15 October 2013

Don't Pray for Me

Whenever shit goes wrong in my life, other people (family or friends) feel bad that my life sucks. Sometimes they honestly feel bad and want to help. However, depending on the situation, their ability to help is very limited. Truth is, they can't make life not suck. They can't bring back a dead dog or make someone get over a hard breakup. Even though they know that they can't fix the situation, they want to do something--anything--to make it better.

So they give that irritating line: "I'll pray for you."

Let me make this very clear. You praying for me does absolutely nothing for me. Nothing. It doesn't make my problem go away, and it sure as hell doesn't make me feel better. In fact, it makes me feel worse. It says to me that you feel bad for my crappy situation, but the best you can do is talk to your imaginary god about it. What this does is makes you feel better about the situation without you actually doing anything to help.

I think the time this pissed me off the most was when my grandfather died. At the funeral, some woman (not sure if she was family or friend) told me that she would pray for me and my family. Clearly, she felt bad enough to feel the need to do something for us. However, instead of offering to actually help us (see below), she just said that she would "pray" for us, thereby alleviating the guilt she felt about our loss without actually doing anything for us.

Long story short: Praying for someone does not help the situation. It only makes the person doing the praying feel better about a situation that they can't fix.

If something bad happens to someone you know and want to help, try some of the following things that might actually help them:
~Give them your phone number and tell them to call you if they ever want to talk and/or vent about what happened. Be sincere, but don't push them. If they don't want to talk, then don't force it.
~Offer to cook them dinner. Be sensitive to dietary restrictions or allergies.
~See if they need help with other household chores. Grief can make cleaning or babysitting even harder than it usually is, so offer to clean their house or watch their kids for an evening.
~Send them a nice email, but don't expect a response. If they're feeling lousy, they might not be up to answering emails, but it is nice to get a friendly message.

If you have a neurotic impulse to pray to your imaginary god about me, and you can't resist or your head is going to blow up, fine. Just don't tell me about it. Seriously.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! There is a point where I appreciate the intention of it, but honestly, if all you think you can do to help is 'pray' for me, you can just keep it to yourself. For crying out loud, you could tell me that you're there for me, tell me you're willing to hear me rant if I need it, take me for ice cream, something! Anything! But if all you can do is shake your head sadly at me, go home, kneel at your bed, and ask the fat guy sitting on the clouds who obviously has time to answer your petty little requests to send me a good dream that night, I don't need to know how little effort you want to put toward helping me. Really.