My Response to “I’ll Pray For You”
If you’re chronically ill, you’ve heard it before a thousand times. “I’ll pray for you.” Now, I’m not talking about the cousin who is genuinely saying, “I’m keeping you in my prayers.” I’m talking about the person that’s saying it as a condescending belittlement. For a lot of people, coming in contact with someone who looks normal and is dealing with something life altering, is uncomfortable. People don’t know what to say or how to respond. The problem with saying, “I’ll pray for you” is that they’re praying for the wrong thing.
I’m going to try to explain this in the most elegant way possible. I don’t need to be fixed. I will admit, I’m on an insanely difficult journey. It’s not what I asked for, it’s not what I signed up for, but it’s what I got. I’m okay with that. I believe that I’ve been given this illness for a reason. There’s something I will learn from having it and it will make me into the person I am meant to be. When people say they want to pray for you, they want you to be miraculously healed. It’s not a way of caring for my well being. It’s like telling a person in a wheelchair that you’ll pray for them. They’re probably fine with not being able to walk. They’ve probably been dealing with that for a long time and it doesn’t bother them.
My point is, the person saying this, is saying it for themselves. It’s a response to being uncomfortable. Feeling accepted and loved means having all of you loved, the good, the bad, and uncomfortable. Now, I’m not saying I’m unappreciative of good thoughts but that’s not what this feels like. Maybe I’m preaching to the choir and you completely understand or maybe you’re completely lost and you think I’m too harsh.
What I’d like you to take away from reading this is think before you speak. If you want to offer words of support, that’s great but consider the person you’re talking to. For me, I’d much rather be told how much you love and support me rather than “I’ll pray for you.” Although, I do appreciate when people say that they keep me in their prayers because quite frankly the meaning is different. It’s okay to not know what to say, but in a general sense, most people don’t need to be fixed. Everyone is on their own journey and although it would be easier without illness, everything happens for a reason.