Days of Grace: Meditations and Practices for Living with Illness by Mary C. Earle. 


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Day Five

I Will Bless the Lord

Written By Mary C. Earle

Practice Note

Meditation: <listen>

I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall ever be in my mouth.
—Psalm 34:1

How to live with illness? How to find a path of life in the midst of treatment, procedures, blood work and hospitalizations? How to find a practice of prayer in the midst of all of that?

Some years ago, when I was making a call on an older parishioner in a hospital, Joanna told me that in the night, when she could not sleep, she made a practice of praying for everyone in the hospital. She would ask God to bless each patient, family member, each doctor, each nurse, each nurse’s assistant, each janitor, each cook, each lab tech. I remember being taken aback by her capacity to pray for others in the midst of her own distress.

Joanna was in her 80s, and she had a great gift for intercessory prayer. She was speaking from the fruit of her life experience, from her own familiarity with diminishment and increasing pain. “I bless God by asking God to bless all these others. We are all connected, you know.”  She said this with her typical Joanna-smile, and with the authority of a woman who had been a teacher for most of her life.

This day, allow yourself the space and time to ask God’s blessing on those who live with the same illness that afflicts you. Ask God’s blessing on the researchers who create medicines and treatments that allow you to live with the illness. And remember especially those who have no access to medical care. In remembering them, we bless God who blesses us.

Gracious God of Life and Mercy, grant me the awareness of others who live with illness. Teach me to pray for those who care and tend the sick. And may my prayers bless You. Amen.

Practice: <listen>

Write down the names of others that you know who live with the same ailment that you do. If you live with something rare, and don’t know of others who live with this illness, just write down something that helps you remember that there are others who have the same malady. For today, be intentional about praying for others who live with same illness that you live with.

Light a candle. Send a check to those who research cures for the illness. Or, if you are able and willing, find a way to embody the intercession through action—if you have received radiation, take good magazines to the radiation center. If you are receiving kidney dialysis, remember to take appropriate snacks to the waiting area. There are many ways to offer prayer for one another; you will no doubt come up with a creative embodiment of your prayer.

REFERENCE NOTE: All psalms are from the psalter in The Book of Common Prayer, 1979.