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Virgin post. Getting feet wet! Not really looking for another social media site, however I am just "coming-out", and have questions. How do you respond to requests for prayer, for illness, accidents & death? Thank you.

By 420phyllis3
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Just showing compassion, empathy, understanding, and acknowledgment is what most are looking for.

"thinking of you during this time", "my thoughts and understanding are with you during your grief"


I send you my best wishes for a speedy recovery, or the best outcome, or whatever my friend needs. I am not going to add to a friend's difficult time by engaging in a discussion about belief, or lack of belief. I don't talk about, or really even think about my atheism unless someone asks me directly. Then I answer truthfully, but briefly.

ohnoudun Level 5 Dec 26, 2018

Best way to handle it, in my opinion. Very simple, very direct, and if they are put off because you don't mention God, or Providence, or whatever else is supposed to cure all ills, then they have a real problem. They haven't yet realized that your thoughts, your most inner thoughts, in regards to religion, are yours to either discuss, at certain times, or prefer to keep to yourself. I never broach a conversation concerning religion, and am reluctant to add to any conversation about it. If they feel that you are not a Christian, you are less than them, as a person. They could be no further from the truth.


Be diplomatic, gracious, and couch your reply in secular terms. Say “thank you for your thoughts” instead of “thank you for your prayers” for example.

Denker Level 7 Dec 29, 2018

I send good thoughts and wishes. And if anyone says "I'll pray for you" to me, I just nod my head and say "thank you." They mean well.

bleurowz Level 8 Dec 26, 2018

Honestly i take it as a gesture of good will. If someone is willing to use their "god" to comfort you in your hour of pain then i believe there shouldn't be offence. Depending on the context. If their tone of voice is condescending and not genuine concern then it's only right to be offended. Now if you can't tell the difference then it's all on you. Hope i helped


Be yourself and try to be honest, read the situation /know you're audience.. also pick your battles.. don't compromise your utmost integrity.. say what you mean and hold on.. if you are honest and empathic.. well you tried


Belief itself can have a positive effect so I have no problem praying with one of my patients. Prayer is useless in itself but the placebo effect is real and measurable.

adhriel Level 4 Dec 27, 2018

That is specific to prayers for healing or well being. Positive thoughts are just as useful as prayer for accidents and death. So not at all except as a soporific.


I try not to use the word "praying", however I do share my positive and healing vibes.

Mahal Level 4 Dec 27, 2018

I'm still on a group message from a christian friend of mine who will occassionally post to the 4 of us asking for prayers. I always respond, "My thoughts are with you. I hope all will be okay," or something to that affect. The person who started the group does not know I'm an atheist. So far, no one has questioned me, and I'm still part of the group.

linxminx Level 7 Dec 26, 2018

Tell them your thoughts will be with them and that you hope everything works out.


I always say "I'll be thinking about you and hoping for the best outcome possible."


Thanks for all the great comments . ..


I have a Christian friend who always says she prays for me and asks me to pray as well knowing I'm agnostic. I tell her I keep people in my thoughts and I appreciate her prayers for me.

ENF719 Level 2 Dec 27, 2018

To me it all depends on the situation. If it is someone that I see all the time so I have to play nice then I will just make a general comment about about the situation but I leave out any religious parts. If the person is sick and in the hospital then I shift the focus to the doctors that heal. Try to find a little comfort in words without religion.
If it is someone that I do not really know then I usually just say something about hoping they get better or hope for the family and then I leave.
But if it is online then you can do the easiest thing...keep scrolling on

Now this is being nice, but some days I might not be as nice so I might make a comment about praying to your god that caused all this pain? Remember they say that god is all knowing and all powerful so he obviously knows about it and can do something about it but chooses not to...


My answer is pretty much the same as the others here. Of course, if it's an on line request I just pass on by.


I'm really strict about not playing god games. I say "Sorry for your loss" or "Life is hard sometimes, if you need to talk to me about it I'm here."
I never respond to prayers and sometimes if it's a close friend I ask them not to do that-I am pretty much anti-religion. I say prayers never help, everyone at a catastrophe site was praying to god so why did only 3 people live? The ones who live say "God saved me." What a bunch of hurtful crap. Do the rest of the families think their dead loved one didn't pray hard enough? Or say the right words? Or wasn't sincere enough?I hate it -so why didn't he save all the praying people? DUH. There are over 3,000 gods which one do they pray to?


I take the path of last resistance in the end just send thoughts. Many believers no believe they can just make open prayer requests without any info as to who or what these prayers are intended for. FFS

Blumpkin Level 5 Dec 26, 2018

"I'll pray for you." Was this a trick question? smile009.gif

Druvius Level 7 Dec 26, 2018

"Thanks for thinking about me" when people say they are praying for me. Most people don't even realize that I substitute "thinking" for "praying" in my reply.

I'm working on coming out as atheist as well. The YouTube channel for Atheist Community of Austin, including the Atheist Experience and "Talk Heathen" have been a big help. Many of the same questions we all have are discussed.


This is the first time I've posted anything here and, honestly, I had forgotten that I was even a member of this group. Must have signed up a few ago. I have been "out" as an atheist for over a decade but was a very devout for many . When people ask me for prayers now, I tell them that I am an atheist but that I will hold them in my heart. Instead of saying, "I will keep you in my prayers," I say, "I will hold you in my heart". Some people use the expression, "sending positive energy (or vibes) to you".

donnakay Level 2 Jan 18, 2019

Awww sweetie. I am totally honest about who I am and what I believe, yet I have many friends of faith. They call me "mother Teresa with a twist", which I don't mind at all. Just be yourself, be honest, be loving and supportive.

eq2u Level 2 Jan 18, 2019

When receiving prayers:-

'Thank you for your thoughts and good wishes, they are really appreciated.'

When asked to pray for others:-

'My thoughts are with you, and I hope everything turns out for the best.'

Or similar - basically accept good wishes, offer good wishes, be a 'caring person'... just not mention the bearded sky-fairy or the child he had after a non-consensual, one-off fling with a teenage girl.

ToakReon Level 7 Jan 18, 2019

Good energy is good energy. I accept it in whatever form it comes.

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