“There is a mighty lot of difference
between saying prayers and praying.”
John G. Lake
Let me start by saying that this is a “Think” piece. What you are about to read are the conclusions I drew from the research I had time to conduct. Another writer given the same amount of time and resources might have a different view.
I am penning this post so that the prayerful, sometimes prayerful, the skeptics and the cynics have a better understanding of the subject and of each other.
It is important to point out from the very beginning that with rare exception most religious organizations recommend prayer as a supplement to medical care. Some, though, go much further: According to Religious Tolerance dot org (http://www.religioustolerance.org/medical2.htm) they either:
- Teach that certain medical procedures are not allowed, or
- Recommend that members generally reject medical attention in favor of prayer.
We at Bob’s Newheart prefer the mainstream approach that allows for and encourages getting medical help when it is needed. There is more than an adequate amount of scientific evidence to support the claim that medical intervention is more beneficial than prayer alone.
According to the New York Times about 300 children have died in the United States in the last 25 years after medical care was withheld on religious grounds. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/21/us/21faith.html?_r=0
The courts often hear cases of medical treatment for children being withheld due to religious objections. In the vast majority of those cases they have ruled in favor of treatment and against prayer being used as the only remedy. We will return to this topic later.
Does prayer work? That depends on what you mean by “work.” If you are asking about the curative power of prayer well, there is a mixed bag of evidence on that one, I was told once that if you torture Google long enough you can get it to c confess to anything I believe that. You can probably find just as much proof that prayer works as you can that it doesn’t. There is an area, though, where we do know that it does offer some benefits to those who are doing the praying. Not long ago researchers from Baylor University found that people who pray to a loving and protective God are less likely to experience anxiety-related disorders — worry, fear, self-consciousness, social anxiety and obsessive compulsive behavior — compared to people who pray but don’t really expect to receive any comfort or protection from God.
On the other hand, the same Baylor University research found that people who have more insecure attachments to a supreme being react differently. If they feel rejected or that their prayers have gone unanswered they can suffer severe symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. So does prayer work? Yes, but perhaps not in the manner you might suspect. Prayer and/or meditation can have a profound effect on your state of mind. You can read more about the psychological effects of prayer here at Spirituality and Health. http://tinyurl.com/ngntzva.
The real question, though, or the one most people are asking is, “Will prayer cure disease, save dying people, or bring me whatever I’m asking for? To be even more precise the question might finally be boiled down to, “Do prayers get answered.”
Science and religion are often at odds on a number of topics but perhaps that’s because neither is very tolerant of or patient with the other. The fact of the matter is that when put to scientific scrutiny some studies have clearly indicated that prayer can be a medical tool.
Psychologists tell us that there are three kinds of prayer, 1) egocentric prayer is when we pray for ourselves, 2) ethnocentric prayer is when you pray for another person and 3) geocentric prayer is when you pray for everyone.
A study of about 150 cardiac patients at the Duke University Medical Center included a sub-group who received ethnocentric prayer had the highest treatment success rate within the entire group. This was a legitimate study, too. It was double blind which means that neither the researchers nor the patients benefiting from the prayers knew who was on the receiving end. The results were similar in another legitimate scientific double-blind study that was done at San Francisco General Hospital’s Coronary Care Unit. The “prayed for patients” showed a greatly diminished need for critical care, maintenance medications and heroic measures. There were also fewer deaths. All of that suggests somehow, something intervened. Just exactly what that variable might be is unclear but there most definitely was a connection.
The great difficulty in researching the topic is that there are so many different points of view and they all claim to be the most accurate source. I decided to use information from those who most clearly communicated their thoughts to me regardless of religious, philosophical or political designation. So, let me begin.
It seems to me there are five groups of people.
- Those who strongly believe in the power of prayer and are devout in their religious convictions. They are often unshakeable even when it appears to others that their prayers have been rejected.
- Those who pray only in emergencies or when they really want or need something.
- Those who pray, but only because they are afraid not to pray. They hope some good will come of their efforts. I’ve known many who pray because they were taught to do so and don’t know what else to do even though they are doubt the effectiveness of the practice.
- Those who are ambivalent or skeptical. They tolerate prayer but don’t engage in it themselves
- Those who are more cynical and for the most part reject prayer and religion as an exercise in futility and a waste of time.
