Remix – #53. Saying "I'll pray for you" and then not.

Sometimes, saying “I’ll pray for you” is just the Christian equivalent of ending a date by saying “I’ll give you a call.” It shouldn’t be, in a dating situation you usually tell the person you’ll give them a call because you’re all out of words and the night needs some sort of punctuation. You know deep down you will not be giving that person a call, but they are just standing there, and they weren’t a horrible date, just not the right person for you.

So you’re faced with two choices – either you throw your house keys and hope that the moonlight reflecting off the key chain blinds them and the sound distracts them allowing you to escape inside or you tell them, “I’ll give you a call.” And since you need your keys for getting in the house, that option isn’t great, unless you carry a spare set of “bad date keys” but then you have to wonder, how many bad dates are you going on that you had a special set of keys made just to throw?

Instead you say, “‘I’ll give you a call” because it’s easier that way. Or maybe we mean it at the time. Maybe we intend to call that person, but life gets busy and we just forget. I think that’s similar to what happens when we say “I’ll pray for you.”

Right now I have about a 17% success rate when it comes to actually following through on my “I’ll pray for you” statements. I know that’s horrible, but it’s a ten year average and from 1996 – 2004 I was batting about 0%. I’ve done better these last two years to pull up my average but you know what they say about prayer statistics, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” (I think there was an analogy traffic jam in that paragraph, whoa.)

But what if there was a better way? What if instead of saying “I’ll pray for you” and then not, we could all do something else? What if we learned five new ways to end a Christian conversation without saying, “I’ll pray for you?” I think we should.

Five new things to say instead of “I’ll pray for you.”

1. “Here, have some pocket candy.”
Conversations, much like Saturday Night Live skits, are often difficult to end. What started out funny and enjoyable just kind of slowly deteriorates until you’re both standing there saying, “so yeah, that’s what’s going on.” I think it might be nice, when you sense that a conversation has lost its momentum and it’s time to move on, if you offered the person you’re talking with some pocket candy. Instead of saying, “I’ll pray for you,” you could say, “I need to go now, but I’d like to leave you with these hard candies. Here, have some pocket candy.” Everyone loves candy, and even if they don’t, they’ll be too stunned to really say anything as you fill their hands with delicious treats instead of an empty promise to pray for them.

2. “Razzle Dazzle, Razzle Dazzle.”
This one makes no sense and that’s kind of the point. It’s just really fun to say, and at the bare minimum, it will be awkwardly funny. Just imagine if your friend says, “so anyway, that’s what’s going on, not much else, whatever” and you reply, “Razzle Dazzle man, Razzle Dazzle.” (Bonus points if you combine this one with #1 and actually give your friend a handful of Razzles, the candy that turns into a gum. Remember that stuff? It somehow managed to suck as both a gum and a candy. Phenomenal.)

3. “I’m sorry, I can’t multiply the funk.”
Occasionally, a friend will ask you to pray for something that you completely disagree with. They’re in a funk right now and if what they’re praying for came true, the funk would be multiplied. Maybe they’re in a horrible relationship and they’re praying they’ll get married or they’re trying to quit their 47th job that year and when they ask you to pray for a new one you can’t do anything but shot block it. You don’t want to, it won’t feel loving at the time, but you don’t want to multiply the funk by praying for something you adamantly feel like God is clearly against. So be upfront and work in a little George Clinton/Prince type language to soften the blow.

4. “That’s interesting.”
If you’ve ever worked in a corporation, you’ve heard this phrase. This term is so large and undefined that when someone shows you an idea at work you can say “that’s interesting” and it can mean everything from, “I like that idea, I think we should turn it into a project” to “that is the worst idea I have ever heard in my life.” Try it today, you can use it in almost any situation. Someone spills a coke in your computer keyboard, “that’s interesting, the vowels don’t work anymore.” Someone offers to give you a raise and an office with a door, “that’s interesting, I would like a promotion.” It’s great for work and is a pretty handy “I’ll pray for you” replacement. Not because it’s a dishonest phrase but because it buys you time to gather your thoughts and reflect on the conversation instead of just throwing out an instant “I’ll pray for you.”

5. “Let’s pray right now.”
Rock the PRT, Prayer Right There, if you really want to pray. Don’t let the push and pace of life swallow the request. Even if you write a prayer request down, you might lose that piece of paper or have your wife throw it away because she thought it was trash even though it also had a great book idea on it. Hypothetically speaking of course. So just pray. Or if that feels weird, pray while you walk away or drive away or Ruckus away, if you are so lucky to own a Honda Ruckus scooter. (I love that word, “ruckus.” That’s what I want to do with God, create a ruckus and the idea of creating a ruckus while at the same time riding a scooter named Ruckus makes my head spin.)

If we ever have the chance to hang out and we find that our conversation starts drawing to a close, and neither of us knows what to say, I hope you’ll say, “Razzle Dazzle” and hand me some Razzles. Because even though it’s a sucky candy and then a sucky gum, it’s still free candy, and hey, I like free candy a lot more than fake “I’ll pray for you” shout outs.

