I just spent the better part of a day with an ailing family member in a local community hospital. While the people who worked there were nice enough, the environment was cold and antiseptic. Little natural light or greenery, a few pieces of drab artwork here and there, the beep-beep-beep of machines filling the air; there was virtually nothing present that might lift the spirit or soothe the soul.
I say virtually nothing because just off an elevator, in a nearly empty rack of hospital brochures, there was a small black-and-white printout titled: Hospital Prayers and Scripture. I’ve written about prayer before, but not these types of prayer; they were invocations for the sick and dying.
With plenty of time on my hands, I began to read the Xeroxed pamphlet. I was familiar with some of the scripture passages, but what really struck a chord in me were the prayers. They were heartfelt and moving and made me realize that for some, prayer is a matter of serious petition, a way to ask God for relief and guidance while at their lowest ebb.
The source of these prayers is not totally clear, they were uncredited. A quick Google search revealed that part of one passage comes from the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer; the others may be original. Three of these prayers appear below.
Do these prayers work? I suppose it’s a matter of faith. If you believe they work, then there is a better chance that they will work. You may find them of use should you ever feel sick or sleepless or down and out. As for me, I find just reading the words comforting and believe they touch a part of us that modern medicine cannot reach.
A Prayer for the Sick
O God, you know my feelings.
You know that I want to feel better, I want to be better; I want to have my health back.
But the hours of testing, the days of diagnosing, and the questions marks concerning my future seem nearly more than I can take!
Grant me, O God, the strength to face each hour of this and every day.
In fact, when it seems that I cannot face even this hour, fill me with sufficient strength to face the next five minutes.
A Prayer for the Discouraged & Lonely
Dear God, it’s very hard for me right now even to pray. I feel so abandoned and alone and discouraged. I see myself neglected and without support, and it hurts so much. It’s like being a child again, lost in a forest of unseen, hostile forces and not knowing which way to turn.
Lord, show me the path to the light of your love. Lead me to the still waters of comfort. Make me aware of your healing presence. Give me waters of comfort. Make me aware of your healing presence. Give me faith again and that conviction of faith which will enable me to trust in you and in those who minister to me here. With you all things are possible. My hope is in you.
A Prayer for the Sleepless
O gracious Lord,
you give your children sleep for the refreshing of soul and body;
Grant me this gift, I pray:
keep me in that perfect peace which you have promised to those whose minds are fixed on you;
And give me such a sense of your presence, that in the hours of silence I may enjoy the blessed assurance of your love.