For Your Soul.
The first, and more objectionable one, is where the
person doing the praying is wielding the prayer like a
weapon: "Dear $POWER, please deliver the soul of
$PERSON from all the things that they're doing that I
know are dreadfully wrong because if they keep on
doing that without anyone praying for them/them
changing their ways I know they're going to go to
$BAD_OUTCOME." That sort of prayer mortally offends
me. It also reminds me of the "If you don't stop doing
that thing that I don't like that doesn't actually
affect me in the slightest, I'm going to tell Teacher
on you," moments in school.
And then there's the other kind, the one I like a lot
better. The prayer goes more along the lines of, "Dear
$POWER, please watch out for and protect $PERSON and
their soul, especially where they're the weakest, and
send my love while You're at it, please..."
Mark Vorkosigan observed that much diagnosed insanity
was probably someone dealing with their pain in a way
that annoyed the people around them. It doesn't take
much actual concern for someone to wish that they stop
doing something that annoys/frightens you. It takes a
lot more actual concern for someone to see through a
problematic behavior and wish that the pain underlying
the behavior be cured. I know that a lot of the time
when the people around me do things that annoy the
ever-living stuffing out of me, and I know that it
isn't just them being them, it's them with some sort
of problem, I just want them to stop doing that thing,
and I couldn't care less about what causes it or how
to solve that problem.