Pray for me?

An IM acquaintance had “Please pray for me, I really need it” as his away message. This strikes me as a very odd request.

Why should it matter if someone else prays for you? Is God more likely to grant a request if more people pray for it? Alice only got her boyfriend to pray that she gets accepted into her first-choice college, but Bob got half his soccer team to pray that he passes the history midterm, so Bob gets his request granted? Oh, wait, Claire’s whole congregation prayed that her cancer doesn’t recur, so Bob and Alice will both have to lose out. What about poor Damien who didn’t get a single other person to pray that he gets his promotion? Surely it’s not some sort of celestial popularity contest?

Of course, it could be a way ask for emotional support, sort of a “wish me luck!” But surely if one is religious, one shouldn’t misuse prayer (or ask others to) in this manner? Shouldn’t those people be praying for important things like decreased crime, an end to war, salvation, that sort of thing? Not matters that affect just one person?

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4 thoughts on “Pray for me?

  1. Alithair says:

    you bring up good points. i think people are trying to get others to wish them luck… but it does sound like a “celestial popularity contest.” heh. i like that. however, i think some people would say that God (capitalized to indicate the judeo-christian deity) doesn’t have limitations on who gets prayers granted… but then why would you have to have other people pray for you? hrm…

  2. Jux2p0ze says:

    Hmmm, Fortis fortuna iuvat.  Latin for Fortune favors the strong although there are many versions of it.  I think my biggest qualm is not so much the popularity contest but the lack of personal effort.  It seems like these days prayers are cosmic excuses for laziness.  The concept of a prayer has degraded into something more than a trinket, a free wish if you will.  Back in the old customs, offerings and personal sacrifice had to be made for prayers to see true.  Quid pro quo.  What you put in, you receive…that’s balance, that’s exchange, and that’s equilibrium.
    I think prayers also are misconstrued as well for just about anything.  Instead, say it like you mean it.  Say it personally and not from a deity to do it for you.  I ‘pray’ I do well on the test = I want to do well on the test.  I ‘pray’ that little Jimmy makes it out of the ICU = I hope the boy survives.  Keep me in your prayers = Keep me in your heart.  I ‘pray’ for your soul, you wicked man = I hope you die.  Laziness.  Say it like you mean it 😉

  3. Alithair says:

    yeah, eventually change is inevitable. as it stands, taiwan’s almost certainly going to get swallowed up and assimilated by china.

  4. Darmok says:

    Yeah I agree with both of you. It’s just odd because it’s a religious guy who had this message, and it seems like an inappropriate use of prayer. If I were very religious, I might be offended at such “sacrilege”….as if God were some capricious tyrant from whom one must beg favors. Sigi, I definitely think you’re right; people should take responsibility for their thoughts and desires! Or else do something about it instead of asking God for petty favors.

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