Why do people pray? When you Google the question, “What is
faith?” you have a choice of 801,000,000 results. Eight hundred million. Obviously I did not read but a tiny fraction of them but I did look at a few. The definitions I selected had seemed to best characterize the people I know who appear to be of great faith. There is a very fine line to walk between religion and faith but I’ll attempt the balancing act anyway. .
What is faith?
Still another definition is, “Faith is a sacred, deep, emotionally involved kind of trust that a power greater than you can change anything. Faith requires a trust in your belief that consumes your whole being. “
And finally, “Some argue that faith is a decision. Others understand it to be a gift. Many have never known their life without it, while others can point to a particular moment when faith became a part of their experience. No matter, faith is simply a strong belief that a greater power exists and is in charge of everything.” Somewhere in one of those three definitions you may find a kernel of the element of your faith or lack of it.
If you have “Faith” you probably pray and that’s a word that also needs defining. What constitutes prayer? One definition says, “Prayer includes respect, love, pleading and faith. Through a prayer a devotee expresses his helplessness and endows the task to God. Prayer, it seems, is a very personal way for an individual to communicate with his or her God. In most cases people who pray are asking for something either for themselves or for others. Some believe they always get answers to their prayers and that they actually talk with God and hear his responses. Others pray and hope they are heard. People have different experiences with prayer some good and some bad.
Are Prayers Answered?
The Huffington Post is certainly not highly regarded for their expertise in prayer but some of the writers have interesting thoughts. For example, in story from May of 2012 with the headline,” Prayer: What Does The Science Say? The post notes that an overwhelming 83 percent of Americans say that God answers prayers, but their reaction is a gut feeling and there’s little or no scientific validation offered. Two researchers with opposing positions on the issue have written interesting books to explain their views. If you are interested in learning more on either or both let me refer you to Tanya Marie Luhrmann, an anthropologist at Stanford and author of the book “When God Talks Back” and Michael Shermer, executive director of the Skeptics Society and author of “The Believing Brain.”
One thing is clear. Religion and prayer appear to be inseparable. If you engage in prayer or some kind of communion with a higher power it likely was heavily influenced by your experience and/or exposure to religion, but the water gets a little murky there because according to the Pew Foundation more than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion – or no religion at all. If change in affiliation from one type of Protestantism to another is included, 44% of adults have either switched religious affiliation, moved from being unaffiliated with any religion to being affiliated with a particular faith, or dropped any connection to a specific religious tradition altogether.
When it comes to the effectiveness of prayer, there are as many answers as there are people. Most of the answers, though, are based on anecdotal rather than scientifically based evidence.
There are those who believe deeply that prayer brings results and therefore comfort and there are others who have no faith in faith and care even less for religion whether organized or not.
One can probably assume that many if not a majority of prayers have to do with health and longevity and our health care system has deep faith based roots that are made obvious with every hospital admission. Patients are almost always asked for religious preference so if an emergency arises the institution can satisfy the patient’s needs in that area.
People of faith are willing to accept a negative prayer response more than those without faith by saying, “Well, that’s the will of God.”
at the same time, though, a cynic might ask, “If prayers work, why do so many prayerful, religious people die horrible deaths? Prayer vigils are organized often for sick people and they die anyway,” say the disbelievers.
I guess the answer depends on who you ask. The atheist would say, “No. Prayer can’t work because there is no God.” For them it is a cut and dried issue.
The answer from agnostics might be a little more complex. That particular group is more likely to equivocate because they claim neither faith nor disbelief in God.
One could site any one of a number of biblical passages regarding prayer. Here are just a few:
John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Most of the major religions, as pointed out earlier, believe a combination of prayer and medical science is the answer to most health issues. Some take a harder line than others.
Shortly after my heart transplant in 2007 I started this blog and a Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI), which now has nearly 4200 members. Recently I asked members to give me examples of how prayers worked or didn’t work for them.
Jon Claflin (He requested that he be identified) sent these words to me.
“Ever since I was a child, prayer has confused me. Raised a Christian, I was taught that God has a plan and that He knows all. These two concepts run counter to me interfering with this plan by praying and asking God to make an exception or allow for a different outcome. Of course this is impossible as God knows the outcome anyway.
As an adult, my views on the futility of prayer only increased. As a student of logic and skepticism, I realized that prayer is an unfalsifiable concept as no matter what transpires, the believer can claim that prayer worked. If the promotion at work didn’t come through or their aunt died, they can simply claim that this was God’s will. And if their aunt survived or the promotion came through, then (again) prayer did its job.
