Prayers for the sick are a great way to ask God for His healing and to give you, or your loved ones, comfort and strength to deal with afflictions. Are you undergoing an illness of some sort? Or do you know someone who is? As we all know, while our Lord in His Passion opened up for us the gates of Heaven, He did not create Heaven on Earth. We often travel in this life through a “valley of tears,” as we say in the prayer Hail Holy Queen. Illness is just one of many misfortunes people face in a world steeped in sin.
Among our prayers for the sick we offer this short one below:
Almighty and Everlasting God, the eternal salvation of those who believe in You, hear us on behalf of Your servants who are sick, for whom we humbly beg the help of your mercy, so that, being restored to health, they may render thanks to you in your Church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
We also have among our selections a moving prayer in time of sickness, a prayer for a cure, a prayer for grace in sickness, and a prayer for those undergoing medical tests.
Our Lord said that we would each have our crosses to bear in this life (Matt 10:38). However, he also gave us hope in trusting in Him to help see us through our difficulties. He said, as we read in Matthew’s Gospel “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest….For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Matt 11:28-30).
Prayers for the sick, as with all prayers, can help our Lord ease our burdens by giving us His graces to deal with them so that we can bear our crosses with more equanimity and with more patience. Also, uniting our sufferings in prayer with Christ’s on the Cross helps us make amends for our sins and those of others. This can have a powerful effect in saving souls!
As Bishop Fulton Sheen put it “Love does not have the power to kill pain or to extinguish it, but it does have the power to diminish it. One can say ‘I will accept this particular suffering in order to make reparation for my own faults’. Or we can offer up suffering for others. Thus through love of God suffering becomes sacrifice.” And, what’s more, as he said, “Once offered as a sacrifice, pain can liberate the soul and turn a curse into a blessing.”
Although we might wish our Lord would heal us of our afflictions as quickly (and miraculously!) as He did for so many while in His earthly ministry (such as is shown in this picture above), we might not get timely relief. Yet Jesus can work on healing our souls, if not our bodies, right away, in increasing our humility, our compassion, and our desire to love others, through our prayers.
So, there are two valuable benefits from prayers for the sick: they can help those who are ill (and their loved ones) keep calm and patient in stressful or physically or emotionally unpleasant situations. And, as offerings to Jesus on the cross in atonement for sins, they can have enormous redemptive value.
St. Francis de Sales once wrote: “The Prayer of the sick person is his patience and his acceptance of his sickness for the love of Jesus Christ. Make sickness itself a prayer, for there is none more powerful, save [except] martyrdom!” We hope these selections linked above can give you and your loved ones comfort and strength. And don’t be afraid to post your own prayers on our prayer requests page as well!