When Strangers Mean Well - Aggressive Prayer Offering

This morning we went out to breakfast as a family. When we eat out, about 30% of the time someone will come over and compliment how well behaved our boys are, they’ll give each boy a dollar as a “good job”, or sometimes people anonymously pay for our meal because they so enjoyed watching our young family. I always appreciate this.

This morning was different, but also well-intentioned.

As I’m shepherding our boys between the tables to leave the restaurant, this woman jumps up and bear hugs me around my neck. She is a foot shorter than me so she’s on tiptoes hanging off of me. She whispers in my ear, “I’m going to be praying for you.” I’m trying to figure out (1) Do I know her? (2) What on Earth does she think I specifically need prayers for? (3) How frequently does she do this to people? My husband assumed I knew her by the fervor and duration of the hug.

I gently pull back enough to see her face and say, “Um…thank you for that.” She says, “Well, you have cancer and I’m going to pray for you.” She saw my pod and evidently thought it was Neulasta, I suppose. I said, “Oh, I don’t have cancer! I’m just diabetic. But thanks!” She said she was going to pray for me anyway. I didn’t want her to feel embarrassed. I tried to act like I thought this was a normal interaction. I know she meant well. I just haven’t been bear hugged like that from a stranger in quite a while. It’s happened before. But not lately.

So then my boys were wondering what that was all about. It spurred a conversation about pumps, T1D, etc. Apparently there are two girls in my older son’s grade (one of whom is in his class this year) who have T1D and use pods. My youngest son’s speech teacher uses pods, as well. I told my older son that he could tell the little girl in his class that I have T1D, too and use pods, too. He said, “I don’t want to talk about it at school and feel embarrassed. I don’t want people knowing you have a disease and have them always talk about it. It would be embarrassing.”

I haven’t read too much into that other than he’s getting to an age of increased self-awareness and awareness of the social strata.

Anyway…I feel like this morning was a very kind “prayer assault” but it felt super, super weird to me. I had forgotten my pod was even visible bc I just don’t think about it anymore. Today was a reminder that other people definitely do notice and draw their own conclusions.


This has happened to me on the street several times. It’s been even worse, in that the person always tries to pray over me right then and there. Once it happened while I was waiting with some other people at a bus stop. One person just came over and started praying over me. I shuffled away because I was too embarrassed to say anything. He moved over to where I’d moved and continued. Finally someone else asked him to stop and stepped between us.

The last time this happened, a guy approached me as I was walking to the bus stop and asked if he could pray for me. I thought he meant later that day at home, so I was like, “Sure, if you want to, I guess…” Well, he started doing it right there and it was the most awkward thing ever. And then he was literally like, “Can you see any better?” My response was something like, “Uh, nope, gotta run, bye!”

I’m hoping the next time something like this happens I’ll be able to actually start a conversation about it. Like, I am totally happy with my life. Why do you feel you need to pray for me? There are people and issues that need way more prayers than I do! I am not sure that would be productive, but it has to be better than the awkwardness it otherwise creates.


Oh my. Wow. Oh my.


Bizarre. I generally hate people presuming I want, or need, their “prayers.”


This whole affair was super weird.

But can I just say this part is the one that blows my mind??

This morning we went out to breakfast as a family. When we eat out, about 30% of the time someone will come over and compliment how well behaved our boys are, they’ll give each boy a dollar as a “good job”, or sometimes people anonymously pay for our meal because they so enjoyed watching our young family.

We literally have never had this happen to us. Your kids must be amazing!!


Aw, thanks. I’m certainly partial to them. I think the demographics of our area make it such that the elderly are appreciative of kids who aren’t running around a restaurant like psychopaths. :blush:


I was thinking the same thing! We must not be doing something right!

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When my kids were 4 and 6, we took them to a Chinese dim sum restaurant in Boston’s chinatown. And they were running around a little bit (perhaps psychopathically). But it’s a Dim Sum restaurant.
As an older couple was leaving the restaurant, the woman slipped me a note (which I later scanned): “Your children are poorly behaved. Either discipline them or leave them at home.”

No money.