This is all the personal belief of the individual turning to prayer and I wouldn’t seek to change this, but when prayer is artificially elevated the level of a legitimate healthcare choice, I do take issue. Heart failure is a serious life or death situation and inserting superstition or talking to invisible deities into this predicament as an alternative to medicine is extremely dangerous, and choosing prayer over evidence-based medicine is deadly. Until prayer can stand up to the rigorous double-blinded testing that medical therapies do, I opt for medical intervention over prayer.”
Other members had a different perspective and this letter is pretty typical of the kind of responses I got. She believes her prayers were answered. Who are we to say she is wrong?
“Almost a year ago now my son had been on PD for 16 months and was feeling sicker by the day. Also, he had developed a hernia most likely FROM PD and we were told he’d have to go on hemodialysis until after he had hernia surgery & had completely healed. I was so heartbroken for him that I went to bed that night desperate – praying & crying till I fell asleep, begging God to just show me what more I could do to help him. I woke up the next morning with the idea to make a Facebook page to find a living kidney donor. I just KNOW that’s what God TOLD me to do. A young man who was a former co-worker of my OTHER son’s emailed me & said he’d be willing to test, and in May it will be the 1 year anniversary of my son’s transplant. His donor has become a member of the family!! He is truly my boy’s miracle!! I love to tell this story!”
That story was told with conviction and with love and while some readers may want to dismiss her contention that God told her what to do, why would they? To what end? Why bother? If she is happy with the outcome it shouldn’t be anyone’s business what she believes.
Of all the responses I got to my Facebook query, no one suggested that prayer alone would solve medical problems.
From what I have been able to gather, a combination of prayer and medical science certainly can’t hurt and it just may be of some help. A story in the Underground Health Reporter said: “Not only can effects of prayer be an important curative tool in times of crisis, but it can also promote a sustained state of well-being. A fascinating study conducted by researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond analyzed the lives of 1,902 sets of twins.
It turned out that twins committed to spiritual lives tended to have lower rates of:
The Richmond study indicated that active involvement in a spiritual community is strongly linked to overall stability and health.
This is Your Brain on God
Most extraordinary of all is the way prayer has been shown to produce physical changes in the brain. Barbara Bradley Hagerty put together a 5-part NPR series called, “Is This Your Brain on God?” In the series, Hagerty explores a possible reason that prayer has such restorative and preventative potential. That is, scientists can see noticeable differences between the brains of those who pray or meditate often and those who don’t.
One scientist in particular had published astonishing findings. His name is Andrew Newberg, and he’s a practicing neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania and author of How God Changes Your Brain. Newberg has been scanning the brains of people with religious convictions for more than 10 years. He says meditation in particular has a very visible effect on the brain’s frontal lobe. He believes that the neurological effects of prayer and meditation can be long-lasting. Read more: http://undergroundhealthreporter.com/effects-of-prayer-can-lead-to-healing/#ixzz3RGrtNsjB
So that’s my report on prayer. I came away with this thought. If I or someone I love has a very serious disease I will do two things. I likely will say a prayer or two and then find the best medical team money can buy. Maybe….just maybe the medical team is the answer to a prayer.
All I know is that when I pray, coincidences happen; and when I don’t pray, they don’t happen.”
Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s over 4,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs. You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at email@example.com. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love. You can register to be a donor a thttp://www.donatelife.net. It only takes a few minutes.
Introduction by Bob Aronson
One thing that all transplant patients, caregivers, donors, donor families and many friends have in common is health care institutions. We all spend inordinate amounts of time in them for blood tests, X-rays, bone tests, MRIs and ECGs along with endless paperwork. At some point you begin to feel like the little steel ball in a pin-ball machine that keeps bouncing off barriers and then being propelled in strange directions away from the prize which, in our case, is the gift of life. The only thing missing is the familiar “Ding, ding, ding” sound made as the little ball moves across and around the board.
With all that going on for both pre and post-transplant patients it is easy to get frustrated, frightened and in need of guidance and support. Many turn to prayer and almost every hospital has a chapel, somewhere you can go that is quiet and lends itself to prayer and/or meditation.
The stress of the situations we find ourselves in often leaves us in need of the right words to use. Some will say God doesn’t care about words but others feel the need for direction so we searched the internet for some ideas and found about three dozen that seemed appropriate to a number of situations. The prayers included here come from all the major religions. Some are sect specific others are general in nature.
