If it is said in a condensing manner then I will reply;
“Wow! It must be amazing to be able to talk to the creator of the universe and know you can get him to do things for you. That he will actually change his plan for the world because you ask him is fascinating. My Christian friend lost his arm so would you mind asking your God to help him regrow it as his own prayers don’t seem to work. Thanks very much”.
It doesn't bother me. When somebody tells me they'll pray for me, I always respond by thanking them for their concern for me. But I always say it in a manner that makes it clear that I'm thanking THEM, while not expecting anything from their imaginary deity.
My back was realy bad once and a client told me that he would pray for God to heal my back. I said thank you and thought to myself can not wait to get home have a pain killer and a good glass of red wine.That should work faster.
My response would be, "OK, just so I'm clear on what you're saying, you intend to communicate telepathically with an extraterrestrial entity, whom you hope will magically arrange future events of my life so that they will occur in my favor - is that about it?"
It just means they will be thinking of you and wishing you well. Effectively nothing but ultimately, what else can they do?
@ matt - tell them that you would prefer to hear that they will be thinking of you and wishing you well.
Depends on why they are praying for me and how well they know me. There are three different 'pray for you's of which I am aware:
I generally only encounter the first from people I know. It's like saying, "God bless you' when someone sneezes. While I'm not fond of it, I can appreciate the sentiment and good intentions, and don't really have a problem with it.
The second doesn't bother me much if people keep it to themselves once they realize that's not my thing. Pray if you like and I will respect your right to choose that path; just remember to respect my choice not to participate in attempts at magic. If someone wants to discuss the efficacy of prayer, there are more suitable times to discuss the issue objectively than when they are trying to pray for me. I'm not sure if anyone has ever said this one directly to me, to be honest.
The third is obnoxious, but at least once someone takes it to that level, it's fun to play around with them a bit. Only strangers have tried this on me, and only a couple of times. I might be offended if it came from people who mattered to me, but people who matter to me don't tend to pull that kinda crap.
I treat it the same as when someone says, "I'll drink to your health". I say thank you, the more people on the case, the better. Seriously, why let it bother you? The underlying message is simply, "I care". Does it matter if they say it differently?.
When they're like, "Oh, you're gay? I'll pray for you." Yeah, I find that insulting. Even when it's meant in a genuine and kind way, it's like, "Whatever, talk to yourself all you want."
"Oh, you're gay? I'll pray for you."
"Wow, you're going to pray me up a lesbian? Fantastic! Can I get one with short hair if its not too much trouble?"
New smash hit song "Pray me up a lesbian". I heard the people from the Greek island of Lesbos are peeved at Sappho already.
But what would your wife think?