New polling data collected by the Pew Research Center shows that of your disapproving friends who tell you that they “will pray for you” or “are praying for you,” less than 3% actually do such a thing. In a telephone study performed over 6 months in late 2012, within a group of over 1300 self-professed Christians who responded that they had told at least one person that they were going to pray for him or her, only 38 ever actually did so.
When those who admitted not following through on their prayers were questioned as to their reasons, the Pew Center found varying reasons. Among those were:
* I forgot
* Already had too many prayers and didn’t want to jeopardize one of the ones where I get stuff
* Didn’t actually mean it
* It’s just a figure of speech. One that means “Burn in hell, sinner!” but sounds a lot more polite
Pastor Jim Rhytius of Lamb of Jesus Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida elaborates: “Well, we Christians are God’s chosen people so we can’t be seen saying rude things. We used to go around telling people that they’re going to hell, but people didn’t take that too kindly. Boy, did I get my ass kicked quite a few times! So now we share our disdain by saying something that sounds kind of nice, but everyone who has taken Jesus as their Lord and Savior knows is really a pointed insult. Each Sunday, we always joke about how many people we told that we were going to pray for that week. Especially when people said “thanks”. The bigger the disgusting pile of sins the person is into, the more sincere we’re supposed to be with our “blessing”… It’s a real hoot!”
In the absence of some sort of receipt system for prayer, there is currently no way of knowing for certain whether your “friend” is actually praying for you or not.