When An Atheist Prays (And Why I’ve Asked for Their Prayers Most of All)

As mentioned in my LAST BLOG ARTICLE, my sister, Trina has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and is looking for a miracle. We all are.

There has been a massive outpouring of love on her behalf and her heart is full…and so is mine. Thanks to all those praying.

In my last post I asked atheists (among others) to pray…humbly asking them to suspend their unbelief in God for a very short time. Yes, I am aware of what I was asking. And I knew it ran the risk of being offensive to people on both sides of the faith-fence. But sometimes we must go with our heart on something. And this is most definitely one of those times.

I was “stream of conscious” writing when these words came from somewhere in my gut:

TO THE ATHEISTS AMONG YOU: On my behalf, would you lay aside your unbelief in God for a very short time…it’s a big request I know…one I am humbly making at this very moment with tears in my eyes. But I boldly make this request because I feel I may need your prayers most of all. Perhaps God will hear your courageous voices before any of the rest of ours. So would you please whisper them out for this man who does believe?”

I am not ashamed of my request. And surprisingly, neither were they. In fact, they showed up. Beautifully, they did.

This from Heidy (whom I have never met).

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After Heidy posted this comment, I was touched to see my wife, Heather, post this comment back to Heidy:

“Heidy, in your most painful and scary moments, I will be praying for you.”

Ever felt that feeling of something greater than simply being “on our own?”  I felt my heart warm when I read Heidy’s comment, and then sighed in awe when I read Heather’s back to her.  We are all connected.

My friend, Stef, shared my blog link on her timeline on FB with this message.

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Stef has a beautiful soul – probably “beautifully tragic” is what she would call it. She is deep…unfiltered…alive…aware…sad…and then so joyful. I’ve known her since before she came out of the closet, which for those daughters and sons of the religious, is painful in it’s own way. I respect her. I love her. That she would suspend her presuppositions of who may or may not be out there, for me…was so heartening. Thank you, friend.

And lastly, the cool kid from high school…that I was sort of afraid of, but would’ve given my eyeteeth to be in his circle of friends. Long story short, he wasn’t in band or choir like me.  (I mean just look at his profile pic.  Seriously?…he’s still that cool?)

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“For Matt and most of all for Trina, I will be.”  His compassion brought me into that circle of friends over 25 years later. Thank you, Chuck.

But why did I ask the atheists to pray? Why them?

Honestly, it just happened. Like I said, it came from somewhere in my gut…and it made perfect sense to me.

While I respect their beliefs without reservation…because they have their story and I have mine, a part of me asked them to pray for this reason:

IF God is out there, and I believe in my heart that he is, I imagine that his ears would tingle the instant these three spoke out to the heavens. I’m sure that he would instantly be taken by the voice of the children he hasn’t heard from, possibly for years.

I’m a dad.  It is one of my greatest joys.  And I can tell you for certain that if Heidy, Stef, and Chuck were mine, the phone wouldn’t make it to the second ring.  And I think that if I were God, I would grant their requests first, because I would want them to know how much I cared…how much they were loved like crazy.

That’s why I asked them. That’s what was churning in my gut.

I do not know if my sister will be healed. But if she is, I will go to my grave believing that it was the prayers…not of the saints, that changed God’s mind – but of those who have looked to the sky, told God to suck it, and went on their way.  But then one day, because they were moved for the life of another one of his beautiful creations (another one of his children), they suspended their unbelief, even if only for one night.

If God is real, I promise you that he heard every nuance in their precious voices that night, and relished every part of their tender hearts.

Thank you, Heidy. Thank you, Stef. Thank you, Chuck. You have made me believe even more…in you…in God…in love…and most of all, in hope.

Healing all around,


***For the previous story, and to know specifically how we are praying for Trina, please click THIS LINK and read “A Brother’s Cancer Request: Please Pray for Trina.

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