Prayer For Comfort - The 23rd Psalm
One great assurance that Christians rely upon is found in Christ’s last words to all believers, “I am with you always to the close of the age.” This promise affords believers a divine companion whose goodness exceeds understanding and who has come into the world as a servant to set people free. Scripture proclaims that like light shining in the darkness, Christ’s goodness has come into the world to dispel our fears and to illumine the way ahead. As Jesus promised he is light for the world and in this “light of life” we are never alone.
As I now light this candle I invite you where you are in the hospital, to come into the light and sense that the goodness of Christ is shining upon you. Through making this video available to your loved ones, I also invite them to light candles and to spiritually join you in the goodness of Christ’s presence. As we light candles in different locations, we are acknowledging that the goodness of Christ’s presence in one location is the same presence in another location. Though you are separated from each other, you are together in the light of Christ. In this difficult time of illness, isolation and fear, Christ is the Light whose presence brings you comfort and hope to share with one another.
Christians speak of God as light because what God generously shares with us is the best of God’s own self. In sharing this with us in the person of Christ, God shares the goodness of divine life which is best described as God wellbeing. When God shares this wellbeing with us, it gives us both hope in every circumstance and a future that cannot be taken away. When Christ brought this well being to earth he called it “peace that passes all understanding.” When Christ taught about his followers’ future, he named it as a time of fulfillment, a day of being united with God’s wellbeing. When you understand this you have reason to trust that great promise that nothing today, tomorrow or forever can separate you from the love of God. In his letter to the Romans, Paul makes it clear that he is “convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come …will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”1 If Christians have such a destiny, then your love for those at home and their love for you in the hospital will find fulfillment. Let us rest in this certain hope.
In the light of Christ receive now the blessing of the 23rd Psalm that declares for Christians that the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ is leading all of you together ahead.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
he makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Amen.
I invite all of you where ever you are to repeat after me the last two stanzas of this great Psalm. Please repeat these words:
Surely goodness and mercy
Shall follow me all the days of my life
And I shall dwell
In the house of the Lord forever. Amen.
1 Romans 8:38-39
Prayer For Forgiveness - The Lord’s Prayer
As followers of Christ we know our faith rests on the Two Great Commandments which are each about love – love for God and love for others. Jesus instructed his followers to put these two commandments into practice. He taught, “By [these acts of love] everyone will know that you are my disciples.” Yet when we look back on our lives, we recognize that we have fallen short. We have not loved God nor others as we had hoped. It is painful to realize that even the people we deeply love, have at times been hurt by our words and actions. Our memories of these times fill us with remorse and regret. This kind of sorrow is difficult to deal with when we are in another person’s company. Yet for those who are hospitalized and isolated, there is no guarantee that there will be an opportunity to address such weighty issues in the immediate future. It is natural to feel cheated by the virus, overwhelmed by frustration, and cast into deep grief over the inability to be fully reconciled and at peace with those you love.
What can you do? How can these important matters be addressed? As Christians we can turn to our connection with our Lord Jesus Christ and rely upon him to include us in the reconciliation he brings into the world. By trusting in the unseen work of Christ, we glimpse what will be eternally true about our connection to Christ and to others. In his letter to the Romans, Paul assures believers that when they are weak, the presence of Christ together with the Holy Spirit helps them express their deepest longings. Paul writes, “We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words…because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance to the will of God.” 1 This is the extraordinary help that you need. It is the Spirit who expresses your deepest longings and then connects you to the compassion and loving will of God for you and your loved ones. Such “unseen work” is the blessing that the Lord himself provides through his own journey of death and resurrection. It is Christ’s joy to share this blessing with you and with your loved ones and to give you both a glimpse of it as you pray the Lord’s Prayer. After watching this video, ask your nurse to relay a message to your loved ones, requesting that they also watch this video and join you in the presence of Christ’s goodness praying for his kingdom and his will to come into your lives.
As I now light this candle I invite you where you are, to come into Christ’s presence. Allow the light of Christ to show you a way through this difficult time, and to dispel all that prevents you from finding peace with those you love. You can trust that your loved ones will be invited through this video to also light a candle wherever they are, and then to join you in the light of Christ in praying the Lord’s Prayer. Though you are physically separated from your loved ones, and they from you, the power of Christ’s presence spiritually unites you. His compassion and forgiving love softens your hearts and introduces reconciliation into your relationships. Let us pause for a moment and let the rays of his light shine the goodness of Christ’s presence upon you.
