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Why do random Christians want to pray with/for me?


Quill
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I mean, not that it’s the worse thing that could happen to me randomly, but this is the second time in like four months. 

I was having a sandwich at Panera today, minding my own business, happy to be having a nice lunch by myself, when a lady approached me. She was nervous and giggly; I thought maybe she might ask where I get my hair done or something (there’s some precedent for that) but she finally giggled out that she is a Christian, it’s Holy Thursday, and could she pray for me about anthing. 

Nearly the same thing happened to me a few months ago, while I was at a McDonald’s, and having just come from checking on my MIL. In that case it was a man and he was less nervous; I thanked him but declined his offer. (I did also think, “Well, I am going through cancer and I just came from my injured MIL.” Nevertheless, I said no thanks.)

So this time, I said okay. She prayed for me and my kids and then gave me a nice little hand-crocheted prayer cloth. 

Like I say, I guess there are worse things, but honestly...I’m not a fan of this. I don’t even think of myself as an extremely approachable person; I don’t like people terribly much and I’m totally happy to be eating alone. So...why is this a thing? If you are a Christian, do you do this? (Please say no!) 

 

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I've never seen this outside of being in the literal church building. Out of that setting, as a Christian I would find this encouraging and affirming (though I think I would still have a knee jerk weirded out reaction). As a non-Christian I can see it being 100% weird.

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I've never done that. I think -- were I compelled to pray for a stranger -- that I'd do so in my head. 

I've never had someone ask to pray for me, either. There is an acquaintance that periodically FB messages me, asking if he can pray for anything specific, but I generally ignore it or decline. It feels overly personal. 

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Once in a while, I will say a quick prayer for someone I see while out and about. God can hear me whether I say it out loud or in front of the person or not. I would be too shy to ask to pray for a stranger directly, unless maybe they were obviously in distress and I felt it might be welcome. Also, I would be afraid of annoying people..which seems like a legitimate concern. 😉 

Trying to think of motivations for this kind of thing; maybe they are: a. hoping to generally encourage and/or help people, or b. looking to introduce people to their faith, or c. feeling compelled to do this, for whatever reason, or d. following instructions from a leader in their church. Maybe they think people are less likely to turn down someone who wants to pray for them as opposed to someone who wants to talk to them about their faith?

IDK. I'd look at it like door-to-door evangelism. I understand *why* people are motivated to do it--I'm just not personally comfortable with it, either on the giving or receiving end. 🙂 

Edited by MercyA
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I wonder if it’s a local church outreach or challenge kind of thing. You know like maybe “in Lent, approach a stranger per week” or something like that. I could see that kind of thing happening in some circles I’ve been in. 

 

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The crocheted cloth reminded me of the prayer shawl ministry I'd read about a few years ago. I received a shawl, also, from the prayer ministry of our local UMC church at one time. A friend actually nabbed one for me thinking I would like it the color. 🙂 I googled "crocheted prayer cloth," and it seems like those groups who used to get together to crochet prayer shawls might be transitioning to smaller projects. Generally, they would pray for the recipient while crocheting.

 

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56 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

It seems to me a clear violation of Matthew 6:5-6. So I have zero idea why a Christian would think it was an okay thing to do. But . . . lots of things don't make any sense to me.

 

That's interesting. I've never interpretted that as an absolute and only. Do you never pray corporately?

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6 minutes ago, sassenach said:

That's interesting. I've never interpretted that as an absolute and only. Do you never pray corporately?

I no longer identify as a Christian. But even when I did (which was for the vast majority of my life) I tried to avoid corporate prayer outside of church. Lots of things in the Bible aren't clear cut, but it's always seemed to me that Jesus' words on this were crystal clear. 

Edited by Pawz4me
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I think it's because they think they are doing something for you that way.  I'm in a secular area, so I've only encountered this a scant few times in my life.

this would also make me uncomfortable, and makes me feel like they're doing their alms before men. if/when I pray for someone - I don't need to tell them.  I just do it in the privacy of my own home.

