“I’m headed out to take a big test. If you’re the praying type…”
“If you’re the praying type, I could really use some prayers for this job interview…”
“Feeling anxious/stressed out lately. If you’re the praying type…”
Maybe this is overly nit-picky of me, but this phrase, “If you’re the praying type,” bugs me.
In fairness, I think we say it without even thinking about it. It’s just the go-to polite way to ask others to pray for you, without feeling needy or demanding. Plus, it acknowledges that not everyone prays and, for some reason, we seem to think that those who don’t pray need us to say that we’re not asking them to.
But, if you think about it, it’s sort of a dumb thing to say.
First of all, it doesn’t even really make sense. Personally, when I hear “the praying type,” I picture someone with a Bible kneeling in a church. But of course, there isn’t just one “type” of person who prays. Lots of different types of people pray. Regular church-goers, habitual sinners, people who haven’t darkened the door of a church in years. There isn’t a specific mold you have to fit in order to address your prayers to God. This phrase makes it sound like there is, and that’s just annoying.
More importantly, though, if you identify as the praying “type,” you should probably believe that everyone–even those who don’t actually pray–are in fact “the praying type,” too.
Do you have hopes, dreams, longings, fears, and just general thoughts that you often feel the need to express to another person?
Then, my friend, you are the praying type.
Prayer is a conversation. A conversation in which we share our hearts with God in the belief that doing so might bring about a change within us or a specific situation. Those of us who believe in prayer believe in a God who listens to us and wants to answer us when we cry out to Him. This is a God who wants to take an active part in our lives. Either this God is real or He is not. His willingness to listen to us or to answer our prayers does not depend on whether we have prayed every day, or never prayed; and it certainly does not depend on what “type” of person we are.
Now I’m not saying we should demand or ask that non-believers address prayers to a God they don’t believe in on our behalf. I just hate that our most commonly used invitation to prayer is so lame and wimpy sounding. Why would we ever limit the invitation to pray to specific “type” of person?
We wouldn’t add this sort of caveat to any other request grounded in reality. At dinner time, we would never say something like, “I’m hungry. If you’re the type who believes humans need to eat, you’re welcome to join me for dinner.” That would be silly. The fact is that hunger is a real human experience and dinner is a real solution to it! Those who wanted to eat dinner with us would join, and I have a hard time believing that those who did not want to join us–for whatever reason– would be offended by the invitation.
So too with prayer. We have problems, and, as believers, we believe our Creator can help us with those problems.
Why not invite everyone to dinner?
Just something to think about. I mean, if you’re the thinking type 🙂