Pastoral Prayers for the Hospital Visit
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Pastoral Prayers for the Hospital Visit

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by Sarah Webb Phillips

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Offering prayer is one of the most important parts of a pastor's hospital ministry. These prayers connect persons with the power of God, remind persons who they are as children of God, and sometimes put into words deep experiences of suffering, grief, and pain. These prayers are offered especially for difficult times when you may not be sure how to pray or what to


Offering prayer is one of the most important parts of a pastor's hospital ministry. These prayers connect persons with the power of God, remind persons who they are as children of God, and sometimes put into words deep experiences of suffering, grief, and pain. These prayers are offered especially for difficult times when you may not be sure how to pray or what to pray for. Also related Bible verses are printed in full.

The Just in Time! Series offers brief, practical resources of immediate help for pastors at an affordable price.

Included are prayers related to illness or surgery.

Prayers for persons facing surgery, post surgery that was successful, post surgery that was not successful, anticipating bad news, diagnosed with a serious progressive illness, recovering from heart surgery, suffering from a stroke, dealing with cancer, coping with breast cancer, undergoing chemotherapy, suffering from addiction, unable to be diagnosed with the source of illness, needing a transplant and waiting for an organ, in chronic pain

Prayers related to children and youth: Celebrating the birth of a child, mourning a miscarriage, grieving the loss of a baby near birth, mother choosing adoption for her newborn, adoptive parents receiving their child, pre-mature infant, baby who is hospitalized, child who is hospitalized, youth hospitalized for drug treatment afraid to face parents, youth who most likely will not recover

Prayers related to dying and death: For someone longing to die, prognosis that is not positive, does not have long to live, when death is imminent, prayer over a stillborn infant, for family members who were unable to say goodbye to loved, one before death, for surviving family who lost loved ones in the same accident, for family whose loss was due to suicide

Prayers related to accident or violence: Injured due to street violence, injured due to natural disaster, rape victim, victim of domestic violence, injury due to war

Prayers related to: New immigrant who has fallen ill, recent refugee, college student, suffering depression, patient who also has Alzheimer’s, enduring painful rehabilitation, facing a long recovery, farmer anxious about crops and/or animals, hospitalized while incarcerated, someone unconscious, developmentally disabled patient, attempted suicide (prayer with family present), psychotic patient, worrying over child deployed in the military, worried about paying for the hospital bill, wanting to go home but cannot, wanting prayer for family members, feels guilty about surviving an accident, grieving friends who died in the same accident

Sara Webb Phillips is a United Methodist Pastor and Editor of Homily Service. She currently resides in Durham, North Carolina.

Product Details

Abingdon Press
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Just in Time! Series
Edition description:
Trade Paperback
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5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.30(d)

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Just In Time! Pastoral Prayers for the Hospital Visit

By Sara Webb Phillips

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2006 Abingdon Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-687-49658-7


Pastoral Prayers for Hospitalized Patients

Related to Illness or Surgery

1. Facing Surgery


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 right paths for his name's sake. / Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I 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 my whole life long. (Psalm 23)


Gracious God, we come this morning asking that you continue to bring your comforting presence to Ann and all who care for her. As she faces surgery this morning, we ask that you calm any fears and anxieties she may be experiencing. Bring to her a sense of your ever-present spirit and of your hope, that she might experience wholeness and fullness of life.

Carefully guide the surgeon's hands, eyes, ears, and heart that your healing touch might be felt through the doctor's skill. Be also with the surgical team and the hospital staff that will care for Ann in the days ahead that they might be instruments of your mercy.

Sustain her husband, Robert, and her children, Stacie and Connie, and all who love and care for her, that they may trust in the presence of your steadfast love and be upheld by the prayers of our congregation.

Bring your Holy Spirit upon Ann and embrace her in a circle of hope, courage, and community. Bind us one to another that together we may live toward fullness of life. All this we ask in the name of Jesus, the great healer of us all, who taught us to pray: "Our Father who art in heaven ..." Amen.

2. After Successful Surgery


You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, / will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust." / For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; / he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge. (Psalm 91:1-4a)


God of glory and might, we thank you for your healing power at work within Charles's body. We are grateful for the skill of the surgeon and all who assisted to bring this child of yours through surgery. We are relieved that the prognosis looks good, and that he will soon be active again.

We pray now for good rest, for quality care from the hospital staff, and the loving attention of Charles's family in the coming days of recovery. For all the blessings you give us, we praise you. For all the trials we experience, we ask your grace and mercy. For it is in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

3. After Surgery That Was Not Successful


One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life ... / For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; [God] will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock. / Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me ... / Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! / Do not hide your face from me. (Psalm 27:4-7, 9a)


Almighty and Loving God, we thank you for all the blessings with which you have graced us this day—for love of family and friends, beauty found in the world, the comfort of home, times of productive work, and for the gift of life itself. I lift up Henry in this moment. We are grateful for the doctors and nurses who have tended him and brought him through this surgery. We are anxious about the outcome, and trust that your presence will guide him as he walks this lonesome valley. Do not hide your face from him, but keep him near, granting healing and strength in the coming days. Ground Henry's faith deep in your house forever, for we pray as Jesus taught us: Our Father ...

