Prayer in Times of Bodily Suffering, by Grace Aguilar (ca. 1830s)

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open_content_license: Creative Commons Zero (CC 0) Universal license a Public Domain dedication

Date: 2023-05-11

Last Updated: 2023-05-13

Categories: Well-being, health, and caregiving

Tags: 19th century C.E., 56th century A.M., English vernacular prayer, self-reflection, teḥinot in English, תחינות teḥinot

Excerpt: "Prayer in times of bodily suffering" by Grace Aguilar was published posthumously by her mother Sarah Aguilar in Essays and Miscellanies (1853), in the section "Sacred Communings," pp. 204-207. . . .

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Prayer in times of bodily suffering.
Answer me when I call, oh God of my righteousness.
Thou who enlargest me when in distress,
be now gracious unto me
and hear my prayer.
Hear my voice, oh Lord,
when I cry.
For the sake of Thy name, oh Lord,
revive me.
Behold, I acknowledge
with fervent gratitude and praise
that great abundant mercy
which hath sustained me so long in health,
which hath so long guarded me from disease
and suffering of any kind.
Blessed art Thou, oh my God,
who healest the sick.
Blessed art Thou
who orderest death,
and restorest to life,
and causest salvation to spring forth.
And most blessed Lord,
I thank and bless Thee
for my present suffering,
for I know all that Thou ordainest
is sent in mercy, in love;
for mercy and love are thy attributes, oh God,
and even what appeareth in itself
chastisement and sorrow,
is a blessing from Thy almighty hand.
Then add yet more to Thy great mercies, oh God;
let me still feel Thy spirit dwelleth within me,
and guardeth me from those sinful repinings,
or idle and frivolous thoughts,
which sometimes float around the bed of sickness.
Be Thou with me,
support and strengthen me now, oh blessed Lord.
Deprived of the amusements and pursuits of health and life,
oh do Thou grant me those blessed thoughts
of Heaven and of Thee,
of religion and Thy Word,
which will soothe me,
not only in moments of weakness and langour,
but even in the hour of intense and constant pain.
If Thou art with me then, my God,
if Thou wilt fill my mind with Thee,
the pangs of the body are as naught.
Blessed Lord,
do Thou make my bed in my sickness;
let me cling to Thee,
and so trust in Thee and love Thee,
that I may not look forward with gloom or terror,
to a continuance of suffering,
however long may be the period of my illness;
however distant my recovery.
Oh, merciful Father,
guard me from repining,
from impatience,
from ill-temper;
oh permit me
to meet Thy will,
however it may be clothed
in bodily or mental suffering.
Guard me from indulging in wishes
that may be contrary to Thy decree;
in desires that may be sinful;
and permit me, oh God, humbly and gratefully
to acknowledge and bless Thy hand,
for the blessings that still surround me,
for the plenteous mercies that are daily mine.
And may it please Thee, oh my God,
to bless,
and reward
all those who so kindly tend me;
let not their health suffer,
either from anxiety or fatigue;
let them trust in Thee,
and be ready to meet Thy will,
whatever it may be;
let not pettishness on my part,
ever cause them pain;
let gratitude and love
ever gain the ascendancy in my heart,
towards those whom Thou so mercifully decreest
should tend me.
Oh look down and answer me, oh Lord, my God;
I pray not for the recovery of my body,
but that it might please Thee
to enlighten and deliver my soul
from the sins of its polluted prison,
that it may be prepared,
should the final strife be near,
for a glorified triumph
over anguish and death.
And while I thus pray,
I acknowledge before Thee, oh Lord,
my God, and the God of my fathers,
God of the spirit of all flesh,
that both my cure and death are in Thy power.
May it be acceptable in Thy presence
to heal me with a perfect cure,
and may my memorial and prayer
ascend into Thy presence,
and be acceptable as the prayer of Hezekiah
in his sickness.
But if the time of my visitation to death be near,
oh let my death be an expiation
for all my sins, iniquities, and transgressions,
wherein I have sinned, offended, and transgressed
against Thee from the day of my existence;
and let my portion be in the Paradise of Eden,
and purify me to enjoy the future state
reserved for the righteous.
“Oh show me the path of everlasting life;
for in Thy presence is the plenitude of joy,
and at Thy right hand everlasting pleasures.” (Psalms 16:11)
Blessed art Thou, oh Lord, who hearest prayer!

“Prayer in times of bodily suffering” by Grace Aguilar was published posthumously by her mother Sarah Aguilar in Essays and Miscellanies (1853), in the section “Sacred Communings,” pp. 204-207. The prayer does not appear in the UK edition of Sacred Communings (1853).




Contributor: Aharon N. Varady (editing/transcription)


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