I have also included a couple of inspirational stories and some favorite prayers or devotions from some of my friends. This list favors no denomination nor does it suggest that you must worship in any particular way or form. It has been published as an aide to those who find themselves in need of strength from a source outside of themselves.
You may not use any of these prayers as they are written but perhaps you’ll find a phrase here, a sentence there and a thought somewhere else that together help you form a new prayer that fits your particular needs. We hope this post offers you the guidance you seek.
Jewish prayers for the ill
May the One who blessed our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, bless and heal the one who is ill: ____ son/daughter of ____. May the Holy One, the fount of blessings, shower abundant mercies upon him/her, fulfilling his/her dreams of healing, strengthening him/her with the power of life.
Merciful one, restore him/her, heal him/her, strengthen him/her, enliven him/her. Send him/her a complete healing from the heavenly realm, a healing of body and a healing of soul, together with all who are ill soon, speedily, without delay; and let us say: Amen!
Translation by National Center for Jewish Healing
Bless those in need of healing With refu-ah sh’lei-ma, The renewal of body, The renewal of spirit, And let us say: Amen
Strengthen me, Holy One, on my journey through illness; Steady my steps on this difficult path. Bring me through signposts of remedies and therapies, Secure in Your guidance as I face these changes You are my Strength and my Hope, The Author of my healing. You are my Promise and my Courage, guiding my helpers as I move toward healing.
Guard the encouragement of simple improvements, Every day praising Your loving concern. Make me Your partner, Divine Physician, Restoring me for Your Name’s sake. From Flames to Heaven: New Psalms for Healing and Praise ©1998 by Debbie Perlman.
A Prayer Before Surgery
I am scared, God. I feel vulnerable. I don’t like feeling helpless. I am worried. So before my surgery I pray:
I place my body and soul in Your hands.
Please watch over me, God, in the operating
room. Stay beside me. Never leave me.
Strengthen my will to live. Enlighten my
doctors and nurses with the skill, wisdom and
insight to mend and cure me properly. Let this
procedure go smoothly without complication.
Watch over my loved ones who are worrying
about me now. Remind me that I am
resilient. That I can and will grow stronger
each day. Bless me, God, with Your healing
power, protect me from all harm, shield me
from pain. And when I wake, God, give me the
courage and passion to fight for the sacred
treasure You have granted me: my life. Amen.
Talking to God
by Naomi Levy, ©2002 by Naomi
Levy. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division
of Random House, Inc
A prayer for healing
God, hear my prayer,
And let my cry come to You.
Do not hide from me in the day of my distress
Turn to me and speedily answer my prayer.
Eternal God, Source of healing,
Out of my distress I call upon You.
Help me sense Your presence
At this difficult time.
Grant me patience when the hours are heavy;
In hurt or disappointment give me courage.
Keep me trustful in Your love.
Give me strength for today, and hope for tomorrow.
To your loving hands I commit my spirit
When asleep and when awake. You are with me; I shall not fear.
Prayer for healing
Hear my prayer, O Lord, heed my plea for mercy.
In time of trouble I call You, for You will answer me.
When pain and illness are my companions, let there be room in my heart for strength.
When the days and nights are filled with darkness, let the light of courage find its place.
Help me endure the suffering and dissolve the fear; renew within me the calm spirit of trust and peace.
Boruch Atah Adonai, Ro-fei HaCholim
We praise you, O God, Healer of the Sick
Simplest of all prayers. When Moses’ sister, Miriam, is struck by disease, Moses offers the shortest prayer in the Hebrew Bible:
“Eil na rafa na la.”
“Please, God, please heal her.”
Islamic prayer for healing
Oh Allah! The Sustainer of Mankind! Remove the illness, cure the disease. You are the One Who cures. There is no cure except Your cure. Grant us a cure that leaves no illness. (Recommended to touch the area of pain with the right hand while reciting this supplication.)
From Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) member Cari Rennie:
“When I am in physical pain or suffering, my lips repeat the words “Christ be with me” over and over.”
Non-denominational prayer for everyone
Oh Almighty! May everybody be happy!
May all be free from ailments!
May we see what is auspicious!
May no one be subject to miseries!
Oh Almighty! May there be a Peace! Peace! Peace! Everywhere.
Rigveda 4:11:51 – india – 3700 b.c.e.
