Why, “I’m Praying For You” OFTEN Comes Across As, “You Suck!”

Jan 15, 2018

(WARNING:  This article is RAW, it is not "cleaned up" or "sanitized" to appease as many people as possible - if you get offended easily, it would be better for you to simply not read it!)

"Hey Perry," the text began, "I just wanted to reach out and let you know I am praying for you"  

Anger...real, pure anger...



...those are just some of the emotions I felt in that moment,  


Because the person who sent me the text has not spoken to me in 18 months; in fact, they ignored my calls to them during that time--and I know for a fact they have gossiped, even told flat out lies about me!  

So why in the hell did they text me to tell me they are praying for me?  
It's quite simple (and, unfortunately the reason far too many "Christians" tell others they are praying for them!)  

#1 - It relieves their conscience - In many cases they don't actually care about you (if they did they would not have acted the way they have towards you or talked "ish" about you) - they are just trying their best to find relief from knowing they've turned their back on you - so the 'ole, "I'm praying for you" makes them feel better about themselves.  

#2 - It places them in a place of spiritual superiority over you - In some cases (not all) "I'm praying for you" is actually one of the most condescending things you can say to a person who has gone through (or is going through) a tough time.


Because of the very first word in the sentence...


The focus is on them...

..."let me tell you what I am doing"...

...or better yet, "Let me tell you how awesome I am!"  

And a party should be thrown in their honor, because, after all - they took the time to pray for a bucket of piss like me!  

Have people said this and been sincere?  


However, that has been the exception, not the rule...

...because, at the end of the day I am NOT going to remember the people who prayed FOR me, but were present WITH me during the hell I've gone through.  

(It's so much easier to pray for someone - that way you don't have to get near them!)  

"Well what should I say," you may ask.  

Great question!  

The most spiritually mature, caring thing we can say to someone who is hurting is...

"Would you like to go to dinner?" (or lunch, or coffee, or to see a movie...)  

Or, "is there anything you need?"  (BUT--be careful, asking this question could require action!)  

Jesus said people would know we are His followers because of the way we love one another
Love for someone always equals time WITH them--period!  The Gospels are LOADED with Jesus spending time with His disciples--and there are only a couple of occasions where Scripture mentions He prays for them!  

However, this is a challenge - it takes someone coming off their spiritual high horse and being willing to associate with those who are "less than!"  

It takes someone who is unafraid to be accused of being guilty by association.  

It takes someone who is willing to stop talking about you so they can actually talk to you.  

And that is simply too much for a lot of people to do.  

I write this not only out of frustration - but as a confession.  

For years I would tell people I was praying for them; however, as I look back I was saying it to make me look good (and, sadly enough, I actually didn't pray for them more often than I would like to admit.)  

Am I saying not to pray for people?  

NO - FREAKING - WAY!!!  I absolutely believe in the power of prayer!!!  

However, when we do pray for someone--we shouldn't have to tell them--period.  Because, if all we are doing is praying for people without having a relationship with those people--then we will naturally drift into what Jesus talked about in Luke 18:9-14

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray,one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Notice the Pharisee prayed with a self righteous attitude - and in his prayer pointed out how short the tax collector had fallen...

...which is what self righteous people do when they pray--ask God to let someone else to repent of sin without actually repenting of their own sin. 

This is such an incredible lesson for me to learn as I start Second Chance Church - the lesson to not just pray FOR people, but to actually be WITH them! 

Because, spending quality time with people allows us to stop viewing them as "spiritual growth community service" but rather see them as Christ sees them - a hurting person who isn't looking for a spiritual handout, but rather a real friend to spend time with them - and be interested in them rather than feeling superior to them!