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Comments

  1. bub says

    “Razzle Dazzle man, razzle dazzle!” I almost spit out my coke when I read that. I’ve really gotten good at doing the PRN thing because I always feel bad when I say I’ll pray for you then I don’t. Even if it’s just a quick “God bless Stuff Christians Like and Jon Acuff” I think it still counts, right? Right? Ummm… here’s a Bit O’ Honey, I gotta go!

  2. L.C.T. says

    That actually made me laugh out loud. The thought of lots of Christians now ending conversations with “Razzle Dazzle” and “Sorry dude I can’t multiply that funk” is just hilarious. You’ll start a revolution here…!

  3. momonthejourney says

    Great. Now I’ve got “Give Up the Funk” stuck in my head for the day.

    Awesomely funny post. I think I’m gonna sign all my emails with one of those today.

    Razzle Dazzle, Dude. Razzle Dazzle

    Steph

  4. Tina says

    (Bonus points if you combine this one with #1 and actually give your friend a handful of Razzles, the candy that turns into a gum. Remember that stuff? It somehow managed to suck as both a gum and a candy. Phenomenal.)

    This acutally made me cry laughing this morning while I tried not to wake anyone.

    Love it Jon.

  5. Anonymous says

    Love it man! I have always made a conscience effort to pray right then…either aloud with the person, or as I walk away, or hang up the phone. When someone says they will pray for me…sometimes i think I should just say “oh, ok, thanks…you start, I’ll finish” just to see the expression on their face :-) Razzle Dazzle, “B”

  6. heartafire says

    How hilarious.

    I do have a friend who weill sometimes email me and will say “I just prayed for you” or “I just prayed for your family,” and I have adopted this. I don’t tell someone I will pray for them. I tell them (if at all) after the fact.
    Because you’re soooooo right. If people’s recovery or healing or promotion or salvation depended on my prayers, there’d be a lot of people gettin’ on board the Hell Express.
    RD, baby, and thanks for the great post.

  7. Aussiegirl says

    Yeah, I dunno.
    For some reason I feel guilty whenever I tell someone I’ll pray for them and then do it straightaway.
    The Voice of Holiness pipes up and says “Aw, c’mon, if you really cared about them, you’d think about them through the week, not just pray and then FORGET ABOUT THEM. Pathetic. Now, SuperChristian, she has a rotating prayer list. Pictures and everything.”

  8. Andrea says

    i heard of this one guy who said that he’d pray for this lady everyday when he got in the shower so he wouldn’t forget. after awhile, he would dread getting in the shower every day. not fun.

  9. Helen says

    I like number 5 the best. I usually realize right after I say it that I will probably forget, so I then pray right after we part company, figuring if I do forget later, I have kept the original promise. Offering to pray together does seem much more genuine and even comforting. Good post!

  10. Michael says

    Has it really resorted to this? Is this what we’ve come to? Why can’t we just fake page ourselves like we used to be able to? It’d be even better if the only word on the pager was “God.” Then we could show them and tell them it must be time to pray for them right then. Granted you’d have to walk away pretty quickly after showing them this because they might catch on that something isn’t quite right.

    Michael
    http://acriticalspirit.blogspot.com

  11. JoshAtkins says

    I just subscribed a little bit ago and I find myself saying “it’s so true…we’re so lame” to each post (in a “spur each other on to good deeds” kinda way). A couple conversation enders that have worked for me are: “Dinkin Flicka” (the office), “Well…”, and my personal favorite as a middle school pastor, “So, you want to lead a small group?”

  12. Francois says

    From now on I will say “Razzle Dazzle my man, Razzle Dazzle” after each of your posts. That will emphasise the finality of me having finished reading it and I won`t find myself reading it over and over again.

    On second thought, I`ll say “Razzle Dazzle my man, Razzle Dazzle” when I am 100% sure that I`ve read it enough times to last me until the next post.

    Yes, that`s what I`ll do.

  13. Elizabeth says

    I always pray for someone shortly after they ask and/or the minute I think they need it. Otherwise, yes, I can forget.

    Razzles killed the budding optimist in me. I always thought, this will be the time they come through for me, they will not melt into some sort of gluey notgum. Sigh. Then I switched to Warheads. Suited my personality better.

    Oh, and, er, I’m totally looking for a new job right now. But I’ve been at this one for over a year! That’s acceptable, right????

  14. Stacy from Louisville says

    I like to keep it real. That’s why I like to end most conversations with:

    “Wow. That sounds like a real train wreck. Your life must really suck. I hate that for you.”

    Then I pat them on the back twice and walk away. That’s right, just walk away.

    People like me.

  15. daphne says

    last year I got conned into sitting with my middle child’s kindergarten class for a few hours. Now, when you have a middle child like mine, it can mess with you because she is so sweet and kind and good and awesome. All the other kids in her class seemed like monsters after living with a middle child like mine.