From friend Bob Huck a prayer for inner peace:
“Dear Lord let the flood of your compassion overwhelm me with peace in my soul when you take me in your arms while I know such awful fear and am in such terrible pain. Teach me and the ones I love of your presence in these trials and let us all see your victory over every earthly trial”
Also from Bob Huck, thank you lord
Dear Lord, I am thankful for all of the worldly gifts you give me and trials as well. Both strengthen me. Your promise of grace and sanctification is a pure and beautiful expression of your infinite love for me no matter my circumstances. But sometimes Lord, I just suffer and forget your end plan for me. It is in these times that I trust that you are there for me in my earthly weakness even if I don’t say it in prayer I know it in my heart. I know your peace will pass all understanding. So I trust your plan for me even if it looks like I have forgotten it in times of trial. Thank you Father, for allowing me to trust your plans.
Reverence for life – Dr. Albert Schweitzer – 1964
Dear God, protect and bless all living beings.
Keep them from evil and let them sleep in peace.
While not a prayer, this passage can give comfort and serenity to those who are suffering. Isaiah 41:10
New International Version (NIV)
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Baha’i prayers – bahá’u’lláh
O my God! O my God!
Unite the hearts of Thy servants,
and reveal to them Thy great purpose.
May they follow Thy commandments
and abide in Thy law.
Help them, O God, in their endeavor,
and grant them strength to serve Thee. O God!
Leave them not to themselves
but guide their steps by the light of Thy knowledge,
and cheer their hearts by Thy love.
Verily, Thou art their Helper and their Lord.
Prayer for comforting
Loving and ever-present God, we believe that your grace is sufficient for all things. Comfort us anew by your presence. Allow that in our weakness we may be made strong, in our grief, consoled, and in our ignorance, wise. Protect and guide us that we may know the way to take and that at each crossroad of life we may see the right path to choose. Safeguard us by your power, uphold us your kindness, and warm us by your love. By your divine grace help us to do what is right, to act courageously, to love our neighbors, to forgive our enemies. By your grace, bless us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
From Cousin Karen Wilson Ramsey
Stand By The Lord by Karen Wilson Ramsey
I stand by the Lord who will help us all.
I stand by the Lord who prevents my fall.
His beautiful spirit brings peace to me.
Let me testify of His love for me and thee.
May all of the storms and the strife of life,
Pass over the door and remove all fright.
Let the river of Gilead wash the fear away,
So that my day will brighten and glorify your way.
I stand by the Lord who will help us all.
I stand by the Lord who prevents my fall.
by Karen Wilson Ramsey
May the sun keep shining
While God’s love is binding
Your spirit to all you encounter.
May the news of His love
Always pour from above
To shower the spiritual hunter.
May the light of His face
GLow brightly in each place
Your feet are forced to walk.
May the Lord’s Hallowed Glow
Shine through the hole
Of the Devil’s heavy road block.
The scriptures you read
Will be all you need
While prayers, faith, and a smile
Will buoy you all the while
You are crossing the Nile.
A prayer poem by Edna Fontaine
WHISPERS OF THE HEART
Today I thank You, Lord,
For all the joys You bring –
For rainbows in the sky –
For flowers in the spring –
For warmth of gentle rain
That falls from up above –
For wealth of little prayers
That fill my need for love –
For friends who fail me not
When I am in some need,
When my despair is plain to see,
Are there my soul to feed.
You are so kind and gentle, Lord,
Forgive the faults in me
And keep me ever close to You
Until I come to Thee. based on Rev. 15:3
Prayer for strength
Holy God, sometimes things are really difficult for us especially when we have to face our humanness in a way that is not necessarily comfortable for us. Thank you for being present with us and helping us to look at our living and our dying. Remind us when we are fearful of death that You will be there with us each step of the way. Help our family members and those we love as they try to deal with what is happening as well. Let Your love and presence be felt as we express our fears, our concerns, and our mortality. Help us to always to remember that through our faith in You, we can live and we can die. We pray these prayers with the assurance of the love and compassion that your Son, Jesus Christ, has shown to us throughout our lives. We know that Jesus will be there to welcome our souls into God’s presence. Amen.
