Friday, October 14, 2016

A prayer in serious illness

There are so many prayer books to which we can turn when words fail us, especially when we are shaken by serious - and apparently terminal - illness. Words, poetic, well-worn words, used over the centuries by men and women just like us, often raise us above the circumstances we face and nurture our trust in the Lord. Many traditional prayers, and particularly the Psalms, act as a kind of trellis on which to hang our unspoken prayers and the anguish of our hearts when we are desperate. 

Modern prayers - like this one - that echo well-known Scripture passages, can be just as good.   

Father of mercies,
God of all comfort,
our refuge and strength,
our present help in trouble;
I face this illness,
knowing that underneath are your everlasting arms,
supporting me, and strengthening me
for whatever lies ahead.

Help me to be open to all the possibilities,
including that of a miracle.  

I do not understand why this has happened,
but I know you work for good
in every situation I face.
Help me to know your presence,
and to anchor more deeply than ever
in your wonderful healing love. 

Please, Lord,
give me courage and peace,
and, however long I have in this life,
help me to glorify you
in times of joy
and also in times of pain and sorrow
when this world is to me a vale of tears.
Hold me steady when I am shaken,
and my faith is weak.

You alone are my rock, my fortress, my deliverer,
my strong tower, my God in whom I trust.

I make this prayer in the name of Jesus,
our great high Priest,
who, touched with the feeling of our weakness,
ever lives to make intercession for us
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.  

Scripture references:
2 Corinthians 1:3, Psalm 46:1, Deuteronomy 33:27, Romans 8:28, 
Hebrews 6:19, John 15:8, Psalm 84:6-7, Psalm 62:6, Psalm 18:1, Hebrews 4:15, 

Hebrews 7:25, 2 Corinthians 13:12