A thank you prayer for hospitals

Thank you NHS staff

Every Thursday at 8:00 in the evening we gather, like millions of others, on our doorsteps along our street to clap for the NHS staff who are on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus Covid-19. It is our way of showing our appreciation for the work they do and to say thank you.

A man called William Barclay may have written the prayer below as early as 1959, a little more than a decade after the National Health Service was founded. The language he uses opens a small window into that world. From our perspective they may have outdated job titles, but their tasks remain essential for any hospital to keep going today. The role of the ‘almoner’ was to distribute money to patients who were poor, combined with providing chaplaincy/pastoral care.

‘When we think of what life would be like without the people and the things which are part of everyday life, then the whole day is not long enough to give thanks for them to God.’

The William Barclay Prayer Book, page xix Tweet

I think this is a prayer that we could say again for our NHS staff working tirelessly to help those affected by the virus and the many of health issues that have not gone away during this crisis. 

The prayer

O God,

I thank You that there are such places as

hospitals and infirmaries and nursing homes.

I thank You for those who have the skill

to find out what is wrong and to put it right again.

I thank You for those

who throughout the day and night

attend to those in discomfort, distress, and pain.

I thank You that there are places

where the ill and the weak and the old

are not looked on as a nuisance,

but where they find loving care and attention.

I thank You not only for doctors and surgeons and nurses,

but for all the people who do the many jobs

which have to be done, if the work of the hospital is to go on –

technicians, dispensers, dietitians,

almoners, cleaners, ward maids,

secretaries, typists, clerks,

porters, ambulance drivers,

cooks and kitchen maids.

Help me to remember

all those who are helping You

to make me well again,

and to give thanks for them.

 

Help all those who work in hospitals to remember what Jesus said:

 ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these

  my brethren, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:40, RSV) 

 

To comfort and to bless,

To find a balm for woe,

To tend the lone and fatherless,

 Is angels’ work below.

 Amen.

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