulham FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think that a lot of people say "I'II pray..." in the same manner that they'll say "How are you?". They don't really want an answer. It just a greeting. Those that "believe" will pray. Pray is not just Sunday mass but also a way of life. Every action is done with the Lord in mind. Sort of living with Him. At least, that is the way I try to do it. Sorry for your loss. May you find peace in your heart.
     
  11. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I have no idea how many different kinds of intentions fall under the umbrella of "praying (for someone)", but I like the essence of what Dr. W. said up thread. For me, prayer means that I believe that a power greater than myself ( that's AA talking ) will work his will in the situation about which I am making petition. I do ask for specifics, but I also recognize that what would please me might not be the best "intervention" in the particular case.

    When someone dies, a prayer that the grieving would eventually bring peace, that there would be comfort in community makes sense to me, but I think those persons whose theology speaks to an afterlife typically have specific ideas about what God does and doesn't do where death is concerned, so what they mean when they say "I'll pray..." means something different.

    I was in my 20s when both of my parents died. I had no spiritual reference at all. I would hope that anyone who loses a loved one feels confident that the suffering has ended.

    Praying is an act of kindness and in a small way, an act of sacrifice, maybe even an act of worship. When it seems appropriate, rather than say, "I'll pray for you," I prefer saying, "Can I pray for you now...?"
     
  12. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Most of the time I agree, Stilton, except sometimes people use it as a sort of a weapon. Perhaps I tell them I am Mormon, and they'll respond "I'll pray for you." That's not showing niceness, it's telling me I am so wrong that I am going to hell. The act of praying is fine - it's selfless - but the act of telling me is done aggressively.
     
    fatbastard and luftmensch repped this.
  13. Sport Billy

    Sport Billy Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 25, 2006
    There is a reason that Jesus ripped hypocrites. - those who gave, not to help but to be seen; those who went to church only to act contrary to the teachings when they exit, etc.

    The people you talk about are hypocrites - Jesus did not look kindly upon them.
     
  14. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Oh, help!

    Operating under the assumption that such a person (A) truly believes that Mormonism is an path that doesn't lead to what Jesus called "life eternal" (Jn 17:3), A's saying that he will pray for you is two things: lazy and insensitive.

    It's lazy because A should be prepared to tell you why he thinks as he does, with kindness and conviction. After all, we believe what we believe sincerely, not generally out of spite or because we don't like someone who believes differently. And it's insensitive because it ignores the probable scenario that you don't know the whole story and saying "I'll pray for you" is misleading and not particularly useful.
     

Share This Page