Edited by gardenmom5
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I've only once been asked by a stranger to do so.  It was at a bed and breakfast and one elderly couple asked if it would be OK with everyone there if they prayed before the meal and when we all said that was fine with us, they asked if it would be OK to pray for my baby because I was 7 months pregnant with my oldest.  I was fine with that.  Back then I wasn't as cautious as I am now.

To be completely honest, I would be extremely wary of a stranger offering to pray with me now outside of a church setting because who knows what kind of whackadoo they could be.  Are they going to command pennies to walls in faith?  Who do they say Jesus is?  The same as who I say he is? Who knows! I would respond with, "That's kind, but no thank you." My husband has a few extended relatives and I have a former SIL who are heretical nutjobs once you get to know them that I wouldn't want to be associated with in any way spiritually.  Seeeerious nutjobs.  I'm talking about the kind of whackadoo pseudo-Christian nonsense that results in being arrested if the authorities find out about it, so I've learned to be cautious. (Their teen and young adult children have chosen not to press charges.) I have a former pastor who is now completely off the deep end in awful ways that I wouldn't want having anything to do with spiritually.  He actually needs to be committed to a mental health facility long term and his wife needs years of intensive counseling. No more wildcards for me.  If I don't know you fairly well I'm not going to let you pray with/for me publicly.

I've been asked by random stranger Mormons on bicycles if there was anything I needed help with that they could do for me.  I said, "That's kind, but no thank you."

Yes, I pray for people, sometimes strangers, but I pray silently "on the hoof" when I'm out and about. I have no problem praying out loud over a meal in a restaurant if the person I'm with says something like, "Shall we pray?"  I say, "Sure, do you want to pray?  If not, I'm glad to do it."

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I've never heard such a thing, but I agree that sounds like a local church prayer challenge campaign or ministry.  She probably reported back to her small group or church body that she was blessed to pray with X number of people this week, and handed out all her prayer cloths, so she needs to make more.

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I went to a religious school and one day a fellow student asked me to read a Bible verse because she didn’t want me to go to hell. It was just so weird. Maybe I gave off some sort of vibe. A heathen vibe. Or maybe I should go read that verse. I am in my 50s now. 😄

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Hmmm...  I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe they're just truly loving people who care about random people.  I don't think I've had that happen to me... I guess I can't really remember.  I've only prayed for a random stranger in public once, when I went to a music show at a bar and the musician on stage suddenly broke down sobbing in the middle of his show, explaining that just that day he found out he was dying of cancer.  He was so distraught, that I got up and walked over to him and asked him if I could help him in anyway.  He asked me if I'd pray for him.   I'd never done something like that before in my life (for a stranger) -- I'm a very private person as far as my faith is concerned.  But I went up and quietly prayed with him.  It was a very touching experience.

But, I'd never go up to a random stranger and ask to pray for them completely out of the blue and for no apparent reason.  I don't even like praying out loud in church, or in front of Christian friends!  

I think Matthew 6:5-6 is targeted toward people who pray out loud (and other actions as well) simply to appear holy in front of other people, or who think that by following some kind of formula they will be rewarded.  I think as Christians we do need to be very careful about not making other people uncomfortable.  Our actions should be more about what is helpful to others than what makes us feel good and righteous.   I'm also not comfortable with church challenges, or having the goal be to convert someone.

I will say that if I were going through a very terrible time and was very distraught and a random stranger could obviously see it and offered to pray with me, I'd probably welcome it.

But, if I were just happily standing in line at the grocery store it would probably feel a little uncomfortable and seem strange.

 

Edited by J-rap
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This sounds like my MIL. Maybe it was my MIL! 😂 She has the best intentions and won't listen a whit to us when we explain how this might make some people feel very uncomfortable. She just says she'll pray for them too...

She usually gifts the person with an inspirational card (usually handmade), or an embroidered prayer cloth like you mentioned.

