Monday, February 27, 2006

pet peeve

I have discovered a pet peeve.

You know what REALLY bugs me? People who say, “I’ll pray for you”. (That sounds really bad and wrong, doesn’t it? I will elaborate.)

I have gotten to the point where if I hear the phrase “I’ll pray for you,” I get all tense, my guard goes up, and I become very afraid and untrusting. I guess it is because, in my experience, that phrase often signifies some sort of “escape” and has become the point where I suddenly wish I hadn’t been so trusting and could take back whatever it was I said that prompted the offering of prayer in the first place.

Do you ever overhear conversations, or experience in your own conversations, where someone says “I’ll pray for you,” yet there is such a practical and easy way that they could help, or encourage, or comfort, but THE ONLY THING they do is say “I’ll pray for you”. They don’t even DO it – because, I mean, that is one of the best thing we can do for someone else, right? Pray for them – but they just SAY it. It bothers me SO much!!!

I suppose though that you can never really know for sure whether someone has prayed for you or not… I guess I just feel like if you REALLY pray for someone, pray from your heart, it would look different to them than if you simply SAID you would pray. And if you sincerely prayed for someone, would you not naturally also want to do what you could (within reason) to help them? Would you not love them more each time you prayed for them? Would your actions not convey to them that you care about them? I really think a lot of people say “I’ll pray for you” as an escape from actually DOING anything, or because they simply don’t know what else to say. I mean you can’t very politely say “stop talking to me. I don’t care”, or say “hmm…too bad for you” and walk away.

And I realize that sometimes praying IS the only thing that one can do…but, erg.
To say to someone “I’ll pray for you” when that person has told you that they are lonely and really in need of a friend, and then not make any effort to BE a friend to that person, not even a quick “hello” when you see them MSN…
To say to someone “I’ll pray for you” and then never ask them about the thing you offered to pray for in the first place, or even sincerely ask them how they are doing…
To say to someone “I’ll pray for you” and not show them that you care, even in the least, by your actions….
Well, it makes the person in need of the prayer feel like you lied, like you didn’t in fact pray for them (even if you did and are continuing to do so), and that you don’t in fact care about them at all...and that hurts.

I really don’t mean to sound, well, "wounded", nor do I mean to sound so accusing, because I know this does not happen all the time, and I know that people’s intentions are often good. I guess the moral of my rant is just that we, me included, really need to work on doing what we say we will, end of story, especially when doing so conveys to people that they DO matter and that Jesus loves them - while NOT doing so would convey the opposite.


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