    So the teach comes back and I hand her money (teachers do not get paid enough for what they do) and said from now on I will just write her checks because I can not do that again. I told her I wanted to cuss at them even.

    She was like of course you want to and told me she came up with something to say when nothing else seemed appropriate.
    THAT’S RIDICULOUS!!
    It can be ridiculously good, ridiculously bad, or a replacement cuss word. And it is hip! Teachers should get paid more.

  16. LeLe says

    This is an awesome post and I’ve had to adopt the PRT mentality into my life in the last few years b/c I’m so horrible about NOT praying for people when I say I will.
    RD, RD

  17. cmb says

    This morning after my kids got on the bus I came in and had some quiet time with God. After I was done my head was flooded with people I hadn’t prayed for and my first thought was “oh no! I could spend the entire day here just praying!” How horrible is that!!!! But I get swept up in feeling like I have to pray for everyone so I’m gonna go with this…a blanket prayer that says be with them lord and then buy a boat load of razzle dazzle!!

    You Rock!

  18. Linda says

    Whelp, that post was interesting.
    Unlike SNL skits, you are funny funny to the end! They maybe should contact you for some writing help! Great post! I’ll be praying for an awesome next one…seriously dude! Praying for funny, that’s noble, right!?!

  19. Meggers says

    So I have a problem with certain people always asking me, “how are you…can I do anything for you?” and since the first thing that comes to mind is “I need 400 for rent this month…and my car needs to be cleaned” which obviously would leave people stunned and confused, so I throw out an “Oh,you can just pray for me.” And I always feel fake, like I don’t really care if they pray for me (I’m such a heathen…) and I much rather have a tank full of gas, but I feel like that’s what they want me to say. So maybe hurling a “Razzle Dazzle” at them would work, but then again, maybe I should just honestly say “I’ve really been needing a worship eagle….”

    • Olivia says

      This is interesting to me, because I don't usually ask people if I can do anything for them, but I do often ask people if I can pray about anything for them. I know I probably can't give them the money they need for the bill that's about to be overdue, or find a solution to where their elderly parent who can't live alone but doesn't want to go to the nursing home should stay, or even pick their kid up from school tomorrow to go to the doctor's appointment. But I can pray for them. And the God that I pray to can take care of all of those things. :)

  20. Milan Ford says

    Here's some softener to use for #3:

    Good evening. Do not attempt to adjust your radio, there is nothing wrong. We have taken control as to bring you this special show.
    We will return it to you as soon as you are grooving…

    …make my funk the p.funk, i want my funk uncut.

    Love this post Jon.
    So would Clinton & The Parliament.

  21. Ben says

    As someone going through a situation with my son’s health that ends most of my conversations with “I’ll pray for you” or “you’re in my prayers”or even the occasional “we’ll be thinking about you” (an interesting thing to say… I think that’s bad time management. Just think about whatever you are doing. I think about his health enough for both of us.), I am supremely encouraged by this post.

    I would, however be happy for about a 17% success rate, because that would mean an overall increase in people praying for me of about 1700% Before it was just me. Now there’s me and a third of all the people I talk to.

    For more on how you can pray, check out benandjacq.tumblr.com

  22. Steve says

    I never want to meet you, because that would be dangerous.

    All good but #4. Saying, “That’s interesting” is inviting a discussion – or it always did when I tried it. People wanted to turn it into a project and I wanted to get to the men’s room. Possibly to throw up.

    “Fascinating” is even worse, because then you get a bunch of Trekkies horning in on the conversation. Come to think of it, maybe they’d start talking and you’d be able to slip away.

  23. Eric P. says

    Then of course there’s the “I’ll pray for you” that people often conclude discussions with in street evangelism situations.

    It roughly translates to “Well, I think we’ve established that you’re so completely set in your ignorant anti-God opinions that nothing I can say will be any use at all, so only prayer will have any effect on you, you arrogant close-minded reprobate.”

    From now on, I’m going to replace this with “Have some candy.” Or, if I’m feeling mean, “Have some Nerds and suckers, since you are what you eat.”

    Razzle dazzle, man! A new classic!

  24. andrea says

    at one time i had a calendar and whenever i said i would pray for someone, i would put their name on one box on the calendar. then i had one person per day to pray for. it worked.

  25. Anonymous says

    I have always enjoyed the posts on this site and the comment section…but I have to say ..I cringe to think that we’re taking something as important as praying for others and making it funny…people’s lives are a mess…health problems, finances, spiritual struggles..grief…

    I just can’t seem to find it in my heart to find any of this funny…because prayer is such a truly needed thing and something I believe is very sacred…just not sure how the comedy fits in this time…

    perhaps being very ill right now myself has changed my outlook…

    I certainly don’t mean to come across as critical…I guess I’m just pointing out that when you’re standing there in dire need of prayer and all your hopes are based on prayer….it makes you appreciate the seriousness of it….