 

1 hour ago, Margaret in CO said:

I've had folks come up and ask to pray over me. Of course, this is a small town, and most folks know about dh's terminal cancer. Once, the grocery store checker lady did--I did think that was a bit over the top, and I wondered if she could have gotten in trouble. I hope not. I appreciated the prayers. 

 

 

THIS is about the only legitimate situation I can even imagine for such a thing. In a small town where most people know of a person who is struggling with an illness or other tough life situation... I can totally get behind the spirit of the intent here.

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I've never done this nor do I recall anyone doing it to me.

I can't help wondering if people are sensing the troubles you are experiencing lately.  If that is the case, I think it is kind of cool that they would reach out to you in a way they consider to be helpful.  (Though I do understand why it feels awkward to you.)

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1 hour ago, SKL said:

I've never done this nor do I recall anyone doing it to me.

I can't help wondering if people are sensing the troubles you are experiencing lately.  If that is the case, I think it is kind of cool that they would reach out to you in a way they consider to be helpful.  (Though I do understand why it feels awkward to you.)

I think a person can tell themselves this. My mom does that. It’s a little like a medium, asking questions to get to what they want to say. 

For instance, at one point, she asked around to did I have kids, and their ages and genders. She said, “I keep thinking ‘teenage son’”. Well yes, I do have a teenaged son; two of them to be precise, and it’s possible at any time, they could use prayer. But I don’t want some stranger creeping me out and putting worries in my head. It’s taken me twenty years to not be consumed with worry over my kids. This was the thing that bothered me most, because if something is about to be wrong with one of my boys, I don’t believe prayer is going to make a difference. 

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I have not had that happen, but twice I've had people give me money because they said that God told them to. I confess that the second time it happened, I looked down at my clothes to make sure I wasn't dressed in rags by mistake. 🙂  I didn't need the money, but it was an encouragement to me that God was using other people to step into my life and show me in a tangible way that He saw me. (Life was pretty overwhelming for awhile there.)

I would feel uncomfortable with a stranger wanting to pray with me, but I too, would give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they were following God's prompting and leave it at that. 

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I used to be a Christian from an evangelizing denomination, and now I am a nonbeliever. I would appreciate a stranger reaching out to me if I seemed upset and/or in need of support, but I would not appreciate it if it was religious in nature. Asking to pray for me says that the person doesn’t know how to be supportive other than through religion and would rather offend than learn otherwise. When you aren’t religious, bringing religion into things just makes the interaction all complicated and awkward. I know they almost always mean well, but I would still feel worse from the interaction, not better.

Also, it’s one thing for someone to ask if they can pray for me meaning at a time and place separate from me. That’s reasonably okay in my book assuming they aren’t asking details etc. They are trying to show their care for me without insisting I participate, too. It still makes me feel less supported than a non-religious interaction, but whatever. However, wanting me to participate isn’t okay and would irritate me with its Christian-normative presumption. Trying to clarify all that just, again, makes it awkward. Pray silently for strangers and those you know don’t share your beliefs, and if you want to reach out, reach out to them in warm, supportive, non-religious ways. 

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17 hours ago, Quill said:

I mean, not that it’s the worse thing that could happen to me randomly, but this is the second time in like four months. 

I was having a sandwich at Panera today, minding my own business, happy to be having a nice lunch by myself, when a lady approached me. She was nervous and giggly; I thought maybe she might ask where I get my hair done or something (there’s some precedent for that) but she finally giggled out that she is a Christian, it’s Holy Thursday, and could she pray for me about anthing. 

Nearly the same thing happened to me a few months ago, while I was at a McDonald’s, and having just come from checking on my MIL. In that case it was a man and he was less nervous; I thanked him but declined his offer. (I did also think, “Well, I am going through cancer and I just came from my injured MIL.” Nevertheless, I said no thanks.)

So this time, I said okay. She prayed for me and my kids and then gave me a nice little hand-crocheted prayer cloth. 

