A Chaplain’s Prayer for the ER

by Bill Holmes

O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up. (Psalm 139:1-2a) You know when I am doing chest compressions or when I am holding the hand of a frightened patient. You know when I am encountering a difficult family or when I am comforting the beloved of one now deceased.

You discern my thoughts from far away.” (Psalm 139:2b) You know my anxiety and depression and understand the troubles I face at work and at home.

Some who come through those doors are dirty; some are angry and mean; some just don’t get it.  Help me to love and care for them. Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:40)

Lord, when I see the horrible things that happen to people, I sometimes wonder if you are really there. How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I have pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? (Psalm 13:1-2)

Sometimes, Lord, this job is too much. My blood pressure is up and my heart is pounding. O Lord, strengthen my compassion and deliver me from burnout. …but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

I pray that we might be instruments of peace. Grant us peace in our hearts, in our homes, in our work. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you…Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

O Lord, when I go into an exam room, I sense that you are already there, and, even in this wild and crazy ER, I am standing on Holy Ground. Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? (Psalm 139:7)


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