    I just hope none of us lose sight of that truth while reflecting on things like this

    • Alexis says

      I just prayed for you, whoever you are. According to proverbs: "a joyful heart is good medicine." I hope you find your laughter again.

  26. bignateym says

    I started doing the pray right now because i realized I did not pray later. And I am a minister so that is just not right. So if i say i’ll pray for you, I do it immediately

  27. Robbie Iobst says

    I keep a list. Yep. An ole time prayer list like a grandma. And it works. Because I take praying each morning very seriously, I just don’t say “I’ll pray for you” unless I mean it. As I walk away I pray for them immediately and then I ask God to help me remember to put them on the list.
    What bugs me is when someone says to me “I’ll pray for you.” I always want to say, “Really? I mean really? Do you mean that or are you just being Christian? Huh? Tell me.” Sounds a bit defensive so I don’t. Maybe the next time someone tells me they’ll pray for me, I’ll say okay, I’ll mutiply the funk!
    I just read your blog for the first time today, by the way and LOVE IT!

  28. Warren says

    For some reason I take “I’ll pray for you” pretty serious. I don’t usually say it because I am a very forgetful person and will probably not follow through. I will say “I’ll be thinking about you, etc” instead which usually is true. What is even worse is someone asking for me to pray for them. Now that is responsibility.

  29. Marni says

    “Razzle Dazzle man”..Oh my heck I’m almost wet myself on that one. Incidentally it makes me want to go home and watch Chicago, but I digress…

    I’m trying so hard to become the PRT person and my average is s-l-o-w-l-y going up. But having read this post, I gotta say my new goal is to also get gutsy enough to be a “can’t multiply the funk” person when I get prayer requests than I can’t fathom really praying about.

    Great post! I may have to go send you some flair for this one ;-)

  30. KJ says

    “That’s interesting” reminds me of my short time on the road. My mentor gave me a great phrase whenever someone approached me and asked, “Remember me?” He would always say, “Well, I should.” mainly because it meant “No.” but sounded nicer.

    Razzle Dazzle, man. Keep up the great work!

  31. J-Ra says

    I, too, suffer from giving EPPs (empty prayer promises). I thought I was alone in this. I’ll even sometimes hear/read a prayer request and think, “I have to remember to pray for this later,” and another voice says, “Um, how ’bout now?”

    Anyway, I think I’m gonna try the Razzle Dazzle or pocket candy, depending on if I have pocket candy. B/c if I said, “Have some pocket candy,” and didn’t deliever, that may be worse than the EPP itself.

  32. Helen says

    I hope it is okay if I respond to Anonymous at 7:58. My grandma used to love an old timey song that went “Don’t sweetheart me if you don’t mean it, don’t talk sweet words if they’re not true”. I think that is the point Jon is making in his post today. We shouldn’t say “I’ll pray for you” because it fits the conversation, or is expected because the person knows we are Christian. If we need conversation fillers, he provided them (and yes, they are funny, we wouldn’t tune in just to be criticized, we want to be criticized with love and humor).
    That is what makes number five so great. We pray immediately, and bring God into the conversation. We get to present God to the other person, and let them see Him in the situation, and we actually pray instead of promising to pray. If the other person is already Christian and praying for the situation, they can feel the support immediately.
    BTW, I did say a prayer for you that God would give you strength to handle your burdens. You may be anonymous to me, but yo are not to Him.

  33. another lisa says

    helen, thanks for replying to anon @ 7:58. i was praying for them hurting, and your reply sounds as if you were, too.
    compassionate folks can still enjoy humor, and grief/ pain/trials are sometimes so all-encompassing, that humor is the only way to catch your breath.
    anon, i have been in the throes of a pain-causing situation that can’t be fixed or ameliorated; this must be felt and dealt with, mainly by the passage of time. my specifics will never get better, that is a sad fact.
    but you know what? i DID get better. prayer and patience and faith and humor and anger and why me? and grief; the lord can handle them all and isn’t mad @ me when i’m raw.
    pls hold on to the fact of His love, and embrace the love of the SCL community too. some days i felt as if i couldn’t function; yet here i am, still sane and able to laugh along with all of us in the scl family. please know many, many take prayer seriously, and that you are being immersed in it. and that as helen said, jon is giving us ways to revere prayer and all it represents, while laughing at ourselves when we get lazy with conversational filler.

    ps – jon, “razzle dazzle” made me think of the old bill murray movie “stripes”. you pagan! i know that’s what you were thinking of, not the questionable candy :)

  34. Prodigal Jon says

    I love that Ben, Anon @ 7:58, Helen, Another Lisa, and everyone else that commented on this post can mix it up together in such a beautiful, funny, compassionate, honest, sarcastic way. The comments on this site keep me in awe at how God can use something as small as a blog to make something as big as a community. Sorry to get all “side huggy” on you but I’ve been working on my speech for a conference coming up and I’ve been reminded over and over again how the reason this site works even a little bit is the conversations and ideas you each bring to the table.

