A few months ago, someone ripped me apart online. This happens sometimes and, although it’s never fun, I’ve written before about how it’s a good thing haters still hurt my feelings.
Normally, I like to settle these kind of things with a dance off, but a lot of people don’t own the right size cardboard square to breakdance on. That’s understandable. Not everyone is so fresh and so clean.
But as I read the comment they left, one sentence stuck out to me. Here, after tearing me apart, is what the person told me, “So sorry if this sounds harsh, but I pray it’s ultimately for encouragement…”
Can we all please admit that when we use phrases like “but I pray” and “I pray that you will,” we have often not actually prayed about what we are saying? There’s very little chance that, before that person posted that comment about me, they got down on their knees before an almighty God and prayed about what they were about to say.
Phrases like, “I pray that you will …” are like the Christian equivalent of “I’m sorry that hurt your feelings.” When someone says that, what they mean is, “I’m sorry you have weak feelings or dumb feelings and didn’t get what I was saying.” Same with “I’m sorry you misunderstood what I was saying.” That’s code for “You’re dumb.” That’s not a real apology. It’s fake.
And sometimes so is saying “I pray that you will …”
I pray that you will hear what I am about to say in Christian love.
I pray that you won’t take this the wrong way.
I pray that you will be so distracted by the words “I pray” that you won’t see me kicking you under the table.
Don’t hide behind the words, “I pray.” Don’t throw those out like a get-out-of-jerk-free card, a la “just saying.”
Don’t say “I pray” unless you’ve prayed about whatever it is you’re talking about. Saying it doesn’t make it true. Doing it does.
And if you’ve got something mean to say to me or about me, please remember, we can solve it with dance.
Is there a phrase like “I pray that,” or “please don’t take this the wrong way,” that someone has said to you?