Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Inviting God to the Bedside

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5: 16

Randy was suffering from a difficult illness. As I took his history, I asked him about his religious faith.
“I was raised_____, but I’m really secular now.”
As I finished his examination and laid out the plan for his treatment, I assured him that I would provide the best care possible and that I would be praying for him.
“Don’t get me wrong, Doc, I accept prayers from anyone."
“Would you like for me to pray for you now?”
“I sure would.”
“I’m a Christian and can only pray as a follower of Christ.”
“That’s fine.”

Do we seek to pray with our patients?
Do we, with respect for our patients’ spiritual autonomy before God and with their permission, pray with them for God’s good to come into their lives?
If we do, what good does this sometimes awkward, bedside prayer accomplish?
It certainly is a witness to our faith.
It certainly lets those we seek to serve know that we are concerned about them beyond their biology and their pocketbooks.
It may help our patients realize that their life is dependent on our Creator and it may open up communion between them and the Father.
It focuses us, as their doctors, on the eternal nature of the patients we are treating and our dependence on Him for their healing.
And, most importantly, our prayer invites the God of the Universe to enter our patients’ lives with love and power.
So, why don’t we more often pray with our patients?

Dear God,
Just as I pray for my patients each day when I am alone with You, help me to more often pray with them in Your presence.

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