While in Kansas City, MO for a workshop, I picked up a book by Katie Maxwell titled Bedside Manners: A Practical Guide to Visiting the Ill. (BakerBooks) This is always something I’ve struggled with — saying the right things, doing the right things. I was reading a few passages from it and was struck by two prayers from the wonderful book. Even when I am not dealing with persons in the hospital, I find these prayers applicable/adaptable for my life.
A Visitor’s Prayer
Beneath whose eye and within those love the story of our lives is told; give me grace to pause in my hurried pace to bear your love and bring your grace to someone ill this day. Let me listen without judgement, care without condition, pray without ceasing; just tell me what to say. Go before, walk beside; live within I pray. I am ready, Lord, guide me in my way.
(prayer by Dr. Kenneth C. Working)
A Caregiver’s Prayer
Gracious God, I confess how mixed my feelings are. I’ve got my health, and I should be grateful. but, why do I feel so empty sometimes? And, why do I feel resentment at helping? But, sometimes I do feel resentment. I do feel poured out, depleted, empty. God, help me accept my mixed feelings and most importantly, help me so that I don’t inflict my pain on the one I most want to help.
Dear God, when I feel so tired and worn down, help me find the strength to carry on. And, save me from heroics. Help me put aside my pride and find the courage to ask for help. Thank you for the gift of life with all its pain, questions, and mysteries. Thank you for this life for which I am privileged to care, for this precious friend, mate, lover.
(Rev. Steve Smith)