EXPRESSIONS OF PRAYER
Read Philippians 4: 4-9
In every situation, by prayer and petition, with
thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
I work as a hospital chaplain, providing spiritual and
emotional care to patients and their families. Usually I end
my visits by offering to pray with the patient, lifting to God
the hopes, concerns, requests, and joys they have named.
But some patients aren’t interested in deep conversation and
simply want me to offer a prayer. I often feel that my prayers
are shallow when I don’t know what these patients hold
dear, what their dreams and fears are, and where they have
invested their love.
When I shared this struggle with my supervisor, he
responded by saying, “You feel that these prayers are inade-
quate because words are inadequate.” He is right. Even when
I am able to carefully craft and personalize my prayers for a
patient, words cannot adequately express the pain of parents
who have lost a child, the joy of a new transplant recipient, or
the shock of a cancer patient given three months to live. “Go
and use words to pray with those families,” my supervisor
continued. “But remember that your presence, your body
language, and your ability to
empathize are also a part of
Maybe this is what Paul
meant when he advised the
Philippians to pray “in every
situation.” A rejoicing spirit, a gentle demeanor, and a calm
presence are powerful expressions of prayer.
Prayer: O God, may our prayers extend beyond our words
into our loving presence in the world. Amen.
Teresa Coda (Massachusetts)
Prayer Focus: HOSPITAL CHAPLAINS
— Philippians 4: 6 (NIV)
Thought for the Day
My prayers are meaningful
even when words fail.