I am offended by the idea of prayer. Am I in the minority here? Prayer, in my opinion, is the act of pretending you are doing something when in fact, you are doing nothing. This is worse than simply doing nothing.
If I fall ill and find myself in a hospital bed, a friend handing me a "get well soon" card will mean so much more to me than a friend offering prayers. Simply saying "I'll pray for you" is nothing more than an insult. Prayer is a cop-out when you can't be arsed to actually contribute.
Again I ask, is it just me?
i guess i'm probably somewhere in between. i mean, to use your example, if i was ill and in hospital and someone said "i'll pray for you" i'd probably say that i was an atheist and didn't see the value in that kind of behavior but that i appreciated the thought. regardless of the utter uselessness of the gesture the person making it is doing so out of kindness. that has to be remembered and it should count for something.
and, yes, it can be a replacement for actually doing something for some theists (or for all theists from time to time) but i would tend to the view that far more often people pray AND they do something also. people don't flake off at work while praying for that big promotion; they work hard. people don't (usually) refuse to the go to the doctor while praying; they go to the doctor AND they pray. and many other similar instances.
Sometimes. I feel frustrated. I was recently out with a friends who was having problems at her work with her boss. After explaining to me the situation, she asked for my advice. I gave her (what i thought was) valid advice , told her to talk to her boss and work things out. She then replied, "ehh, I just really need to pray about it." What a slap in the face, not to mention a waste a time.
Some, not all, people use prayer as a substitute for action, and that is when it boils.