Prayer in hard times

When life gets us down — perhaps because of an unexpected illness, a change in financial status or our disappointment in the choices made by someone we love — we have many options for how we are going to cope

When life gets us down — perhaps because of an unexpected illness, a change in financial status or our disappointment in the choices made by someone we love — we have many options for how we are going to cope. Some choose to call a dear friend who always has the right things to say in the face of a crisis. Many call out to God in prayer. Such prayers can take many forms. They may be just two words repeated over and over — “Help me, help me, help me.” They may be expressed in silence and tears or in the question, “Why me?”

To the new church in Rome, the Apostle Paul wrote to bring comfort in the face of suffering. Paul said, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).

In those moments when hope feels far away, these words can bring assurance. When we do not have the words to say, God’s Spirit is already with us, helping us, and calling out to God on our behalf “with sighs too deep for words.” For many patients I have had the pleasure of caring for, we sometimes imagine God’s Spirit bringing hopes, dreams, fears, anxieties and worries to God on their behalf. These quiet moments of reflection can help bring a sense of peace when the ability to pray feels difficult. It also can be a comfort to have a friend, family member or chaplain pray when a situation feels hopeless. In that moment, often that special person has just the right words to help heal the soul and calm the heart.

Chaplains are available and glad to offer care to all patients and families at Norton Healthcare facilities, no matter how easy or difficult a hospitalization is going. It is our hope that no matter what the circumstances in which our patients find themselves, they feel they have companions along the way to help navigate the road.

– The Rev. Skye Murray, M.Div., BCC, chaplain, Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital


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