A Prayer for Sick People
I hate being sick. I hate having to relearn all the lessons I forget when I’m healthy:
Self-sufficiency is an illusion.
Control is an illusion.
Rest is not optional.
Body, mind and spirit are connected – when one is neglected, all are affected.
Pain can create both isolation and solidarity; we have some choices about which way this goes.
No one is immune to vanity or melodrama.
Doing more isn’t always a sign of effectiveness; sometimes, it’s about knowing when to stop.
When we run on our own strength, our tanks will eventually empty.
The line can be invisible between sick and healthy; we may not know when we’ve crossed it.
In our weakness, we may see reality more clearly.
Or as St. Paul heard from God when he was struggling with his own thorn in the flesh: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:9) God’s grace is always sufficient for us; it’s when we’re healthy that we deceive ourselves into thinking otherwise.
Our prayers for the sick tend to assume that it’s always someone else who is sick. Fortunately, a few of our Prayer Book prayers give us words when we find ourselves on the receiving end of illness. This one is my favorite:
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the spirit of Jesus. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 461)
How about you? What lessons would you add to this list? What prayers do you find most helpful? Please share!