    Razzle Dazzle,

    Jon

  35. Kristie says

    Here’s another option: the next time you are tempted to say “I’ll pray for you” pretend your lips are gorilla glued shut. Then try really hard to remember to pray for them. Finally, once in a blue moon, when the moment is just right, tell that person how you prayed for them about that very issue. They’ll be both razzled and dazzled.

  36. Jacob and Andi says

    I used to be a EPP, but now I’m a hard fore PRT. It catches people off guard, like – really, you are gonna pray here in the middle of the skating rink? And I’m all like- it’s on like donkey kong.

    Though I may use the razzle dazzle and the can’t spread the funk. Both excellent.

  37. Just A Girl says

    Jon,
    Just started reading your blog and it is laugh-out-loud funny. I’ve recommended it to almost everyone I know. You even got a link on my blog. I feel like you’ve been following me around my whole life. I have never heard anyone make such keen, dead-on observations of the Christian life. As I’m a recovering Pharisee, this blog has been great therapy to me. I’ve always called myself a “Pharisee With A Heart”. I like that you reveal the good intentions of Christians that the world calls evil. Christians do the cheesiest things, but we’re just trying to get it right. Thanks for helping me check my pride at the door.

  38. Karin says

    Hmmm…I think I would prefer #5 to razzles…especially if they are as crappy as you say. To have a friend who cares enough about you to stop what they are doing and pray for you at that moment…now that’s awesome! I wish I had more friends like that…and I hope to be more of that kind of friend to others.

  39. Donna says

    thanks, another lisa, i know have bill murray saying, “Razzle Dazzle” in my head…..over and over and over…….it is, of course, replacing bill murray saying, “It just doesn’t matter; it just doesn’t matter..” from the rerun of Meatballs the other day…….

  40. Nick the Geek says

    If you have kids you could pull a modified Blue Clue’s reference with a “Skittle Skadoo” and toss skittles at them as you make your exit.

    Of course if you have kids like mine that is the conversation exit. “Hey get off … Sorry I gotta go take care of this … stop biting your sister!”

  41. Nick the Geek says

    Oh, and this one I thought of but forgot until the exact moment I hit submit.

    Do what Monty Python did when they couldn’t work out the ending to a skit. Just send in the police. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense have them on speed dial so you can call for the cavalry without making it so obvious.

  42. Anonymous says

    So, my dad is a preacher and after someone joins the church or makes any kind of decision, he will ask the church, “if you pledge to pray for these people and their decisions raise your right hand and say amen.” so what do i do??
    Raise my left and and shout Hallelujah… i know i am horrible! But i feel so bad if i don’t pray for them so i am going to use the PRT way from now on and of course the Razzle Dazzle method! Hilarious!

    PK from OK

  43. April says

    I’ve been conscious of this ever since I read the original “I’ll pray for you” post. Now I have to stop myself from saying it because I know I probably won’t.

    Instead, like heartafire, I let people know AFTER I have prayed for them. I know it has meant a lot to some of my friends who have gone through tough times. That way, I don’t have to lie and feel like a horrible person.

    Great post, by the way!

  44. cosmiccowgirl says

    This is sooo true! I am going to try to change from being an EPP to a PRT kind of person. I always have good intentions but then I forget…and I can’t imagine I will ever have pocket candy handy…great post!

  45. A's Rich Life says

    hey there – i was just tuned in to your blog.

    that was stinkin' funny!

    it reminds me of a story i once heard about old fashioned fire & brimstone preacher. he used to say "PRAISE THE LORD" at random to what ever conversation he was having…can u see where this is going? … anyways, during one conversation, a missionary (or some one else quite important, i don't remember) had made the comment about the rate of immorality in this generation. he said, "…people are dying and going to hell."

    to which the old pastor followed with "praise the Lord".

    (true story) ;)

  46. Lark says

    “I hear you say your heart is aching
    You’ve got trouble in the making
    And you ask if I’ll be praying for you please
    And in keeping with conviction
    I’ll say yes with good intentions
    To pray later making mention of your needs…”

    “..Let us pray, let us pray, everywhere in every way
    Every moment of the day it is the right time.
    For the Father above he is listening with love and he wants to answer us oh let us pray.”

    -Let us pray
    Steven Curtis Chapman

    Let’s rock the RPT, I even do it over the phone with friends, which feels kinda silly at first…praying with a phone in your hand. Gives new meaning to the ‘I’ll dial’ thought to opening prayer.

    Thanks for the remix!

  47. Faerylandmom says

    I’m a huge fan of #5. And. I can’t think of anything else interesting to say. Except, you might like to know that I totally cracked up several times at this post.

    Razzle Dazzle! (Since I don’t have Razzles, can I just throw Skittles at you and run away?)