From A Clergy Guide to End-of-Life Issues / Martha R. Jacobs
Prayer for mourners
Venerable and hallowed are the memories of those who have died. We recall them with warmth and affection, grateful to G0d for the gift of their lives, for their faithful companionship, and for the cherished reminiscences which endure. May God comfort all who mourn. May God grant them strength to see beyond their sorrow, and sustain them in their grief. In solemn testimony to that unbroken faith which links our generations one to another, those observing Yahrzeit and those who mourn now take a silent minute to contemplate their faith in God, to magnify and sanctify God’s holy name. Amen
(Adapted from the mourner’s Kaddish)
There are often times, O God, when I feel alone, and yet I know in my heart that I am never alone. You are always there waiting for me to speak to You of my desires, hopes and dreams.
Yet how seldom do I reach out to You to voice my gratitude for all that is beautiful in my life… all the gifts of my life. Love, family, friendship, have come from You.
But the greatest gift of all is Your presence, which time and again has given me strength, faith and courage.
Now, in the midst of doubt and confusion, I need to know that You are beside me in the depth of my being. With You there, I know I am not alone – ever.
My Friend, my strength, my God. From Gates of Healing ©1988 by Central Conference of American Rabbis.
From Friend Andre Armstrong:
Here’s a prayer or devotional often credited to Mother Teresa. She wasn’t the original author, but posted it in her room. It’s one of my favorites.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Muslim prayer for those suffering loss
Exceed not in your religion the bounds of what is proper, trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by—who misled many and strayed themselves from the even way. (The Holy Qur’an, Surah 5:77)
In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful. Praise be to Allah, the cherisher and sustainer of the worlds, most gracious, most merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment, you do we worship, and your aid do we seek. Show us the straight way: the way of those on whom you have bestowed your grace. We humbly ask that you shower blessings and restore peace to all those suffering loss, and grant all people wisdom and compassion. Amen
Prayer of Beautiful Memories
A bouquet of beautiful memories,
Sprayed with a million tears,
Wishing God could have
If just for a few more years.
It does not take a special day,
For us to think of you,
Each Mass we hear,
Each prayer we say,
Is offered up for you.
We cannot bring the old days back,
When we were all together,
Our family chain is broken now,
But memories live for ever
Helen Keller and God.
This is a true story of Helen Keller not long after she learned to hear through someone writing on her palm:
One day she asked her guardian/tutor to tell her about God. So as best she could the guardian/tutor began to try explain the Lord to her deaf, dumb and blind charge about the nature of God and Jesus and Their work in the world. After quite a long time and great struggle to find the right words the guardian/tutor finished and asked Helen if she understood what was told to her. Her response was, “I always knew God, I just did not know what He looked like.”
Buddhist Blessing and Healing Chant
Just as the soft rains fill the streams, pour into the rivers and join together in the oceans, so may the power of every moment of your goodness flow forth to awaken and heal all beings, Those here now, those gone before, those yet to come.
By the power of every moment of your goodness…
May your heart’s wishes be soon fulfilled, as completely shining as the bright full moon, as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.
May all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.
May no obstacle come across your way.
May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.
For all in whose heart dwells respect, who follow the wisdom and compassion of the Way, May your life prosper in the four blessings, of old age, beauty, happiness and strength.
From Heaven’s Inspirations, A letter from God
As you got up I watched and hoped you would talk
to me. Just a few words, such as thanking me for
something good in your life yesterday or last
week, would do.
But I noticed you were busy selecting the right
clothes for work. I waited again to hear from you.
When you ran around the house collecting papers,
I knew there would be a few minutes to stop and
say hello, but you never slowed down.
I wanted to tell you that I could help you
accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible
if you would just spend some of each day with me.
At one point you waited fifteen minutes in a chair
with nothing to do. I waited to hear from you.
Then I saw you spring to your feet; I thought
you wanted to talk to me, but you ran to the
phone and called a friend. I watched as off
to work you went and waited patiently all day
long to hear from you. With all your activities
you were too busy to talk with me.
I noticed at lunch you looked around; maybe you
just felt embarrassed to talk to me. You glanced
three tables over and noticed some of your friends
talking to me before they ate, but you wouldn’t.
There was still more time left, and I hoped that we
would talk. You went home and had many things to do.
After they were done, you turned on the TV; just
about anything goes there and you spend many hours
watching. I waited as you continued watching TV and
ate your meal but again you wouldn’t talk to me.
At bedtime you were totally tired. After you said
good night to your family you plopped into bed and
fell asleep. I had so much wanted to be part of your
day. We could have had so much fun and accomplished
so much together.
