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JLeslie's avatar

Do theists get offended when they ask for prayers and an athiest responds that they don't pray?

Asked by JLeslie (60811points) June 14th, 2011

Inspired by this question.

Just curious. I usually would just not respond if I was going to pray or not.

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22 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

No. No one’s perfect. : )

It is, however, easy to be kind. You can tell the one requesting prayer that you don’t pray, but that you will devote a meditation session to the topic, or you will observe a moment of silence for them, or any of a thousand other things.

Facade's avatar

I don’t. Can’t speak for everyone of course.

choreplay's avatar

No I wouldn’t get offended.

Hibernate's avatar

Like someone in his right mind will ask a non believer to pray for him .. who’s gonna do that ? Or in which direction will those prayers will be focused ?

I wouldn’t get offended but I wouldn’t ask an atheist to pray .. for a starter he doesn’t believe in a GOD then he doesn’t know how to pray or what to do .. it’s gonna be ridiculous for both [ me to ask and for him to do it]

P.S. the same goes for the female versions

Cruiser's avatar

I don’t get offended easily except by liars and there I have a very short fuse. Being an ex-theist I would say it might depend on who it was and how the response was given. Anybody challenging my beliefs or trying to impose their unwanted rebuttals just might start something with me if they are all too persistent.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hibernate How do you aways know if someone is an atheist? Most of my friends where I live would have no clue I am an athiest.

sarahtalkpretty's avatar

I’m agnostic but I think it is kind of rude to say ‘I don’t pray.’ I don’t see what it accomplishes and I think the intent is to annoy. I might try to empathize and wish the person well, but if someone is already struggling I don’t need to make a point about my spiritual views at that time.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I have had some very good friends over the years who chose to not believe in God, or who chose to believe differently than I do. I have never hesitated to ask them to remember me when I was going through one of my periodic rough spots. Without exception, they said they would remember me in their own chosen way. I deeply appreciate that, and it is my belief that God honors those “prayers,” for that is what they are… a type of prayer.

That is what friends do for one another.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I never request prayers from living beings. I do request prayers from Saints. I cannot imagine being offended that someone doesn’t pray for me. To me it sounds like a form of narcissism.

Rarebear's avatar

I say, “My thoughts are with you.”

wundayatta's avatar

I’m like @Rarebear. But I don’t even mind saying “I’ll pray for you.” It means the same thing. I’m thinking about you and wishing you the best. I care.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Close. Very close. : )

QueenOfNowhere's avatar

lol in my case theists do get offended since they want me to become just like them.

fundevogel's avatar

I don’t see why they should get offended. It would pretty weird to expect an atheist to pray.

I don’t often encounter these situations. My mom is really the only person I’m close to that would ask this sort of thing and we’re at the point that she knows me well enough not to. Instead when we get to that point in a conversation I just tell her I’ll keep her in my thoughts and wish her well. When I encounter a situation where a prayer request is given to a group I’m a part of I generally just don’t say anything. It doesn’t make sense to me to take that time to explain my atheism since whatever the prayer request is about is probably more important at the moment than making sure everyone knows I’m a goddless heathen.

cazzie's avatar

I will usually say, ´Sending you positive thoughts and best wishes.´or some such thing that would be more honest. I don´t pray, but I can certainly hope.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Good answer!

Prayer has been a part of my life for so long now, it’s become second nature to me, like breathing. So it’s rather difficult for me to see why anyone would object to it, but I can respect the beliefs and practices of others, even if I don’t understand them.

athenasgriffin's avatar

When people ask me to pray for them, I tend to avoid giving a concrete answer.
For some reason, every person in the whole world seems to think I agree with them or believe the same way as they do. I think its human nature to want to believe others are like us until it is proven otherwise.
I try to empathize with everyone, and I do not believe that the moment someone needs your prayers is the right moment to inform them you don’t pray. It is, however the right time to support them.

Judi's avatar

I don’t. I would just say, “Could you think good thoughts for me then?”

CaptainHarley's avatar


Great answer! Being supportive of those who need our help should be right at the top of anyone’s moral code!

Cupcake's avatar

I wouldn’t be offended… but if they don’t believe in God/prayer, then my original request does not pertain to them.

If I requested prayer assistance, I would be requesting it of people who believe in prayer. I don’t have anything against “good wishes”, but they wouldn’t really fulfill my desire for prayer.

mattbrowne's avatar

If theists are the hosts (of a dinner for example), I would find such a response inappropriate. I would expect atheists to stop talking without participating in the prayer and without saying anything about it.

If atheists are the hosts, I would find it inappropriate when invited theists begin to pray.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Yeah, prayer. Well, the worst part of being an atheist is there’s no one to talk to while getting a blowjob.

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