It bothers me when people tell me bad news, then ask me to pray for them, or their loved one, or a friend. I’m not talking about when people say things like that on Twitter or Facebook; I mean when somebody says that to me directly.
Why does it bother me? Because they’re assuming I pray. That’s what our society is like: it’s perfectly okay to assume, without even knowing somebody, that they are religious. It doesn’t even matter which religion, just as long as they believe in the supernatural. Things don’t work that way for us atheists. I can’t just meet a stranger and speak as though I assume they don’t believe in any god(s).
Hell, even I assume people are religious when I first meet them. But the difference between me and theists (especially, I’ve noticed, Christians) is that I won’t act on that assumption or say anything based on that assumption. Because that would be rude.
When people ask me to pray for someone, my first instinct is to say “Okay, as long as you’ll promise to think for me while I’m doing it.” But don’t worry, I’m only an asshole when I don’t have to worry about retribution. My answer is typically something along the lines of “I wish you the best, and hope everything turns out okay.”