Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Say a Little Prayer

A few months before I gave birth to my daughter last year, my husband and I went out to lunch with a fantastic couple who befriended us when we lived in our apartment.  As we were getting ready to part ways, the husband said to us, "You'll be in my prayers!  My thoughts won't do much for you, but my prayers will."  I delighted in his comment, because it was true. 

Don't get me wrong: if you're thinking warm thoughts about me while I'm in labor, or giving a presentation, or taking a test, or attempting for the fiftieth time to get my baby to drink from a sippy cup instead of just chewing on the spout, I appreciate the solidarity.  I do.  It's comforting.  If I'm on your mind and in your heart, that means something to me.  But ultimately, it's not efficacious in the way that prayer is.  And I've grown weary of the pretense that it is.

In recent times, I've heard multiple people say that they're "sending positive thoughts" or "sending positive energy" to someone who needs support.  Now, pardon me for saying so, but that's a bunch of New Age bull.  You can't "send" thoughts or energy to someone of your own accord.  You can tell them that you are, were, or will be thinking of them; you can ask God to help them; you can do both.  But sending out some kind of warm & fuzzy thought & energy transmission?  I'm afraid that just doesn't work.

So please, folks.  If you're not the praying kind and you want to tell me you're thinking of me, go ahead: I appreciate it.  But don't try to circumvent God with some crazy feeling transmitter.  That's nothing but a would-be prayer where you're the god.


  1. Thank you for posting about this! I've often wondered about those who offer up good thoughts instead of prayer...from my Christian friends, that is. This has sadly become the norm so as to not offend someone who might not appreciate or want prayer.

  2. I definitely know what you mean about this. I actually do have an atheist friend that will go out of his way to reject my prayer when I say I will pray for any situation he's going through, or to "correct" me when I attribute anything in the news to a blessing from God (example, when I exclaimed "praise God!" for the rescue of the Chilean miners last year, he quickly responded that I "forgot" that the actual rescue was done by the genius engineers, EMTs, the Chilean government, etc...).

    I don't know, I guess I don't understand why those who don't believe in our God feel like they must actually reject our prayers for them. If God truly does not exist, how does praying for them hurt them? It would then be the same thing as sending good thoughts or whatever. I will always say I am praying for them, because it would be a disservice to them to avoid God so as not to be "offensive."

  3. This is a great point. I'm guilty of saying "thoughts" instead of "prayers", but I know I should always say prayers because in reality I am not just thinking about people, I'm praying for them! My thoughts are my prayers. I don't just think "Oh, I hope Susie is doing ok after surgery", I *pray* that she's doing ok. But this is a great reminder to not forget God when others ask for prayers.