In the light of Christ’s compassionate presence, please pray with me now the Lord’s Prayer.
Our Father, who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
God, in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray, we thank you that in the light of your divine goodness this patient and his or her loved ones are together with you. May this person’s deep longing to be seen, heard, known, and forgiven by his or her loved ones, take place through the compassion and forgiving love of Christ. Thank you for entering human sorrow, reconciling wrongdoing, renewing relationship as you bring your kingdom to earth. Comfort and strengthen this patient and his or her loved ones in this hour and in the days to come. We pray in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
1 Romans 8:26-27
Food For The Journey - The Sacrament of Communion
[In preparation for Communion nurses/caregivers are asked to provide patients a morsel of bread and small cup of water (grape juice if possible). Loved ones at home are asked to prepare for Communion in the same way.]
Communion takes on a whole new meaning when the participants and their loved ones have been robbed of physical strength, drained of fortitude to remain hopeful, and isolated from all others. Explanations of Communion’s theological meaning and historical significance fall away. When a loved one is sick and a family is in crisis, the significance of receiving communion narrows to gaining strength for today and help in adjusting to the loss of their connection with each other.
For those of you who are hospitalized and are in isolation, you are not alone. You have a companion in Jesus Christ, who in his earthly life was abandoned and suffered both emotional trauma and great physical pain. He has now in spirit returned to earth to provide help to people in their time of need. New Testament scriptures teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is the “pioneer of our salvation”1 and “the perfecter of our faith”2 who in human flesh forged the way for others to follow. These scriptures teach that “he became in every respect like his brothers and sisters”3 in this world and through suffering overcame every challenge. He now returns to “free those who [are] held in the fear of death”4 and to provide them refreshment in his presence and nourishment for the journey that lies ahead.
The Lord is now present with you and those you love, ready to provide you the sustenance of the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. No pastor or deacon or ruling elder needs to be present, for the author and perfecter of your faith virtually stands before you, offering you this meal from his own hand. Jesus during his earthly ministry taught this “food is real food” which “endures for eternal life”5 just as his spiritual presence is real presence which abides always with his followers. Let us now receive the meal that the Lord Jesus Christ invites you to eat in his presence.
The Sacrament of Communion
As I now light this candle, I invite you who are in the hospital, to come into the light and sense Christ’s presence in the room with you. I also invite your loved ones to light candles and to spiritually join you in Christ’s presence. In his presence hear his words as he took bread and broke it and said: “This is my body which is broken for you: do this, remembering me.” In the same way he took the cup and said: “This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood. Whenever you drink it do this, remembering me.”
As you in the hospital and you at home eat this bread, let these words speak to your heart.
“May this bread be the Bread of Life that strengthens you for the journey ahead.”
As you in the hospital and you at home drink from the cup, let these words speak to your heart.
“May this cup be the Cup of Salvation that refreshes and renews you on your journey.”
Prayer of your loved ones for you in the hospital.
God we pray that through this bread and cup (first name of the hospitalized) may sense the presence of Jesus Christ in (_______) and that (_______) uses the Lord’s power “to throw off every hinderance and run with perseverance the race that has been marked out for (_______).” We pray that (first name of the hospitalized) will fix (_______) eyes on the Pioneer of Salvation and follow where he leads this day, tomorrow and forever. Amen.
Prayer of the hospitalized for those they love.
God we pray that through this bread and cup (first names of loved ones) may sense the presence of Jesus Christ in them and that they use the Lord’s power “to throw off every hinderance and run with perseverance the race that has been marked out for them to run.” We pray that they fix their eyes on the Pioneer of Salvation and follow where he leads this day, tomorrow and forever. Amen.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
1 Hebrews 2:10
2 Hebrews 12:2
3 Hebrews 2:17
4 Hebrews 2:15
5 John 6:27
The Testimony of New Life - The Crucifixion and Resurrection
Prayers For The End Of Life (Audio Only)
About Spiritual Library Contributor
Mark Buchanan serves as a Chaplain Intern for UCLA’s Simms/Mann Center and pastor to a local protestant congregation.