  48. heartafire says

    Heavenly Father,
    We come before you in awe at your majesty, your power, the amazing grace you pour out on all of us– undeserved and underappreciated every single day.
    We are not worthy to gather up the crumbs under Your table, yet you see to fit to bless us with the bread of life living water every time we hunger or thirst.
    Right this minute I lift up to you all of the people reading this post at this moment, and ask that you “give them power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that [they] may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph.3:17-19)
    Thank you Lord, for hearing the prayers of the lowliest of Your servants, and I especially lift up my brother (sister?) who posted here at 7:58, as well as Ben’s son. Heal them, Great Physician, with Your grace and power. We thank You, knowing that what is impossible for man, is more than possible with you.
    Lord, I give you so much thanks and praise for the creation and preservation of Jon Acuff—what joy he promulgates on his website. I thank you that he is so truly Yours, and that you’ve gifted him so prodigiously and allowed him to generously share his remarkable gifts with us.
    In Jesus name, I pray all of these things. Amen

    I wanted to add a PS about “Thanks-but-no-thanks for the invention of Razzles which are neither a candy nor a gum, but I did not wish to disturb the solemnity of the prayer just for a cheap laugh.

  49. David says

    My friend, Connie, and I have decided to implement “Razzle Dazzle” in our conversations starting . . . TOMORROW. It will be so awesome. =D

    Thanks for the idea, Jon!

  50. kablot spot says

    Hey! I abso-freaking LOVE your blog! I have read back about three months of it and have yet to be offended by your sarcasm/ truth. Having served as a church janitor, youth leader/pastor, worship leader and encountered many of the phenoms you write about– I just LOVE your blog. I also share a similar twisted viewpoint that has led to many “one-laughers” (me only, laughing at my own jokes) and a little well-deserved isolation in more serious settings. Seeing as I have not read your entire site, it is probably premature to make suggestions for topics. But I’m going to anyway.

    * Tamborines and Shofars and their contribution to a quality worship experience. (Ever tried to lead worship with a moose yelling in your face or a drummer that is hypnotized by that lady in the back row “shaking it”)
    * The Essential Items Protection Program- the place to which much needed items in a church disappear.
    * Worship banners
    *Do you remember “88 reasons why Jesus will come back in ’88″? You haven’t lived till you’ve told your mom good-bye before school on the day of Judgment by the Almighty.

    Just a few thoughts… You’ll hear from me again.

  51. SARS says

    One of our youth group leaders was getting into a long passionate speech and ignoring other leader’s ‘wrap up’ signals. Suddenly, at the end of a sentence, he said ” So, anyone want some snacks?”
    There was stunned silence after which we applauded him. He looked slightly sheepish :)

  52. sally says

    Ideas for posts: yeah,I think kablot spot’s ideas would be good especially worship banners and shofars. Another one I’ve been thinking of is “trying to think of ice-breakers for cell groups”. When I was a new Christian I was always given the job of thinking of ice breakers as it was supposed to be easy (compared with organising worship or other more meaty tasks). All I could do was think of really inappropriate ones which I could never say because the others in the group were so serious. Things like: “What do you like least about this (host’s) room?”; “If you had to ask one person to leave the cell group who would it be and why?” and “What would you like to be when you get reincarnated?”.

  53. Anonymous says

    I just want to tell everyone and anyone who prayed for me yesterday…a sincere, heartfelt thank you..from the bottom of my heart…

    If you couldn’t tell..my heart was burdened with my situation yesterday when I posted and I should have chosen a better time to post…so I offer an apology to all of you for coming across as critical of the topic …and I apologize for putting a damper on the humor and lightness of the situation

    I really do enjoy the site and the comments…and I am very humbled and thankful for the prayers you offered up for me so please forgive me my moment of self pity

  54. Anonymous says

    I noticed this phenomenon recently and decided I wouldn’t tell someone I’d pray for them unless I actually would. Not that I ever intended not to pray for someone, but it’s easy to forget. So now, I pray right then and there (usually silently) and then tell someone I prayed for them. I admit that sometimes this means I don’t pray and I find something else to day.

    I tend not to want to pray aloud, ’cause my best friends are likely to laugh and others think I’m making fun of it. Never did learn how to make a prayer sound all spiritual and serious. Or long. Comes out more like, “God, please heal this person. Give them peace, show them your love, although I know you don’t stop showing it so, yeah, you get the idea. Uh, I think that’s all, thanks.”

    PH (’cause signing off with P seemed weird, and now people can wonder what my comment has to do with acidity)

  55. Stephanie says

    This is something that has been brought up a zillion times in small groups. A seriously cool solution: offer to pray for them right then and there. Instead of “I’ll pray for you,” ask “Can I pray for you right now?” and pray for them right then. It works like a charm :D

  56. SarahHub says

    I used to work for a great woman who did the “pray right now” thing. I was always so struck by how caring she was.

  57. Runnerish says

    Haha, we had a youth pastor that preached on not saying “I’ll pray for you” and then not. So we tried to only either mean it or pray for the person right then and there. I’ve remembered it ever since.

