The Taser's Edge

A Prayer for Healing

Jesus, let me not be so concerned to have clean suturing and to be infection-free and to have no visible scars and to grieve all of this in the “right” way that I miss something that your body is saying to mine. I don’t understand how or why you still have the wounds we gave you, but I know that the way you teach me is to bend your broken body over mine, face-to-face, heart-to-heart, stripe-to-stripe, bruise-to-bruise. Your healing is mystery, woundedness touching woundedness and sanctifying it into wholeness. What I’m asking is, help my wounds to be like yours. Let me know that these cuts and gashes and holes do not say that I am not whole. In your name, Amen.

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Nick, is this your own composition? I would like to use this in a class I’m teaching at Duke later this month (in the course Anglican Spirituality and the Prayer Book) on the ministry of healing. I’m drawing a good deal of the theological reflection on the Prayer Book rite for healing from Therese Lysaught’s dissertation from a decade or so ago, and this prayer fits perfectly.

Comment by Todd Granger

Todd, this comment just made my day. Yes, I did write the prayer, and yes, you are certainly welcome to use it. Who’s teaching the course this time around?

I’m not familiar with Lysaught’s dissertation, but I spent a lot of time with the Prayer Book over at Duke Hospital when I was a chaplain resident there. Now that you mention it, that Prayer for the Sanctification of Illness (p. 460 in the 1979), which has affected me deeply since the first time I read it, must have really made a place for itself inside me, as it looks like it’s really behind at least part of my prayer.

For others who might come across this comment, the prayer is as follows (brackets added instead of retaining the BCP’s italics because html tags were messing with me):

Sanctify, O Lord, the sickness of your servant [Name], that the sense of his [or her] weakness may add strength to his [or her] faith and seriousness to his [or her] repentance; and grant that he [or she] may live with you in everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Comment by tasersedge

Thanks, Nick. I thought the theology of the Prayer for the Sanctification of Illness had influenced this prayer.

Timothy Kimbrough, sometime Rector of Church of the Holy Family (formerly my priest), and now Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville, is teaching the course this semester.

Comment by Todd Granger

Lysaught’s dissertation was a theological reflection on the place of suffering in redemption and in the Church from a Roman Catholic perspective, drawing on the contemporary Roman rites for healing. Much the same theology informs the Prayer Book rite(s), so almost all of her insights are applicable.

Comment by Todd Granger

The title of the dissertation is _Sharing Christ’s Passion: A Critique of the Role of Suffering in the Discourse of Biomedical Ethics in Light of the Theological Practice of Anointing of the Sick_ (M. Therese Lysaught). It was written for her PhD from Duke, and I don’t think that it’s been published, though she has written extensively otherwise on medical ethics.

Comment by Todd Granger

[…] and set of sensations while woundedness is about the changes that suffering causes in us, sometimes forever. At the encouragement of a friend, I finally got a copy of C.S. Lewis’ A Grief […]

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