I love you so much that I wait everyday for a thought,
prayer or thanks. Well, maybe tomorrow! I’ll be waiting.
Nondenominational Prayers for Healing
These four nondenominational prayers for healing have been selected by the pastoral care staff at the UCSF/Mount Zion Medical Center.
My God and God of all generations, in my great need I pour out my heart to you. Long days and weeks of suffering are hard to endure. In my struggle, I reach out for the help that only you can give. Let me feel that you are near, and that your care enfolds me. Rouse me with the strength to overcome my weakness, and brighten my spirit with the assurance of your love. Help me to sustain the hopes of my loved ones as they strive to strengthen and encourage me. May the healing power you have placed within me give me the strength to recover so I may fulfill my journey in the Divine Plan.
In sickness I turn to you, O God, as a child turns to a parent for comfort and help. Strengthen within me the wondrous power of healing that you have implanted in your children. Guide my doctors and nurses, that they may speed my recovery. Let the knowledge of your love comfort my loved ones, lighten their burdens and renew their faith. May my sickness not weaken my faith in you, nor diminish my love for other human beings. From my illness may I gain a truer appreciation of life’s gifts, a deeper awareness of life’s blessings, and a fuller sympathy for all who are in pain.
Send me, O God, your healing, so that I may quickly recover from the illness that has come upon me. Sustain my spirit, relieve my pain and restore me to perfect health, happiness and strength. Grant unto my body your healing power so I may continue to be able to bear testimony to your everlasting mercy and love, for you, O Lord, art a faithful and merciful healer.
Prayer to be at Peace
Do not fear the changes of life–
Rather look to them with full hope as they arise.
God, whose very own you are,
Will deliver you from out of them.
He has kept you hitherto,
And He will lead you safely through all things;
And when you cannot stand it,
God will bury you in His arms.
Do not be afraid of what may happen tomorrow;
The same everlasting Father who cares for you today
Will take care of you then and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering,
Or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at Peace–
And put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.
–St. Francis de Sales
A prayer for aging with dignity
I don’t want to grow old God. I don’t want any part of it. But since I have no power to stop the clock, my prayer is this: Let me age with grace.
Show me the way, God. Be with me. Grant health to my body and clarity to my mind. Give me strength. Help me to overcome my vanity. Teach me to combat self-pity. Don’t allow me to become set in my ways. Shield me from isolation and from loneliness.
May the love of my family and friends be my reward for all the struggles of my youth.
Let all the blessings of age emanate from me. Let wisdom flow from my mouth, let compassion flow from my heart, let acts of kindness flow from my arms, let faith flow from my soul, let joy shine forth from my eyes. Amen.
A morning prayer
There are so many things I take for granted. May I not ignore them today.
Just for today, help me, God, to remember that my life is a gift, that my health is a blessing, that this new day is filled with awesome potential, that I have the capacity to bring something wholly new and unique and good into this world.’
Just for today, help me, God, to remember to be kind and patient to the people who love me, and to those who work with me too. Teach me to see all the beauty that I so often ignore, and to listen to the silent longing of my own soul.
Just for today, help me, God, to remember You.
Let this be a good day, God, full of joy and love. Amen.
A prayer for the body
Thank You, God, for the body You have given me. Most of the time I take my health for granted. I forget how fortunate I am to live without pain or disability, how blessed I am to be able to see and hear and walk and eat. I forget that this body of mine, with all its imperfections is a gift from You.
When I am critical of my appearance, remind me, God, that I am created in Your holy image. If I become jealous of someone else’s appearance, teach me to treasure my unique form.
Help me, God, to care for my body. Teach me to refrain from any action that will bring harm to me. If I fall prey to a self-destructive habit, fill me with the strength to conquer my cravings.
Lead me to use my body wisely, God. Guide my every limb, God, to perform acts of compassion and kindness.
I thank You, God, for creating me as I am. Amen.
A blessing for healing (for physical and spiritual healing that can be said with the laying on of hands)
May God heal your body and soul.
May your pain cease,
May your strength increase,
May your fears be released,
May blessings, love, and joy surround you.
Prayer for Common Ground
Today, may I be open to others’ ideas and beliefs,
respectful of our differences, not threatened by them.
May I grow in understanding of my own motives,
knowing that people often act out of their own fears.
May I be a force for replacing fear with insight,
helping us all to be patient and kind as we talk.
