Here is a prayer for the sick to turn to Jesus or Our Lady to obtain relief for us and our loved ones
Illness is a state of suffering that involves all human beings to varying degrees and at different times in their lives. The cognition of our state as frail and helpless creatures inevitably passes through the suffering of the body, through that pain that from childhood we discover to be ours alone, against which nothing can be done by mother’s affection, the care brought by those who love us. As we grow up this awareness becomes stronger and more ingrained, as throughout our lives we fall prey to the suffering of those around us, from the illness of our loved ones. But in this painful state, at the very moment when we realize our vulnerability, prayer comes to our aid. Here then, prayer for the sick, to be prayed for ourselves or for a suffering loved one, becomes not only an instrument of faith, but a relief for the spirit exacerbated by anxiety, by pain.
Prayer for the sick is not a prayer for physical healing, for that it is appropriate to turn to the doctor and those who have the tools to care for us. But praying can prove to be an unparalleled help in dealing with illness and suffering, a balm for body and soul. After all, man has always invoked God, or the Virgin or certain saints for help and comfort in cases of serious illness, so much so that one can identify several patron saints who are also called healer saints to invoke in cases of particularized diseases. We also think of the requests for graces to be addressed to Our Lady, our Heavenly Mother with humility and faith in the Marian month, reciting the rosary or the novena to Our Lady who loosens knots.
It is precisely in recognizing our inability to cope with illness and physical pain on our own that we accept our fate as fragile and imperfect creatures, and we defer to God’s will, to His immense love, which we can invoke in the hope of finding relief from suffering and being healed. Even the practice of the anointing of the sick, which comes from Jesus, His deep love for the sick and suffering, makes us realize how much the Church and those who are part of it rely on divine mercy for help in sickness. Christ laid His hands on the sick and invalid, invoking miraculous healing from God the Father, and in the same way the priest anoints the sick, calling down blessing and Grace on them in their hour of greatest suffering.
But there is more. In recent years many scholars, scientists and theologians, have shown that praying is indeed a medicine that can heal the body through the soul. When we pray, we gather ourselves into ourselves, in a meditative form that causes physical effects as well: reduction of heart rate and blood pressure, just to name two, but also a significant reduction of cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone,” and a loosening of muscle tension. All of these physical effects would strengthen our immune response against any disease, helping the body maintain a general state of health and counteract diseases such as arteriosclerosis, increased cholesterol, and diabetes. In addition, prayer would increase serotonin levels in the blood, helping to better manage emotionality and countering anxiety, depression, insomnia, impulsivity, and stress. Prayer as a medicine, then, making us sick less and heal sooner.
“Pray without tiring and never forget to give thanks to God” (Colossians 4:2), but also “He proposed this parable to them again to show that they should pray always and not grow weary.” (Luke 18:1) In the Scriptures, Jesus often exhorts those around him to pray without ever growing weary, because prayer, when cultivated with perseverance, helps to nurture one’s inner strength and make us stronger against evil and disease. Through prayer God knows our needs and can help us meet them.
Here is the text of a prayer for the sick, just one of the most famous:
who in your life you have always shown care,
understanding and affection
for sick people, hear my voice
as a sick and suffering person.
My being rebels against illness,
to the hospital stay,
to the precariousness of the current situation
At this moment it is difficult for me to repeat.
“Thy will be done.”
but I want to at least try
to accept this situation.
To believe that my suffering
associated with your passion,
will gain meaning and value for others as well.
Bless the people who care for me,
those who care for me, those who remember me
And those who suffer with me.
Give me the courage to suffer
And the hope to heal,
That I may yet praise and thank You,
giver of life and Father of mercy. Amen.