Like I say, I guess there are worse things, but honestly...I’m not a fan of this. I don’t even think of myself as an extremely approachable person; I don’t like people terribly much and I’m totally happy to be eating alone. So...why is this a thing? If you are a Christian, do you do this? (Please say no!) 

 

If we are already chatting, and I do chat w/ people I do not know- generally in lines (grocery, deli, etc  but I do not chat w/everone-very specific situations)  or in medical waiting rooms-  cause that is my life mostly--and someone offers to pray for me, I am gratified.  But the only people I have had approached me to pray have been people of certain religious backgrounds- like LDS, or JHW or some other very witnessing group.  

As a person who is going through very hard times due to my disabilities, I would be truly touched.  (totally depending on circumstances- but often my disabilites are totally obvious and I am dropping something or stumbling or ttrying to manoever using a cane and carrying my stuff)  I am a Christian.  But I am not on the ASD spectrum.  I am just ADHD and my dh, who I finally figured out through both genetic testing and the discussion here, is on the Spectrum.  He also doesn't like people terribly much and wants to be left alone depending on the day, may feel the way you do. 

Edited by TravelingChris
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I've asked someone if I could put their name on the temple prayer rolls after hearing about some great challenge in their life in normal conversation, but no, it would never occur to me to approach a random stranger in public and pray out loud for them right then and there.  That would make me uncomfortable, and it does feel like doing it to be seen of men rather than doing it to talk to God.  

I always try to take things in the way they are intended, though, and the one time I have had a stranger ask to pray for me I was sincerely touched by her loving concern.  It was a customer at my moving sale when my youngest was a baby and had some major health issues.  We got to talking about him, and she asked if she could pray for him.  I said yes, assuming she meant in private later.  I was so surprised when she took my hands and started praying for my son right then and there.  It was strange, but lovely.  She had a genuine love for her fellow man that extended to my little boy, and she wanted to ask a loving and powerful Father that she truly believed had the power to heal my son to do so.  There is nothing to offend in that.  It was beautiful.

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10 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

If we are already chatting, and I do chat w/ people I do not know- generally in lines (grocery, deli, etc  but I do not chat w/everone-very specific situations)  or in medical waiting rooms-  cause that is my life mostly--and someone offers to pray for me, I am gratified.  But the only people I have had approached me to pray have been people of certain religious backgrounds- like LDS, or JHW or some other very witnessing group.  

As a person who is going through very hard times due to my disabilities, I would be truly touched.  (totally depending on circumstances- but often my disabilites are totally obvious and I am dropping something or stumbling or ttrying to manoever using a cane and carrying my stuff)  I am a Christian.  But I am not on the ASD spectrum.  I am just ADHD and my dh, who I finally figured out through both genetic testing and the discussion here, is on the Spectrum.  He also doesn't like people terribly much and wants to be left alone depending on the day, may feel the way you do. 

This is not our practice at all.  Not saying we would refuse to pray for some one if asked, but not random strangers that we haven't established a relationship with.  

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Just now, Scarlett said:

This is not our practice at all.  Not saying we would refuse to pray for some one if asked, but not random strangers that we haven't established a relationship with.  

I know it isn't your general practice, because my cleaner is JW.   But I can't remember if they were asking to pray for me or what exactly but I was approached last year at Great Smokies National Park and I am trying not to be rude but this group was approaching people, and since I was having issues with walking, they approached me.  I was also having aphasia like I do when I am exhausted or in a flare, and couldn't respond well.

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A friend of mine was eating at a restaurant alone one day (some sort of fast food place, she was on the run.). A family came in and she felt a strong sense that God wanted her to pray for them.  She absolutely 100% did not want to do this and this wasn’t the sort of thing she was likely to do.

But after sitting there a little longer with the sense getting stronger and stronger, she went up to them and said, “Would you like me to pray for you?” They said yes and that they’d just left a doctor’s office after receiving a very serious diagnosis for one of the members of their party.  

