Monday Matines: A Prayer for Hospital Visits
For some reason, by the time I had graduated from high school, I had developed an incredible fear of hospitals. I hated them. Bad.
Once, during my sophomore year of college, my co-RA (kind of like a “dorm-older-brother”) and I went to visit one of our students who was sick and in the hospital. Immediately when I walked in, I could feel myself go flush. I felt like I had been stabbed by a needle, and I really hate needles. My friend looked at me. He cocked his head to the side as if to say, “What’s wrong?” I shrugged, as if to say, “Idunno.” As we continued to trek towards the students room I became noticeably short of breath. “Seriously, dude, are you ok” No. I was having a panic attack because I was fine. The hospital had that dramatic of an affect on me.
This caused a fairly large bit trouble for me. I deeply felt called to pastoral ministry and hospital visits is part of the gig. I began to pray that God would begin to help me with this, not knowing what that would mean.
A few years, yes-years, later God answered my prayers. One of my closest friends in seminary had a son who had significant health problems. As fate would have it, his son was being treated at a hospital just a few miles from my church. His son was in the St. Josephs for months. I began to every now and again visit my friend Adam and his son Lowry. Slowly, God began to help me be calm in hospitals. Around the same time, I took a class with Steve Brown. Steve helped me to see that when I went to the hospital, it wan’t to be a hero, or a doctor, but a friend and a pastor.
I am deeply grateful to Adam and Steve as well as Bo Byrne and Tom Sandoff who all helped me to understand the art of pastoring alongside the nurses. I am also grateful to Julian Riddle and Tim Melton for giving me the opportunities at Surfside to go on hospital visits.
With all that in mind, if I ever visit you in the hospital, you will probably hear me pray somethings like this:
Great God, our Father
You are the maker of all things and sustainer of them all too.
You have made our bodies with all of their beauty and frailty.
You are not surprised by our sickness, nor do you fail to care for us in these times.
Father, help us to remember that this illness is not due to our sins, but for your glory.
God, help us to remember that you are the great healer
Whether you choose to heal my friend or allow his sickness to continue, we ask that we would feel your presence.
We ask that you would help us to see you as our great and loving shepherd.
You have in mind our eternal good and so we ask that you would help us to trust your current providence.