  58. Dave H. says

    Jon, I just ran across your site and think you’re hilarious… you’ll get a link on my blog for sure. I also think you have the greatest readers too. Here’s to Christians who can have a sense of humor!

    Keep up the blogs, and .. um .. Razzle Dazzle!

  59. Anonymous says

    when I say “i’ll pray for you”, I just pray in my head while I walk away. Then Its true, and I don’t feel bad if I forget to pray for them later.

  60. a youth pastor's wife says

    so funny because it’s so true!

    I never tell people that i’ll pray for them (even if they ask me to – if they knew what my prayers were like they would know better than to ask, ’cause i hardly ever end up praying for whatever the person wants… I do not want to ‘multiply the funk’ so to speak)

    I HATE it when people PRT for me… it always gives me the heebie-jeebies ’cause I get anxious about what they’re gonna do… I’ve had too many run-ins with overly-charismatic people trying to pray the ‘oppression’ out of me.

    And it’s REALLY awkward to be frantically praying the opposite in your head while the person is praying some crazy thing for you. e.g. “Jesus PLEASE don’t listen to this crazy woman – please do NOT hook me up with the nice young man over there!!”
    (I’ve never had the courage yet to interrupt someone’s prayer and politely ask them to stop)

    I don’t want you to pray for me to find a new job unless you’re also willing to keep your eye out for a suitable one and give me a recommendation if i need it.

    But I DO pray for people all the time – stealthily in my head when they’re not looking – I think of it as ninja prayer. And if I need to end a conversation i say something like “I’m sorry about your sucky life, but I hope the rest of today is a little better” Also, I make cookies all the time for sharing. You can’t go wrong with sugary substances.

  61. Anonymous says

    I get tired, too, of hearing “I’ll pray for you” when I know it’s likely to be forgotten. I ran across a t-shirt the other day – it had a picture of a safety pin and used that pin as a reminder to Pray It Now.

  62. Tracie says

    Hold up …

    I was walking into the gym today thinking, "What a beautiful day." My mind wandered and I caught myself singing a little ditty from one of my childhood favorite movies … and suddenly I stopped short.

    Did you get the phrase "Razzle Dazzle" from the song "Razzle Dazzle Day" (from the pre-Harry Potter mystical creature cult classic "Pete's Dragon")?!!???

    Oh, wait. It's Brazzle Dazzle Day. Sorry.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjBJlpz3WWY&feature=related

  63. Steph says

    I cannot even remember laughing until I cried…thank you Jon, thank you. I just have to go to church on Sunday and use one of these to which I will be stared at in stunned silence while making myself laugh outloud and surely uncontrollably. And the best part? Only I will be in on the joke. Am I allowed to do that? Be the only one in on the joke? I like it. I like it.

  64. Megs says

    YES, Stephy, you can be the only one in on the joke! That is one of my favourite things, having a little laugh at a joke only I get… socially inept – yes – but really fun – yes!

    oh, and one of my favourite movies is the Aussie movie razzle dazzle – i watched it with my sister Seren. Aussie moves kick ass. i am going to find a link. so you can watch it too! Here we go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHoje2rqX9c

    And you’ll love Summer Heights High if you like Razzle Dazzle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1QsapRnhsw

    love meg

  65. Phil says

    An awesome post, which I just discovered. Thanks for waving the “insincere prayer” thing in people’s face, Jon — ever wonder why the world is so cynical of Christ’s followers, people? We tell others that their lifestyles are wrong, then don’t even follow up on our own words!

    I blogged on this very topic awhile back:
    http://felipebeach.wordpress.com/2008/10/17/update-1016-plus-thoughts-and-prayers-revisited/

    …these thoughts came after months of hearing “I’ll pray for you” (in light of some health difficulties I was going through), and wanting to believe that people actually planned on doing so.

  66. Tim says

    Late to the game, but thanks for the remix, Jon. I came across your blog a week or so ago, and I have steadily been reading Every. Single. Post. I’m planning to share this one with my cell group tonight.

    I’m slowly getting better at #5.

    P.S. “Razzle Dazzle” was also the name of a Saturday morning show back in the 70s with the Hudson Brothers.

  67. Anonymous says

    Yeah! It’s cool to pray for them right at that moment, too, so you definitely don’t forget.

    Silent in-your-head praying is great. Praise Jesus for opening the door!

  68. @Psyche1226 says

    My Mum taught me her secret tool of awesomeness to combat this all-too-common problem. Basically, if you tell someone you're going to pray for them, you do it….right there. On the spot.

    As soon as the other person starts to respond, you set your head-nodding/affirming murmur faculties to 'Autopilot', mentally check out and offer up a quick, explosive "energy blast" prayer. Right about the time when they're winding up their turn at talking, you're finished and resume the conversation with something vaguely applicable, based on the few snips of verbage that filtered in while you were praying.

    Is this sneaky? Undoubtedly. Bordering on rude, even. But forced to choose between this maneuver and the alternative (forgetting to pray for them at all), this one is the clear winner. Even if you totally forget to take their burdens before sweet baby Jesus ever again, you will still have kept your word and prayed for them at least once.

