Prayers for medical procedures

Fasting before a colonoscopy or surgery is a common part of medical procedures. Of course, fasting has a long and distinguished history in the Christian tradition. Being a little scared before a medical intervention, particularly one that involves vulnerable parts of ourselves, also has a long history.

Part of the preparation for a medical procedure like a colonoscopy or a surgery involves a jarring departure from our routine the day before—namely foregoing breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This day seems very long, indeed. There is also the additional worry about “What if they actually find something?” And “Well, if they do, I hope it’s very small.” And “I know somebody who died from colon cancer.” We push away those nagging thoughts, but they are, frankly, what has brought one to do this.

Consider this series of prayers as you fast before a medical procedure. As one’s body is being cleansed for the procedure, prayer can help retain one’s composure and dignity. Remember: God gives sleep to the beloved (Psalm 127:2). And you will have even more sleep after the procedure is over. Relax. As Julian of Norwich said, “All will be well.”


A prayer of welcoming the new day. This day will be different than most. Ask God to help you be open to the new things you observe about yourself and the world around you as your routine is varied this day.


A prayer for spiritual food. This might be a long day without meals, so pray that God would bless you with spiritual food this day.


Consider taking a short walk prayer walk around the block, or on a labyrinth.


A prayer of thanksgiving. Give thanks for the opportunity to have this procedure in order to take good care of your health.

Late afternoon:

Quiet prayer in a chapel or sanctuary setting. Absorb the peace that such a setting provides. Listen for that still, small voice of peace.

Early evening:

A singing prayer. Find a favorite hymn or spiritual song and quietly (or loudly) sing the words of comfort that will come to you again tomorrow. Or choose a favorite poem or Scripture to reflect on.

Before bed:

A prayer of release. You have been released from the preparations, and all you need to do tomorrow is show up. You are in the good hands of your doctor, and the even better hands of your God.

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