I think it’s interesting that when you were in the middle of your cancer, that man came up to pray for you.  Are you sure that it wasn’t that God told him to do so?  I know that you can say, “Oh, it was just coincidence.”  I’ve been there (thinking that pretty much everything is coincidence), but after one coincidence too many, I came down on the side that most of those coincidences, weren’t.  

With that said, I personally would be extremely hesitant to pray for someone without having a conversation where it seemed the appropriate thing to do as a natural progression of the conversation.  

I think that the man who offered to pray for you during cancer was like my friend above; I think he was prompted to pray for you.

I think the woman during Holy Week was just told by her church to pray for people and you were alone and looked friendly/approachable, so she decided to try it out, probably without actual spiritual prompting.  I could be wrong, but that’s my take on it.

Edited by Garga
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I have no idea, but I did have someone offer to baptize my infant son in the supermarket.  And then, instead of waiting for my consent, she just went ahead and did it.  She claimed to be an Episcopal chaplain, and I have since confirmed this is true (small town).

So my Jewish son has been baptized.

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1 minute ago, EKS said:

I have no idea, but I did have someone offer to baptize my infant son in the supermarket.  And then, instead of waiting for my consent, she just went ahead and did it.  She claimed to be an Episcopal chaplain, and I have since confirmed this is true (small town).

So my Jewish son has been baptized.

That is so presumptuous. Wow.  

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16 minutes ago, EKS said:

I have no idea, but I did have someone offer to baptize my infant son in the supermarket.  And then, instead of waiting for my consent, she just went ahead and did it.  She claimed to be an Episcopal chaplain, and I have since confirmed this is true (small town).

So my Jewish son has been baptized.

 

Now that is truly offensive.  What gall.

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3 hours ago, Michelle Conde said:

 

Also not ours.  (I'm LDS).

 

Also LDS. Definitely not our practice to approach strangers and ask if we can pray for them, nor do our missionaries do this.  

There is a large church in my area that offers some kind of spiritual healing school and they seriously creep me out. Not only do they approach and ask if they can pray, they want to try to guess what’s going wrong in your life. “I’m sensing you have neck or shoulder pain; can I pray over you?”  I’ve been approached on a number of occasions and I turn them down. It makes me extremely uncomfortable. 

Edited by Forget-Me-Not
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49 minutes ago, EKS said:

I have no idea, but I did have someone offer to baptize my infant son in the supermarket.  And then, instead of waiting for my consent, she just went ahead and did it.  She claimed to be an Episcopal chaplain, and I have since confirmed this is true (small town).

So my Jewish son has been baptized.

That's terrible!  What on earth kind of good does she think she's doing by baptizing without consent!?!?

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I think I would mainly approach strangers and offer assistance or prayer if I saw that something was distressing them.  I've done that before and never had anyone seem offended, but I do live in the south. 

Our ds is in a group that goes to the Appalachian Trail every year. They grill food and give that out along with water, snacks. etc. They meet hikers, have conversations with them, and they do offer to pray with them, but the hikers would have to come over and agree to converse with the group for that to happen. 

 

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My daughter has had this happen numerous times.  Of importance is that she is missing a leg.  Of course, with her personality, she laughs it off to us and asks if they are praying that her leg will grow back???   It does really tick her off.  She does not want any pity and it has only happened with our family when she is included.  

 

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16 minutes ago, ZiMom said:

My daughter has had this happen numerous times.  Of importance is that she is missing a leg.  Of course, with her personality, she laughs it off to us and asks if they are praying that her leg will grow back???   It does really tick her off.  She does not want any pity and it has only happened with our family when she is included.  

 

That would really bug me too.

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I did pray for a stranger once.  I was staying in a motel with my close friends, and we were there to lead worship at a prayer retreat, which was being held at a nearby church.  Next to the church, was another church of a different denomination (both Christian).

