I am expected to respond by an emphatic “Thank you.  So kind of you !”  What I WANT to say is : “What will happen if you don’t ?  How does this work ?  Do you draw up a list of names, including mine, and submit it to God ?  So long as you keep my name on the list you recite every time you engage in that monologue you call prayer, God is going to help me ?  Does this mean He will, only as long as you mention my name ?  This must make you feel pretty important and powerful – I mean being able to decide who gets God’s help and who doesn’t.  No ?  Well, that’s very humble of you.  But I can’t help thinking that what you are really looking for is my gratitude, to give you that warm feeling that people appreciate your enormous effort and kindness.  You force us to say so, because we are too damned kind, or weak, to shatter your illusions.

“Just one final thought : what sort of a God do you believe in ?  One whose help for the poor and the suffering depends on being asked ?  Is your God your slave, putty in your hands, who doesn’t give a damn about all those others who need His help but didn’t get mentioned on believers’ lists ?”

All this provides a few more reasons for believers to keep me in their prayers.