Strength, real strength, can always find compromise,
working together, may we find a common ground,
enable us to move forward with a shared purpose.
May we see what is truly important and unites us,
focusing on that, to banish road blocks of ego and fear,
today, may I be open to others’ ideas and beliefs.
Bless this day with healing, bless it with
radiant sun energy, fill each cell of the body,
bringing a flood of healthy energy to all the body,
banishing illness & disease, as healing grows.
May the abundant powers of health flourish within,
each day, may they expand & grow stronger,
bringing the gifts of vitality, strength & wellbeing,
Blessings flow now with ample energy & happiness.
A Healing Prayer for a Child
Heal this child & bring wellness
remove disease & banish germs
strengthen this child’s immune system
the gift of health is needed now.
Bless this loving child
Prayer for a Sick Child
Bless this sick child who struggles,
radiant healing energy is needed now,
amplify this child’s courage & immunity
bless this child’s family with hope.
Bless this sick child who struggles,
each day this child can grow stronger.
May healing move within, banishing illness,
as radiant energy renews the life force.
Bless this sick child who struggles,
health begins to return, even before it can be seen,
May this child grow steadily stronger, Bless this child.
Affirmation for a Sick Child
May this child grow strong and healthy
with each breath, each moment, healing grows,
illness recedes, grows weaker and fades away.
Health is growing stronger and more vibrant now,
new fluids enter each cell, bringing healthy balance,
toxins are carried away & released through sweat.
Breath brings in healing energy, feeding the blood,
healthy blood flows, cleansing itself, renewing itself,
feeding all of this child’s body with needed strength,
this child is growing strong, healing is underway.
Prayer for Healing Laughter
Bless me with laughter and an easy smile
May I put away cares more easily, and relax
May I know the great healing powers of laughter
May I see that laughter makes all things better
Laughter moves through the body, healing and repairing,
Soothing, calming and replenishing, body and spirit
Bless me with laughter, now and always.
Copyright Abby Willowroot 2009
Blessing of Exercise
I walk and my heart grows strong
each day there is time to work my muscles
each day there is a hunger in my body, to move,
to work, to stretch, to renew, to balance.
Bless this day with the health exercise brings me,
habits change and evolve as I embrace my own strength
to grow, to change, to thrive, to live.
Invocation of Health
I call upon health to fill me now,
in every muscle, every bone, every organ,
in every cell, every molecule of my body,
my body is moving toward healthy balance,
in every thought, every action, every choice,
I am supporting my body, mind & spirit in health,
living today and everyday with active awareness
that health is a radiant, bright gift, to be treasured
Blessing of Time Granted
I am ever grateful for the gift of more time.
I thought my time was over, my days complete,
then a miracle came and my time was exttended.
Choices await my wise use of this precious time,
may I ever be grateful for the time and use it well,
aware that each new day is a gift to be treasured,
each new experience is an unexpected blessing,
may I use them carefully, wisely and well,
using part of my time to love, laugh & feel joy.
I have new chances to expand my awareness,
to grow my spirit in compassion and understanding.
Bless this day, this hour, this minute, this moment.
I am ever grateful for the gift of more time.
An Alzheimers Prayer
Bless me with courage and time.
May I accept the ravages of this disease,
knowing that as time passes, memories will pass too,
may I celebrate each moment of clarity, aware it will fade,
do all I can to stay happy and enjoy this day, today,
being willing to express my feelings to those I love.
May my spirit stay strong, my heart loving,
memory will diminish, may I truly treasure it today,
accepting that life will change, isolating the now,
bringing a time of changes, a time of difficulty,
a time when loved ones will carry my memories.
Bless me on this journey of forgetfulness,
a journey whose destination is peace
Bless me with courage and time.
Prayer for a Loved One with Alzheimers
Bless this day with clarity and remembering.
May confusion be temporary and fear be minimal,
compassion, understanding and strength be with me
make me accepting of the inevitability of memory loss,
cheerful each day, as I celebrate what remains sharp,
make me patient with things that cannot be helped,
grateful for each lucid moment spent together,
kindness fill my heart and courage fill my spirit,
each day, may I be a comforting blessing.
Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 3,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.
You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.
Please view our new music video “Dawn Anita The Gift of Life” on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYFFJoHJwHs. This video is free to anyone who wants to use it and no permission is needed.
If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just email me email@example.com and ask for a copy of “Life, Pass it on.“ This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills.
Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.