I'm an outspoken atheist, but I also try my hardest to be respectful of those that are religious. But there comes a problem. Here's an example of my dillema. 

Me: "Hey there, how are you?"

Friend: "Doing just fine, how are you?"

Me: "Oh, doing okay...I have a (insert big life event here that might not turn out well)

Friend: "Really? I will pray for you..."


How do I politely tell them not to waste their time? It kind of grates on my nerves when people just say they'll pray for me. But I know they are doing it because they are concerned, but why can't they show it in other ways? How do you guys deal with this? Do you just let it go or is there some script that I can follow? 

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I tell them that I'd rather have them sacrifice a goat for me, as that pleases Yahweh much more than prayer =P No, I just take it as them saying "I hope it works out" and leave it alone. There are more important things to use up energy in getting frustrated over or attempting to correct.

I've often wondered about this very thing... it irritates me as well but as you I try to be polite. I usually just ignore the comment but would like something better.

I usually just say "Thanks for the thought", which puts their prayer in the same category as wishing me luck, hoping for the best and other ineffective but polite phrases.


Same here. "Thanks for the thought" is polite, but still shows (to you at least) that prayer is nothing more than thinking to yourself. They won't see what you really meant either, so win-win.

That is exactly how I normally handle a polite I'll pray or I prayed for you or your family from someone who is being genuine. I tell them thank you for your thought etc. I don't get upset until it gets to a "It's part of god's plan" if something bad happens that is when I get upset. I have a friend who's dad passed away a few years ago in a very painful way and a family member whom they already had a strained relationship with started down that whole god's plan thing started on all this "wisdom" about god and saving souls even mentioning some insulting things... my friend absolutely fell apart and started screaming why would it be god's plan etc... I had to step in and escort this other person away and tell them to keep that selfish and hurtful garbage to themselves and not to bother coming to see her unless they had anything worth saying that would help not make it worse.

I am very empathetic to your situation. When I am in one of those I just can't help myself. I always say some kind of smart ass remark.

It doesn't bother me. They're just trying to be kind and helpful in their own silly way. No reason to rip them a new one.

It irritates me as well. But I say thanks and just let it go. They don't mean to offend you. I don't think it's worth the energy and stress to get bent out of shape or bend them out of shape and just focus on (insert big life event here that might not turn out well). Hope this helps!

I was in the same situation. My best friend who is very religious often says that she will pray for me. It really irritated me at first until I realised that what she meant was that she will keep me in her thoughts. She just said it differently to what I do.

I now say "Thank you" instead of throwing it back in her face.

I would be sarcastically flippant and just say 'sure, cause that solves all the worlds problems'. 

Then I'd look for new friends. I'll be your friend if you like!

But seriously, dont put up with other peoples bullshit. I'd scream at my own parents if they suggested praying for me.

Thanks everybody. I really like the idea of saying 'Thanks for the thought'. I only am concerned about it because they notice that I don't respond and I get awkward. They are acquaintances so I doubt I will say something snarky. I like to be polite of their views too, and honestly....they just don't know better. Thanks though everybody. 


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