I told a former friend I was struggling.
Not necessarily struggling financially, as I dislike the frivolity that money incurs and provides, but struggling in deeper areas. I was struggling with self-deprecating thoughts of isolation, hints of depression, hues of loneliness, and an underlying shroud of suicidal contemplation.
My former friend was – or it seemed – to be a creative, introvert like me; someone who absorbs everyone else’s feelings into the depths of their soul and absorbs it like a mighty dish sponge. I felt at ease with my former friend; she was never judgmental or condescending….well at least not to me, so I thought it was a safe bet to confide to her, and she would offer me pearls of wisdom.
Instead she muttered these words, and pretended what I had told her didn’t exist. My emotional turmoil that I trusted her with wasn’t of value…it was as if, what I had said to her was mutually exclusive with *gasp* satan, himself/herself.
So glad you asked. The ever-so popular words:
“I’ll pray for you.”
When those words left her mouth, it was as if she took a long blade and gutted my soul with a mess of a precision; her blade mastery skills were lackadaisical and the proverbial scar would be this long jagged line from my clavicle to my pelvis.
I felt the life sink out of me that day and I must have appeared white as a ghost as she uttered in a nonsensical way, “Are you okay? I have some things to do so see you at Bible Study.”
Truth be told, I wanted to take my hand, wrap it around her murky, chestnut-brown hair and pull her to the ground as I shoveled freshly laid soil into her mouth.
Was I okay?????
Was I okay?????
I just confided into you on the most innermost parts of my life and your best advice was, “I’ll pray for you??”
THIS IS LIFE?!?!
While, I certainly am on an upwards trajectory in my healing journey and furthering my spiritual endeavors in finding out what I believe in and what I do not believe in, the words, “I’ll pray for you” still give me the projectile vomit feeling.
At this point I want to differentiate between those that do inquiry if they can “pray for you” in conjunction with listening to you, further emotional, character, and financial support, and a long list of being a proactive believer in _____ faith. That’s significantly different from the group I am talking about; I want that made abundantly clear.
It’s safe to say, I know (and respect) those believers that are proactive in addition to their prayers, compared to the self-righteous who offer a half-ass request to pray for you.
This is what “I’ll pray for you” really means:
It’s an attempt to further compare yourself to someone you are softly masking a xenophobia towards and it’s really about superiority.
What? NOOOOOOO, I really want to pray for you?
But why? Why do you want to pray for me? Why wouldn’t you just offer an eager ear? What if I don’t believe in prayer? Why wouldn’t you just be sincere and proactive?
“I’ll pray for you” is like spitting in my face.
Not to mention with the boom of social media, internet, and debates, ‘I’ll pray for” has become a way for Christians to flex their self-proclaimed spiritual muscles towards those that “need saving” …. It’s a pity response in the absolute worst arrogant and narcissistic way.
In either situation, it’s all about this — self-inflated superiority.
“I’ll pray for you” is a heavily utilized passive-aggressive tactic” to incite “I’m better than you because my soul is saved and you are a sinful heathen.”
In my opinion, “I’ll pray for you” has manifested into this negative, venomous vitriol to further promote a dividing line between “them” and “us.”
And it’s despicable.
“I’ll pray for you” should have a heavenly, positive connotation, but more often than not, that’s not what I (we) hear — we hear the condescending air of supremacy; we hear the haughty upper hand in the less-than-loving tones in your voice.
Basically, we know that with your “I’ll pray for you” it’s really a confession of “Guh. You’re a terrible person who needs to be more like me. And believe what I believe. ”
“I’ll pray for you” is a religious construct to further a divide of man-made dogma; a man-made separation of what you THINK is good and what is bad. An overbearing tactic used to inflict me (us) with a sense that we are the lesser than, but here’s the thing….
You suck .
You really suck.
You really, really suck.
If you are remotely well-versed in your Bible (or any holy book) as you proclaim to be, you’d already know that once you put forth an air of superiority into the universe and your prayers, you’re doing the complete opposite of what God supposedly (a la scripture) wants. This arrogant-filled comeback is the antithesis to the love and compassion that should feel authentic prayers.
What “I’ll pray for you” really means you have the inability to accept that not everyone sees your way of thinking as the absolute truth.
It really means you have an incapability for tolerance.
An incapability for love.
An incapability for compassion.
… for proactive prayer…
… for humility …
… for free-thinkers …
… for other walks of faith …
… for grace …
Actually, it means the opposite of everything it SHOULD mean.
Maybe, I should just pray for you, huh?