Why Offer Prayer for Others?


So as a conservative, those are the people I most follow on social media. Not entirely, as I follow those that self describe as liberal or progressive as well. I have no idea what the ratio is, but I enjoy hearing different perspectives. Sometimes, we all need to hear something we may not agree with to reevaluate what we think we may already know.

Those conservatives I follow are also self-described in their biographies. Many (not all) will also have something to the effect of “God Follower”, or even “Jesus Saves”. As an atheist, that doesn’t particularly both me as 71% of Americans identify with Christianity. That should tell everyone something because that means there are those that don’t describe themselves as conservative that are believers as well.

Something I often see in my timeline, especially if a famous person has suddenly died, or even someone Ive never heard of: someone’s parent or sibling, or maybe just a close friend, is an offer of prayers for that person that has tweeted, or the persons family of the deceased.

We witness the same in the media when a notable person dies or there’s a tragedy where multiple people have dies that they say something to the effect of Our thoughts and prayers are with the family(ies).

I realize of course this is supposed to be a form of consolation but does anyone actually believe that praying for a person or a family to some god will actually console them over their loss?  The same with someone that’s ill. Does some god suddenly make the person better because a few people at their church prayed for their recovery, or is it, possibly the medical care they are receiving?

I’m not particularly offended by it but I just don’t see the reason for offering prayers for healing or consolation.

I know this may sound harsh to some, but I think more often than not that people tweeting, requesting others to pray, is nothing more than a gesture. I’m not claiming they’re insincere, but it’s one of those  things people say more our of habit than anything else. It’s like saying bless you, when someone sneezes. Does that person saying that actually think some sort of blessing from some god is going to be  conferring some sort of blessing on the sneezer? Of course not.

It’s a habit that has passed down over many generations, as I think the request to offer prayers has. It’s meaningless overall. It may make the person requesting prayer feel better, but I sincerely doubt it does much of anything for the person for which the prayer is being requested.

2 thoughts on “Why Offer Prayer for Others?

  1. It means nothing, unless one knows that their friends that are Christians, are seriously offering heartfelt and literal prayers to their God for ones safety or health. Then it becomes something a friend has offered in consideration of their love.

    It is a knee-jerk response, but not necessarily an empty one. We might say, “I will keep you in my thoughts.” That is also a knee-jerk response, but if we follow up by thinking of this friend throughout the day and calling later to talk about their troubles or illness, it is not an empty response.

    I thank my Christian friends for their prayers and they thank me for my thoughts of concern for them.

    I am an atheist, who does not accept the efficacy of prayer, but what does that have to do with the well-wishes of good people?


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