No More Bozos For Jesus, Part 2

People often ask me who my target audience is when I write this blog.  Well, I’ll tell you.  The person I think of is a twenty-something who is sitting down at a desk in a secular job and just needs a little reminder that God is there and intimately interwoven in the fabric of their day if they have eyes to see.  I pray that it will be encouraging and that it will help us take God seriously, but ourselves not so much.

That said, of course I’m grateful that anyone shows up here, regardless of my “target”!!  I write this also to pay attention to the work of God in my life and hold myself accountable too.  There are universal themes we all struggle with regardless of our age or season of life.

Anyway, all that to say that yesterday when I wrote about the extremes of being afraid of being a “Bozo for Jesus” or of denying my faith, it was because it’s something I need to pay attention to and try to get better at.  I’m going to take a risk and share a tiny way that played out in my life yesterday…

There’s someone who has become a good friend through tennis.  She’s terrific and I love having her as a doubles partner.  She has been struggling with an injury and called yesterday with an update, saying she might have to have surgery.

Here’s the thing.  I don’t know what she believes.  There are clues that she isn’t a follower of Jesus, but I don’t know.  She could be an undercover nun for all I know.

I was very aware of the post that I had just written so I was half praying as I talked to her.  The temptation was to just sympathize with her, shut up, and move on.  After all, it’s not like she said, “I may have to have surgery.  Do you think Jesus cares?”

After commiserating I said, “I don’t know if you’re a praying person, but I am, and I’ll be praying for you and the doctors.”

In retrospect, what I wish I had said was, “I don’t know if you’re a praying person, but I am.  Would you be offended if I said I’d be praying for you and the doctors?”  That would have given her an opening to respond if she wanted to.  And the option to say “Yes, I really am offended.  Quit praying for me!”

Like I said, this is just a tiny thing, but it’s something I’m trying to pay attention to.  I’m trying to be both sensitive and authentic.  Respectful of our differences, but true to my faith.

What would you have said?  What experiences have you had in this area?

9 Comments

  1. Laura,
    I have only had one person in my life not want prayers and that was my mother in law. In my slightly hormonal thirties, and being mighty irritated by the visit anyway (constant negative references to our faith by her), when she said, “And I don’t want you praying for me any more!” I was shocked. In my lovely daughter in law Christian way I said, ” I will pray for you if I want to pray for you.” We both were slightly stunned and the discussion was closed. In the end I am glad I said those words, but I could have been more gracious and loving and kind. I think it is fine to say I will pray for someone, as long as I really do pray, and not just say something that “sounds good.” XO Tina

    • Ha! I can hear you saying that! Thanks for sharing, Tina. Makes you wonder why she felt so threatened by your prayers. I’m curious as to how the relationship has progressed and if you’ve had other interactions with a different tone.

  2. Hi Laura, When I tell people that I will pray for them, it is being true to who I am. I never ask if it is ok, I think that would put them on the spot, it might be difficult to answer authentically. Hugs, Caren

    • Thanks Caren! Great perspective! Just this morning I read a verse that’s been ringing in my ears: “Peter followed, but at a safe distance” Luke 22:54 MSG. I wonder if that’s what I do when I’m not forthright about who I am. Good for you!

  3. I usually say something like, “I’d love to pray for you about this? Is that ok?” I’m a huge email person too, and my girlfriends and I have gotten into the habit of writing out prayers for each other instead of the generic “I’ll pray for you” So I usually ask if I can do that for them – it seems a little more personal and even if they don’t believe what I believe I feel like it sends up good and positive thoughts at minimum in their direction. I don’t know … maybe that’s a little crazy? Who knows. So tough though, because the generic “I’ll pray for you” can offend people, so I agree that there has to be some sort of “ask” involved.

    • I agree Clare. There are times, when, either writing, or even praying out loud for the person in the moment is welcome and more personal/powerful. It takes discernment, but there have been times, especially when someone is in crisis, that it doesn’t matter where they are in their faith, they welcome the sense of being cared for in prayer.

  4. Laura, I love your post in general and love this one in particular!! I love the idea of an “ask” though I don’t know always how I’d work it in. Otherwise, though, I feel like I’m imposing on someone with my ideas, also that the main components of faith are so overused, (I’ve been praying about this) that they mean nothing.

  5. One other thing, where was this post when I was in my 20’s/30’s (now 40)??! It all still applies, but wow, love the authenticity while tackling what’s not so great/true, etc about Christianity.

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