4. Anticipating Bad News


We have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord ... May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. (Colossians 1:9b-10a, 11-12)


Cleansing and Renewing God, we come before you this day filled with so many emotions—fear, uncertainty, and frustration—as well as faith and hope. We know the way in which you have walked beside us through the many ups and downs in our lives and yet we call upon your presence now more than ever. We want to know what the future holds for us, yet the fear of what that might be threatens to consume us. Calm that fear, Lord. Wrap your loving arms around Rebecca and help her feel your peace and confidence to face the unknown, to realize that you are always with us.

Gracious God, just as Jesus asked if it be possible that this cup would pass from him, there is part of us that wants to ask the same; that we not have to face the news we may hear and what that will mean for our lives. But Lord, we ask now that you give us the courage that Christ had, in order to also pray, "not what we want but what you want, O God." Help us know that what you want is for us to walk in relationship with you through both the good and the bad that life may bring. All this we ask in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

5. Diagnosed with a Serious, Progressive Illness


O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. / Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. / So I will bless you as long as I live. (Psalm 63:1, 3-4a)


God of creation, all of life is your handiwork. You have known and loved us, your children, since before our birth. At this time of great anxiety over what this illness means for Carolyn's future, there is one thing we know for sure; that you will continue to be with her throughout her life journey. Reassure Carolyn and give her strength and courage for the special challenges ahead. Strengthen her relationships with family, friends, and church community that she and they might find comfort in one another and in you. We especially ask your blessing upon the medical team caring for her. We ask all this, knowing that you know our every need even before we ask; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

6. Recovering from Heart Surgery


Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. / Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. / Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:10-12)


Our most gracious God, today you are continuing what you have begun through the hands of so many people—Lee's recovery. Help him do the things that make it possible for him to get better. We know you as a God who has given us embodied hearts to sustain physical life and spiritual hearts to open us to heavenly life. May Lee's heart continue to pump life-giving blood so that he may infuse life-giving hope and purpose to the world in which we live and to the people whose lives he is privileged to touch.

We thank you for the healing already begun through the skill of doctors and nurses, and the miracle of this surgery. Now give Lee strength to do his part in rehabilitation to get stronger. Support his family, who walk this journey with him. In the name of our individual healer and the healer of all nations, Jesus our Lord. Amen.

7. Suffering from a Stroke


Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? / If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. / If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night," / even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:7-8, 11-12)


Dear God, our help in times of trouble, we know that Max has lost the sense of who he is. He has achieved so much: work accomplishments, worldly success, intelligence, and his independence. But now it is a struggle simply to talk and walk. Please show him that his identity is not measured by what he achieves. Help him understand his purpose in life and follow the path that you have prepared for him.

Show us that, through your love, we have the strength to follow our life's path through mountains and valleys, because you are at our side to guide us. Especially let Max know of your presence in a powerful way through these next days of rehabilitation. Help him understand that he has always been dependent on your care and love. Now help him accept the support of others. Give Beth and their boys the strength and patience to help in ways they never contemplated.

Give Max the courage to work hard at recovery but also to accept what he may not recover. Let him not cling to his old life, but give him the faith that you will show him how to live a new and different life.

Help him find gratitude in his life and show him ways to contribute to the well-being of others, not only his friends and family, but those less fortunate. Show him how to continue to be the giver and not just the receiver of love, concern, care, and support. Show Max ways to laugh again and hope again. Like Jesus' passion on the cross, our darkness is followed by light—the light of new life, the light of lasting peace. We pray in that name of peace—Jesus. Amen.

8. Dealing with Cancer


"Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

"So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today." (Matthew 6:31-34)


Life-giving Creator, you formed our inward being and knit us together in our mother's womb. Now your child Jenny needs your strength and presence in her life to face the hours and days of living with cancer. Remind us again, God, that you are always at work to bring good in the midst of all things; even the pain of our weakening bodies caused by the invasion of illness. When we find that all we can do is cry out to you and desperately plead for relief from pain and sorrow, hear our prayer, O God, and strengthen our resolve.

Healing God, renew Jenny in your love this day and grant her hope and life as a gift of your faithfulness. Grant her the strength to face each hour of this day and every day with courage and gratitude, and help her not to worry. May she know the signs of your healing and sustaining presence that are ever about us. Surround her with your comfort to ease the suffering and uncertainty of this cancer. Especially grant strength and comfort to her family, as they undergird her with love. May all of us learn to greet each day with prayerful thanksgiving. But when we cannot pray as we ought, because our pain and sorrow is too overwhelming, let the interceding of your Spirit be a presence beyond any words that can be spoken.

God, we thank you for the life we know in this day and we commit our lives into your loving care. We offer you now the faith we have and ask that you strengthen it and sustain Jenny in this time. We pray in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

9. Coping with Breast Cancer


Give ear to my words, O Lord; give heed to my sighing. / Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray. / Let all who take refuge in you rejoice, let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you. (Psalm 5:1-2, 11)


Excerpted from Just In Time! Pastoral Prayers for the Hospital Visit by Sara Webb Phillips. Copyright © 2006 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Sara Webb Phillips was born and raised in Jackson, Tennessee. She earned her bachelors degree fromThe University of Tennessee-Martin andlater earned her Master of Divinity from Emory University. Sara is married to the Rev. Dr. Ed Phillips, who teaches at Candler School of Theology. They have three daughters. Sara has published several books (and co-authored with Ed), served as editor of a preaching journal and has been active on many levels of leadership in The United MethodistChurch. A few of Sara's hobbies include cheering on her favorite college basketball and football teams (Duke, TN Vols, Notre Dame and now Georgia teams), music, movies, reading, gardening and traveling. She feels very blessed in life!

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