OMG I don’t think you should ever discount the importance of prayer. You have no idea how many times I’ve prayed to have the look and persona that says to strangers “he looks mean. There’s no way I’m talking to him, and I’m certainly not going to risk touching him!” Luckily, my prayers have been answered! :wink:


Meh. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

my gosh that’s one bizzaar story!

i have frequently been questioned about my pump and my pump site and my Libre sensor. people see it hanging clipped onto my pant waist and think its either an old-time pager/beeper or a strange looking cell phone. but i get the most attention at the swimming pool locker room. the most attention i get is from children (who tend to question everything they dont understand/or know about.) they will ask me quite innocently what its for(while their mothers try and pull them away( “dont be rude, Honey”). then i get others who want to know why i am hooked up to this “thing” attached to my belly with the tubing.i tell them as plainly as possible that it is for insulin (medication) for my diabetes.

well, a few things have happened: 1) when i change into my bathing suit, i unhook from my pump and there is the little plastic do-hicky on my tummy. 2) when i get out of the pool i need to replace missed basal insulin so i must bolus. in order to bolus, i need to rehook my pump, press some buttons, and hold my pump in my hand until it delivers the insulin. and 3) now i am wearing the Libre sensor on my arm.

so, i am not getting prayers, and i dont mean to highjack your thread, i just thought i would add in my two cents about the attention i constantly get about my pump. thank goodness there is no ego involved on my part. i have no trouble trying to explain a little bit about it all, and i just dont get embarrassed. (maybe if i were a tean-ager, it would matter more???)


That’s pretty intrusive! I would be shocked if a stranger suddenly hugged me.


That is super creepy. At least it would be in my part of the world.

On the other hand, I’d take people praying for me because I’m diabetic any day over praying for me because I’m gay. Some nutbar reciting Scripture so I’ll be saved and find “true” love, or worse, following my partner and me down the street spouting fire-and-brimstone warnings somehow ain’t how we planned to spend our afternoon.


Wow, that’s horrible. :frowning:


Yup, my thoughts too, and this is also why I have a pretty visceral negative reaction to stranger prayers like that about anything. All too often prayers from strangers are essentially weaponized in intolerant and bigoted ways, whether about being queer or toward women making private medical health decisions. It makes me distrustful of anyone willing to invade a stranger’s space with their unasked for prayers. It’s very different if I know the person offering prayers well enough to understand that it’s their way of expressing genuine love/concern/well wishing for me. That’s fine! I accept that in all forms, even if it doesn’t match my own worldview.


I agree. I kind of wondered if the situation I experienced was influenced by the recent loss of a local pastor’s little girl. The discovery of her cancer to her passing was under six weeks, I believe. It had a huge impact locally so I figured this stranger’s behavior was related to that. But maybe not. Prayers for assumed cancer is obviously wayyyyy different than what @Beacher and @Jen have talked about…but it was definitely weird nonetheless.


I get this at the pool, too. The stares at the plastic piece on my belly. All of this talk makes me want to try something different… like maybe looking like I’m in agony every time I see someone looking.

@T1Allison, I’m impressed about your boys… and maybe a little weirded out about your town. People really do that? Give your kids a buck and pay for your meal? Not that my kids would ever land that deal anyway, but I seriously would have no idea what to say. :thinking:


This is something I find really weird; hardly anyone ever asks me. I just spent a week on vacation in the Caribbean and therefore not wearing much clothing. My G6 and Omnipod were always visible except when I was in a wetsuit. I got exactly one “what’s that” question. That’s about 0.7 more than typically happens in a week.

I think it must be the power @Dc53705 refers to; the ability to look like someone who you don’t want to ask a question of, but I’m not sure. Children don’t ask either and that power doesn’t work on them.

I do actually want to be asked; I want to explain to people but I’m not going to do that unless they actually express an interest; some curious remnant of my upbringing.

Of course there are problems; sage advice about amazing cures that you can obtain by standing on one foot and swallowing mercury etc. or perhaps a refusal to accept, or even understand, that life can be so difficult. I still believe that everyone I talk to, however little they want to hear what I have to say, learns something, just as I do from them.

In my 25 years of living in the US I have not yet completely got to grips with the eye-contact thing, the bodily contact or, for that matter, prayer. Half-naturalized*?

[*] Billy Bragg: “Half English”


This. +100


That’s exactly what I thought. About both you Allison, and then you Jen.

I actually can’t believe that’s happened to you BOTH.