If you are disabled you probably have more than enough experiences where people corner you in a grocery store and insist that you need prayer. As a Christian, I believe in the power of prayer and think it can do amazing things but I don’t think it’s right to force it on a disabled person. I have refused tons of prayer requests from people that see my wheelchair and assume I need pray to heal my disability. There is nothing wrong with praying for disabled people that have expressed they want it but when you go up to every single disabled person you meet at the grocery store and insist they need pray it is harmful and annoys disabled people. I have nothing against prayer but I don’t think it’s something we should be forcing disabled people to do because of their disability. Disabled people are affected negatively by forced prayer because it’s fake and the only reason people want us to do it is to heal our disabilities. In this post, I am going to give my thoughts on forced prayer and why I think it can be harmful to disabled people.
Some people don’t want to be healed– When a stranger approaches a disabled person it’s usually because they think we are sick and need healing but that is not necessarily true. Some people with chronic illnesses are sick but not every disability qualifies as being ill and some disabilities like Spina Bifida are just physical disabilities. Did the thought ever occur to you that some disabled people don’t want to be healed and are happy living with their disabilities? When you force disabled people to pray for healing you are basically implying that there is something wrong with them that needs to fixed. Would be so bad if someone didn’t want to be healed and was fine with living with a disability? I don’t think so and it’s just something that society is always telling us that needs to change. It’s one thing if you are praying for the steady hands of a physician for a friend about to undergo a major surgery but it’s something totally different if it’s healing prayers for a disability. I sometimes pray for strength before surgeries but I never pray for healing of my disability because I don’t know if I would want that and honestly the thought of being healed is a crazy thought for me. There is nothing wrong with wanting less struggles and to hope for a cure because I think we all want that but it’s important to understand that not everyone cares to be cured. Pray for strength of the challenges that disabled people face everyday and more accessibility because that is something is world is lacking!
It drives people away from the church- I know tons of disabled people that you couldn’t pay to go to church and it’s simply because they have been approached by one too many Christians that have forced. them to pray. Forced pray is not Christianity and people that do that are not true godly people because people that truly believe won’t do that. Many disabled people have been driven away from the church because they have had a lot of negative experiences with being forced to pray so they get this wrong idea of what Christianity really is and don’t want to have anything to do with a church environment. If you don’t know anyone who acts the way they should it can be really hard to change your mind and want to go to church. If someone is going through a hard time it’s okay to ask if they want to pray with you but if you force them to pray it will turn them away from ever wanting to go to church. I know many disabled people who will not step foot in a church because the only people they know have tried to force a certain faith on them which never works because at the end of the day it’s your decision and although you can force someone to pray for a few minutes you can’t make someone practice a religion long-term. If you want to change someone you need to have a positive impact on their life because forcing someone to do something will never work!
Some people don’t believe in the power of prayer- Some people will believe in the power of prayer and will pray regularly but some people don’t and their faith will be towards something else. Disabled people often get frustrated when you force them to pray especially if it’s something they wouldn’t normally do. How would you feel if someone forced you to practice a religion that you didn’t wholeheartedly believe was right? Disabled people sometimes feel that way when you make them pray for their disability without even asking if they would mind. I believe in the power of prayer and will let you pray for me if I am going through a hard time but if I am laughing with my sisters at Target and there are no indicators that I am struggling it will be a hard pass! There is nothing wrong with praying for disabled people that have expressed they want it but it’s important to understand that not all disabled people will believe in the power of power or will be comfortable doing it and you should respect that.
There is nothing wrong with praying for disabled people that have expressed they want it but it shouldn’t be something disabled people are forced to do because we are quite literally boxed in. People often force disabled people to pray because they think we need healing but not all disabled people need healing and some people may not not want. Disabled people need acceptance from abled people more than they need healing prayers. I sometimes wonder what life would be like if I didn’t have challenges but I don’t pray daily for healing of my disability because it’s so far fetched for me and I don’t know if I would want it. The next time you insist a disabled person needs healing prayers I want you to ask yourself are they honestly struggling or are you just praying for them because they are disabled? If you are only praying for someone because they are disabled please stop because most disabled people will walk away when your not paying attention and have very negative feelings of prayer. If someone is struggling and asks for prayer that is one thing but if it’s forced don’t even bother because it will do more harm than good. I hope this post taught you a thing or two about how forced prayer is damaging towards disabled people but if you have any more thoughts please feel free to comment below.
This post really resonated. I have nothing against prayer but being prayed at or told that you have to pray is intrusive.
My Rockin Disabled Life
I am glad that this post meant something to you. Yeah I agree no one should be told they have to pray.
Hmmm…yeah, one common theme that I hear about from my friends who have disabilities, regardless of whether they are Christian or not, is that they get a lot of unsolicited prayers.
Though personally, if you ask me the thing that needs prayer is that there needs to be prayer for an end to all the ableism. But I don’t hear that prayer said, just prayers for the person with the disability to be healed.
My Rockin Disabled Life
Yeah healing prayers happen a lot to everyone! I agree the thing that needs pray is ending ablelism and a more acccessible world for disabled people but people don’t think about that.
I don’t think prayer should be forced on anyone! I am disabled and have been for over forty years. Also, I am a Christian who believes in healing, but obviously do not believe God heals everyone. I would love to be healed, but it seems as if God thinks otherwise since he has not healed me. And that’s okay because He is God! So, I too do not like it when people assume they should pray for me to be healed. In fact, if a stranger came to me and started praying for me, I would probably walk (or wheel) away.
My Rockin Disabled Life
Yeah, I agree prayer should not be forced on anyone, and although I have nothing against prayer I do not think you should chase disabled people down and insist they need healing prayers because some people may not want it but there is nothing wrong with wanting to be healed. I don’t know how I would feel about being healed because I have been disabled my whole life and is everything I have ever known and the thought of that changing seems weird to me. I to walk away from people that come up to me that insist I need prayer because it’s wrong.
This is such a great post. As a Christian, praying provides me with the strength to get through each day and a real peace and comfort but I would never dream of forcing it on others. I pray for a lot of people in private behind the scenes but as you said forcing it on them only causes them to avoid going to church and wanting nothing to do with Christianity, which is the complete opposite of what we should be aiming to do. Thank you for highlighting such an important issue.
My Rockin Disabled Life
Thank I am glad you liked it. Yeah, I believe in the power of prayer and think it can do powerful things if approached in the right way but if it’s forced I believe it can and will do a lot of damage to others so that is something we should always think about with any religion.