Ms Savitri (Savi) Hensman, Patient and Public Involvement Coordinator (ARC South London) at King's has kindly shared with us these beautiful prayers for people who don't usually pray (and anyone else):
"Do not be far from me, for trouble is near.
The spread of COVID-19 has affected people in many different ways. We may find it hard to describe what we think and feel, which may, anyway, keep changing. At these times, some turn to prayer, whether they see this as talking with Someone above and beyond us, or a reflection of what is best in humanity. Here are some words, old and new, in case these any of these are helpful in expressing your fear, grief, loneliness, relief, thankfulness or hope. Please feel free to get in touch to share your thoughts and if there is anyone for whom you would like us to pray."
When anxious or afraid
Hear my cry;
listen to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to you,
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I;
Let me abide in your tent for ever,
find refuge under the shelter of your wings.
(drawing on Psalm 61)
In sickness, need or distress
Why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
Do not be far away!
O my help, come quickly to my aid!
(drawing on Psalm 22)
If the space I am in…
If the space I am in seems too vast,
so I feel alone with unwelcome thoughts,
help me to reach out with words or gestures
and remind me of my connection to other creatures and the earth.
If the space I am in seems too small,
lacking privacy, my patience running thin,
help me to roam far and wide in imagination and memory,
so I can return refreshed.
For little things
For pet pictures or silly jokes
whatever bring a smile to our lips in hard times,
When my heart frets at the absence of someone I love
or I miss the company of friends and familiar embrace,
quiet my restlessness, watch over them and me
and assure us we are valued, whatever the future holds.
I cried out for help,
and I have been healed.
Weeping lingered for the night,
but joy came with the morning.
It felt as if you had hidden your face.
But my mourning has been turned into dancing.
(drawing on Psalm 30)
If we stumble through a fog of grief or bewilderment
help us to somehow find a path,
to rise again when we fall.
Keep us until a glimmer of light returns.
For those without protection and support
For those who have lost homes or jobs and are desperate
or stranded far from home without transport,
crammed close to others despite risks or without sanitation to stay safe,
denied healthcare or protection at work,
who matter little to the powerful on earth but cared for by you,
bring justice and show us what we might do, however small.
Even when times are hard, help me to be generous to others, like you
whose sun shines on good and bad alike;
more ready to forgive than to judge,
to take the beam from my eye before removing the speck from someone else’s
and accepting of mercy from others.
May I treat people as I wish to be treated.
(drawing on Matthew 5-7)
Feeling weak or strong
If we feel we are too weak to get through this time,
like putty, may we sense steel within.
If we feel we are too strong to need help now and then,
teach us even a vigorous tree may hold on, without shame, to a stake.
In honour of health and social care workers and researchers
Let us honour health staff for their services,
for their gift of healing comes from you,
The skill of doctors and nurses makes them distinguished,
and in the presence of the great they are admired.
You created medicines out of the earth,
and the sensible will not despise them.
And you gave skill to human beings.
By these the health worker heals and takes away pain;
the pharmacist makes a mixture from them.
From you health spreads over all the earth.
(drawing on Sirach 38)
In honour of volunteers and all who meet our basic needs
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift,
is from above,
coming down from you, who give birth to light,
with whom there is no variation or shadow.
They do well who really fulfil the royal law,
‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’
(drawing on James 1-2)
For peace and hope
In a world in turmoil,
in our neighbourhoods, suddenly so different, and homes,
in our restless minds, as we wonder what tomorrow may bring,
hold us in peace and give us hope,
while we wait for the day when we can mix and move freely again;
teach us then to be compassionate with one another
and value more deeply what and who we have,
holding as precious all people and life on earth.