I went down from our motel room to get ice from the ice machine, which was located outside at the bottom of the stairs.  As I descended the stairs, I had to walk to the side of the steps to avoid a young woman who was sitting on the steps, with her head on her knees. She was hugging her knees, her long, black hair was hanging down over her face, and she was just sobbing.  Well, I sort of snuck around her, not wanting to disturb her, but it turned out I needed my room keycard to operate the ice machine, so I needed to go back up to the room, get the card, and come back down.  As I was going up the stairs, I noticed that she was wearing a well-worn, leather WWJD* bracelet.  That got me thinking that maybe I could help her.  

I went up to the room and got my keycard (praying silently the whole way), then came back down, and she was still there, still with her head on her knees, but not sobbing.  I sat next to her (keeping several inches of space between us).  I told her softly that I was a Christian, and asked if she would like me to pray for her.  She nodded her head vigorously, so I prayed a general "Lord, I have no idea what has broken this young woman's heart, but you do.  Please surround her with your love and peace" kind of prayer.  She looked up, and I saw then that she was a teenager (turned out she was 16yo).  We talked for awhile, and I found out that she was also there for a prayer retreat (at the other church).  She had driven in a van for 18 hours with her youth group, to play music for the retreat, only to find out when they got there that there had been a mix-up and they weren't needed to play.  She was heartbroken from the news, and exhausted from the trip.  I told her that I was also there with my friends to lead worship music for our prayer retreat, and asked if she'd like to meet my friends.

Our two groups ended up sharing a wonderful weekend.  I'm so glad I prayed with her that day.  It's not something I normally do, but she was clearly distraught, and she was clearly a Christian, so it was the right thing to do. We made a long lasting connection with her (we're all still connected on Facebook).  

 

*In case you missed it, WWJD was a popular Christian campaign 15 or so years ago, and stood for the words "What Would Jesus Do?"

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In a very long, convoluted story, that I won't go into detail on, we had a guy come work at our church who was worse than this.  I called him out on it, and it was a very emotionally charged issue for quite some time.  That was 3 or 4 years ago.  He has now formally been dismissed from the church for exactly what I reported all those years ago.  But back then, I was stirring the pot, and the powers that be hadn't seen it with their own eyes.  SIGH.

They also were of the Bill Johnson Bethel Church type......google or watch some youtube Finger of God videos for all sorts of bat crap crazy stuff.

 

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3 hours ago, Garga said:

A friend of mine was eating at a restaurant alone one day (some sort of fast food place, she was on the run.). A family came in and she felt a strong sense that God wanted her to pray for them.  She absolutely 100% did not want to do this and this wasn’t the sort of thing she was likely to do.

But after sitting there a little longer with the sense getting stronger and stronger, she went up to them and said, “Would you like me to pray for you?” They said yes and that they’d just left a doctor’s office after receiving a very serious diagnosis for one of the members of their party.  

I think it’s interesting that when you were in the middle of your cancer, that man came up to pray for you.  Are you sure that it wasn’t that God told him to do so?  I know that you can say, “Oh, it was just coincidence.”  I’ve been there (thinking that pretty much everything is coincidence), but after one coincidence too many, I came down on the side that most of those coincidences, weren’t.  

With that said, I personally would be extremely hesitant to pray for someone without having a conversation where it seemed the appropriate thing to do as a natural progression of the conversation.  

I think that the man who offered to pray for you during cancer was like my friend above; I think he was prompted to pray for you.

I think the woman during Holy Week was just told by her church to pray for people and you were alone and looked friendly/approachable, so she decided to try it out, probably without actual spiritual prompting.  I could be wrong, but that’s my take on it.

I’m not sure at all, but I also think there are people who like to tell themselves that God told them this or God told them that. They think they are a special conduit for God. (Maybe they are, but I don’t really think this is a thing anymore, just as I don’t think Teresa Caputo truly communicates with people’s deceased relatives.) 

