It’s not loving to pray for someone you disagree with in order to change their beliefs. I appreciate the positive intention people have when they offer to pray for me. But “I will pray for you” is sort of like giving someone the middle finger. What if I said, “I am sending atheist literature to your mailbox until you change or die?” Would you take that as a kindness? This kind of prayer is condescending, not loving. It means, “I’m know I’m right and you’re wrong. You’re going to hell so I’m trying to change you.” I judge your belief and you need to change. That’s really what you’re saying when you pray for someone to repent and be saved. Or saying with a Christian smile, “I’m so sad to see how you’ve changed, you’re not the same person,” making the assumption this change is negative. This is shaming. These kinds of prayers prevent us from truly listening, from relationship, or perhaps even learning something. I understand that as long as people are driven by fear of hell, they will try to change people who don’t believe as they do through conversion and think this is a loving service. If we took divine judgment out of the equation for a moment, perhaps we could listen and learn.

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