Prescription for Prayer
January 25, 2022
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV).
Day one of my internal medicine rotation, I walked through the hospital doors filled with excitement and eager to put the past two years of studying to practical use by taking care of real patients. Right away, my preceptor sent me to the emergency department where I met my first patient, Mr. X, a 50-year-old male presenting with dysuria. He was filled with fear and feeling all alone. As I made sure to obtain a thorough history and physical exam, I found it impossible to ignore the emotions behind his teary eyes. Mr. X had mentioned he was a Christian, so it felt appropriate to ask if he would like me to pray with him to ease his nerves. His face immediately brightened, and I took his hand as we both prayed, and he gained peace of mind in that instant. I had the pleasure of taking care of this patient for almost a month in the hospital due to him being so ill. I was able to visit him every day during that time, and we would pray together daily. He told me on several occasions how grateful he was to have a fellow Christian to be with him during his time of need. He encouraged me to never lose that desire to share my faith with patients. It was amazing to see God work in both of our lives!
One of the biggest things I’ve learned as I have been praying with patients is how it has positively impacted my personal prayer life. I have noticed that praying became so much more natural for me while I’m driving to the hospital or while I’m scrubbing in before an operating room case. I find myself praying during my lunch hour and when walking my dog. My prayer life is so much more robust now than it ever had been before.
I have also noticed that over time the focus of my prayers has shifted. My focus has increasingly become on God’s will instead of what I want, and I have seen this change in my prayers with patients as well. Remembering that we are servants in God’s kingdom helps keep things in perspective for me. When you begin to pray with God’s will at the forefront, you have such a peace even in times of tumult and suffering. This helps us keep pressing on as Christian healthcare professionals, never losing sight of our purpose as we treat our patients: to glorify God.
We praise you for the Holy God that you are. Help us to fix our eyes on you always, keeping your will at the center of our prayer life.
Amy Rathbone, MS-4