The thing is, if a spiritual person makes a habit of sitting at McDonald’s and asks people who are there alone if they want prayer, sooner or later he’s bound to ask someone who has cancer, or just went through a divorce or a death, or has a sick kid, or mom, or cousin, or who just lost their job. Most people have *something* going on that could be prayed-about. Even that particular McDs is close to the hospital, the cancer center and the nursing home, so odds are good *someone* is going to have recently come from one of those places. 

Anyway. Not trying to burst any bubbles, but I don’t think offering prayers to random strangers eating lunch is even all that nice/good-hearted a thing to do. It creates a forced intimacy. 

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3 hours ago, EKS said:

I have no idea, but I did have someone offer to baptize my infant son in the supermarket.  And then, instead of waiting for my consent, she just went ahead and did it.  She claimed to be an Episcopal chaplain, and I have since confirmed this is true (small town).

So my Jewish son has been baptized.

Please tell me you reported this!! 😡 on your behalf!!

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1 hour ago, Suzanne in ABQ said:

I did pray for a stranger once.  I was staying in a motel with my close friends, and we were there to lead worship at a prayer retreat, which was being held at a nearby church.  Next to the church, was another church of a different denomination (both Christian).

I went down from our motel room to get ice from the ice machine, which was located outside at the bottom of the stairs.  As I descended the stairs, I had to walk to the side of the steps to avoid a young woman who was sitting on the steps, with her head on her knees. She was hugging her knees, her long, black hair was hanging down over her face, and she was just sobbing.  Well, I sort of snuck around her, not wanting to disturb her, but it turned out I needed my room keycard to operate the ice machine, so I needed to go back up to the room, get the card, and come back down.  As I was going up the stairs, I noticed that she was wearing a well-worn, leather WWJD* bracelet.  That got me thinking that maybe I could help her.  

I went up to the room and got my keycard (praying silently the whole way), then came back down, and she was still there, still with her head on her knees, but not sobbing.  I sat next to her (keeping several inches of space between us).  I told her softly that I was a Christian, and asked if she would like me to pray for her.  She nodded her head vigorously, so I prayed a general "Lord, I have no idea what has broken this young woman's heart, but you do.  Please surround her with your love and peace" kind of prayer.  She looked up, and I saw then that she was a teenager (turned out she was 16yo).  We talked for awhile, and I found out that she was also there for a prayer retreat (at the other church).  She had driven in a van for 18 hours with her youth group, to play music for the retreat, only to find out when they got there that there had been a mix-up and they weren't needed to play.  She was heartbroken from the news, and exhausted from the trip.  I told her that I was also there with my friends to lead worship music for our prayer retreat, and asked if she'd like to meet my friends.

Our two groups ended up sharing a wonderful weekend.  I'm so glad I prayed with her that day.  It's not something I normally do, but she was clearly distraught, and she was clearly a Christian, so it was the right thing to do. We made a long lasting connection with her (we're all still connected on Facebook).  

 

*In case you missed it, WWJD was a popular Christian campaign 15 or so years ago, and stood for the words "What Would Jesus Do?"

This is very different IMO. 

There have been two instances when I witnessed a stranger who was very visibly upset in a public place. I wanted to go up to them and ask if I could help, or listen or give them a hug - anything that might help (though not pray because I don’t do that). In neither case did I do so. In one instance, the young lady, who was probably around 15-16yo, was on her phone. So I didn’t want to intrude. In the other instance, a young woman, maybe early twenties, was bawling, but someone who was apparently a friend was walking towards her and hugged her tightly. So, again, I figured my help was extraneous. 

But I do understand the impulse to want to help someone in distress. I’m glad you were observant enough to spot the bracelet, which made it much more likely you were on the same page. 

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2 minutes ago, Quill said:

I’m not sure at all, but I also think there are people who like to tell themselves that God told them this or God told them that. They think they are a special conduit for God. (Maybe they are, but I don’t really think this is a thing anymore, just as I don’t think Teresa Caputo truly communicates with people’s deceased relatives.) 

