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As hospital chaplains in a busy hospital, we are called upon to pray, or minister in some other way, to patients, staff, volunteers and families, countless times every week… this book may well be a handy resource for chaplains (paid or volunteer) and for others engaged in pastoral ministry elsewhere in the church.
Although the tradition from which I come tends towards the extempore prayer, many chaplains prefer other practices, like written prayers. Initially I was reading this thinking I wouldn’t need it, but others might…
And then I changed my mind – simply because of the vast numbers of prayers and scripture readings given, covering a multitude of topics. So many folk that we meet have the greatest of needs. I am sure that many of the prayers included in the book would touch base with them.
Pastoral Prayers for the Hospital Visit contains prayers dealing with the more usual situations we encounter- with the ill patient, the worried, the dieing and the grieving, but also some specialised ones, like prayers for the “new immigrant who has fallen ill”, and prayers for a patient who is anxious about their child who serves overseas in the defence forces… Such variety!
Prayers are written in general middle-of-the-road language, accessible to all, (as indeed is the theology, images and illustrations used), and of course, they could be either used “as is”, or could inspire a chaplain, elder or other visitor to amend/write their own. Prayers are presented in a very comforting and compassionate manner.
Pastoral Prayers for the Hospital Visit is light, and easy to carry, and of course, you could photocopy prayers, and take them with you to a specific situation. Suggested bible readings are apt.
There were some great general suggestions about pastoral visiting, and some appropriate hymns to use in pastoral care.
I intend to place Pastoral Prayers for the Hospital Visit in our department library, so that all our staff can access, and presumably use, this book, whenever, wherever… It’s worth it!
Reviewed by Rev Rowena Harris, Manager of the Department of Pastoral Care, Wesley Hospital.