Thursday, March 30, 2006

Save Your Breath

Many times throughout my life, in times of trouble or crisis, I've had people come up to tell me, "We're praying for you." And of course, I would never be rude enough to say "Don't bother, if the cancer hasn't responded to chemotherapy, it probably won't respond to mindless chanting", so I thanked them for their efforts. And I never wanted to be entirely negative and say the prayers won't work, on the off chance they might, but now I know different.
According to a study funded by the John Templeton Foundation,prayer had no effect in the recovery of patients. Patients actually did worse if they knew that people were praying for them. Of course, prayer advocates will tell you that prayers were answered, only in the negative, I say if God has already decided whether a person will live or die, the prayers of strangers won't change his mind.
So the next time someone says they're praying for you, what should you do? Thank them for their concern. because it's nice to know that in this selfish and self-sentered world, there are still those who are concerned with others.



Well Lew intellectually I understand where you are coming from on this but you know what? There is something to the art of keeping one's mouth shut. I would rather a friend pray for me than not care!

I don't say thank you or please because the manners police might get me...I say it because part of interaction involves the symbolic attachments to gestures and words. And so when people say they are praying, I thank them. It is a GESTURE of kindness. Kindness DOES help people get well.

When I had surgery a few months ago it was an ordeal, although I tried to go about my business. A woman made me something with beef in it, which I do not eat. I thanked her anyway.

I did not say "Gee lady, save your beef!" I did not say that because it would not be my dinner, it had no point or purpose. You might think prayer has no purpose, but it does in that it helps people believe they are pro-actively caring about you.

Granny said...

Prayer may not help the sufferer and everything may indeed be preordained but it helps the person who offers the prayer and it is evidence of caring.

Kindness is not weakness.

I'm The Devil, Who The Hell Are You? said...

Yes, by all means do tell the people not to pray-I love it! Destroy all their hopes! My only question of you Mr. Hairless Ape, will you be regular, or extra crispy?

Peacechick Mary said...

I know, there are those who use the "I am praying for you" to show their superior position with their perceived God. Then there are those who just don't know of any other way to say, "I am concerned and care about you". That is the difference. In either case, it's not worth challenging them and getting into a fuss as in those times of crisis, so a simple Thank you will do. However, my sister has it written in her living will that there will be no Christian prayers said over her death bed. It would be just too much to be dying and have to listen to all that honking and pleading.

Granny said...

And with that I agree. I let my former mil hold my late husband's service at her Baptist Church in Arkansas (I flew his ashes back) and the pastor was trying to preach him into heaven.

I got through it and even managed to play the piano for my bil to sing but I was so uncomfortable.

I'll leave instructions too just in case.

Kathy said...

I believe in the power of prayer so I find it comforting, but I agree with you that people who aren't believers should just be gracious and say thank you. Besides, when most people find themselves facing their own mortality, they want all the help they can get and letting someone prayer for them doesn't cost a cent, and it's definitely less expensive than medical care!

Anonymous said...

Patients actually did worse if they knew that people were praying for them.

I buy it. In my case, I'd feel guilty for not getting better, and that would probably make me worse.

Just the...ahem...cross that a heathen frog such as myself bears.

Lily said...

OK Lew our google bomb is taking off... google "pussiliency" now!! he he he

Background and Earl's link in comment section:


pissed off patricia said...

Well I may be tossing gasoline into the fire but sometimes when someone says they are praying for me, I feel like they are saying that if I believed in god whatever my problem is would go away. I never argue with them just smile and say that I appreciate their concern. To me it's like they are saying they are wishing things would get better for me. A prayer or a wish, about the same results.