The thing is, if a spiritual person makes a habit of sitting at McDonald’s and asks people who are there alone if they want prayer, sooner or later he’s bound to ask someone who has cancer, or just went through a divorce or a death, or has a sick kid, or mom, or cousin, or who just lost their job. Most people have *something* going on that could be prayed-about. Even that particular McDs is close to the hospital, the cancer center and the nursing home, so odds are good *someone* is going to have recently come from one of those places. 

Anyway. Not trying to burst any bubbles, but I don’t think offering prayers to random strangers eating lunch is even all that nice/good-hearted a thing to do. It creates a forced intimacy. 

Oh, I get it.  I know what you’re saying. I guess my answer was colored by my friend who has never before or since felt the need to pray for people out of the blue and the one time she did, they were at a low point and welcomed her prayer.  I made the assumption that McDonald’s guy was a situation like that.  But if McDonald’s guy makes a habit of praying for anyone alone at McD’s then that’s another story.  You may very well be right that he does that with anyone who walks in the door.  That’s why I think the lady praying for you during Holy Week was just doing it because she felt obligated to do so because of what someone else told her to do.  

 

 

 

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Just now, Garga said:

Oh, I get it.  I know what you’re saying. I guess my answer was colored by my friend who has never before or since felt the need to pray for people out of the blue and the one time she did, they were at a low point and welcomed her prayer.  I made the assumption that McDonald’s guy was a situation like that.  But if McDonald’s guy makes a habit of praying for anyone alone at McD’s then that’s another story.  You may very well be right that he does that with anyone who walks in the door.  That’s why I think the lady praying for you during Holy Week was just doing it because she felt obligated to do so because of what someone else told her to do.  

 

 

 

Yes, I would say that very likely for the lady, since she had the little prayer cloth with her, so she was “stocked up”, if you will. She was prepared to go forth and pray for anti-social moms who just want to eat a sandwich alone for a change, lol. 

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7 hours ago, scholastica said:

Please tell me you reported this!! 😡 on your behalf!!

Can you do that?  It never occurred to me.  My son is 17 now, and the person in question is not working anymore (elderly and totally disabled).

Edited by EKS
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21 minutes ago, EKS said:

Can you do that?  It never occurred to me.  My son is 17 now, and the person in question is not working anymore (elderly and totally disabled).

 

Yes, especially with a denomination as large as Episcopalian. Small independent churches may have no one over the pastor at all.

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What are the three biggest churches within 10 miles of the places you've been when this happened?  10:1 if you check their online sermons in the days prior to when this happened you'll find they issued a challenge to do something like this.

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I have never personally had this happen, at least not with strangers.  My DH's sister's ILs are people who pray a lot, and virtually every time we see them, they want to pray with us.  It gets really uncomfortable.

 

DD23 is dating a guy from another culture.  Actually, interestingly, he is immigrating to the US from a completely different Asian country, however, his family practices a religion normally considered very western (Roman Catholic.)  DD was talking to me the other day about some of the cultural challenges they have dealt with (language, his family's racism, racism he has experienced on his college campus, etc) and one thing she said he was really surprised about was how many people he has encountered that want to convert him to their religion.  From his college campus, to the full time job he has now, apparently he has experienced a lot of this sort of thing.   I will say, the areas he has been in both in college and his full time job are not very Catholic friendly.  Though, his ethnicity is evident and people who tend to operate on stereotypes wouldn't assume he was Catholic at all.  But yes, he has mentioned to DD how many people seem to want to pray with him or for him.  

 

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13 hours ago, EKS said:

I have no idea, but I did have someone offer to baptize my infant son in the supermarket.  And then, instead of waiting for my consent, she just went ahead and did it.  She claimed to be an Episcopal chaplain, and I have since confirmed this is true (small town).

So my Jewish son has been baptized.

That is so strange, especially by an Episcopal.  It wasn't a Methodist Espicopal by any chance?  Because AME and other Methodist Episcopal pastors and chaplains are usually much more expressive and evangelic motivation than Episcopalian, who are the American equivalent of Church of England.  

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