  69. Grace Jamieson says

    Get razzles to advertise your book since you advertised them on your blog at no charge to them. Razzle dazzle man, razzle dazzle!

    Launch a 'metrosexual worship leader' line of scarves and hair gel, or get a Christian clothing company to produce a deep-v neck tshirt with a quote from your DVS essay on the front (like just the titles of the 5 steps).

    Get Rob Bell to recommend your book frequently in his talks over his current tour (hey he's your Zondervan buddy… surely he should want to help you while he's plugging his own book).

    Get a flash mob together for a wreckless publicity stunt somewhere big . When the first whistle blows everyone takes off their jacket (revealing a lovely tee with an ad for your book and website on the back) and then side hugs someone else for 5 minutes (or any variation of this flash mob sort of thing would be cool).

    Get Zondervan to find you a song writer who can write a Christian Lady Gaga cover (which blatently plugs your book) and set it loose on Youtube and pray it goes viral…

    Wheeeey :D

    • Grace Jamieson says

      This is posted under the wrong post and I don't know how (I think it was because I had multiple posts open at once. I'm reposting it where it should be, so feel free to delete this :)

  70. Bekah Brown says

    Last Thursday I was catching up on posts that I had missed and I came across this one. I know I am guilty of the "Oh I'll pray for you" tactic for filling a quiet spot or to smooth over a potentially awkward moment. When I read this I asked God to help me put that into immediate use because I wanted to start practicing.

    Friday night one of my best friends called me and was asking me for directions from Lubbock, TX to Ruidoso, NM because he wasn't sure of the exact way. During his trip though, he ran into a snow storm, and he texted me asking me to pray for him. Yes, I know it's not advisable to text and drive, let alone do it during a snow storm.. So I said "Sure, yeah, I'll pray for you." And then, this post came to my mind and I was like, "I want him to know that I actually prayed for him."

  71. Bekah Brown says

    So I sent him a text containing the simple prayer my dad always prays over me when I go on a roadtrip, sealed it with a "Matthew 18:19 (if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven). amen" I also ordered him to quit texting and driving.. He got there safely and I'm glad I was able to grow my prayer life even just a little bit by saying a 30 second prayer for him.

    So, all that to say this: I just wanted to say thank you for being able to cover both the serious topics and the humurous ones with ease. I always am able to gather something from the posts, and I love reading these things.

  72. Tamay says

    LMBO! Ok I've done the pocket candy (or bottom of the purse candy) thing. But I just love Razzle Dazzle, for some reason its similar to It is what it is. I personally don't like it is what it is for some reason because I'm asking myself and God sooo what is it?! I have on a couple of occasions done the PRT and hope that I made sense as I prayed and encouraged them. Remember Pop Rock candy, that works too.

  73. terahsampler says

    so. i just got hooked on your blog. literally. my son is screaming and instead of going to see what he needs, yeah i'm reading your blog. and this is definitely one of my top 5. i literally almost peed my pants.

  74. michelleakiko says

    "that's interesting, the vowels don't work anymore."
    haha, my sister and i call each other's outfits or hairstyles "interesting" when we don't want to say they're ugly.

  75. Natalie says

    In the city I currently live in we have a cosmetology school called Razzle Dazzle College of Hair Design.
    Needless to say I think the name says it all.

    You are great by the way. I enjoy reading your stuff every morning while at work at 5 am. I recently discovered you and your writings have kept me well occupied, they have even given me an extra boost because most of the time it will make me laugh or smile and it really helps as I greet every person that walks in the door.
    So thanks for being funny and creative.

  76. @InnerSparkkle says

    I am fairly certain that I LOVE this blog. Thank you for it. Not just for its high quality hilarity, but for its honesty. This needed to be brought to my attention. I can't speak for everyone else, but sometimes I say this and then completely forget. Not on purpose mind you. So, thanks a bunch. I really think I like option #5 of praying for them, but if its awkward, I must say that option #4 is a definite back up plan! lol

    I would also like to point out that I was T-Totally with you on the #2 option: RAZZLE DAZZLE.
    Dig it, fa sho!
    As I moved past option #1 and went to #2, before I even got into that point, I thought, "Kinda like the candy?"
    Haha! Great transition for so many reason. Gold star for you.
    And consequently, that really was a horrid candy….yet for some reason as a child, I continued to eat…
    C'est la vie…

  77. The Frenchie says

    One day I was talking with a man at Church, and he ended the conversation with “So that’s it, bleek bleek, blak blak, bluk bluk”, then smiled and went away.

  78. Chrissy says

    I agree. I think prayer is powerful, and even more so when we stop in the midst of our daily lives to reach out to God right then and there. Besides, whenever two more more gather in His, name, He promises to be there… so aren’t our prayers more likely to be effective if we “rock the PRT” and pray together, rather than off by ourselves later on, if we remember to get around to it?

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