A Prayer for Those Who Need Comfort

A moment in a hospital waiting room is a wake-up call for her to pray for all those in need.

A Prayer for Those Who Need Comfort

A moment in a hospital waiting room is a wake-up call for her to pray for all those in need.

By Shari Smyth, South Salem, New York.

And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. Matthew 14:14

I was sitting in the crowded waiting room of St. Thomas Hospital. I was there with my son Jon, who was having some tests done and needed me to drive him. I unfolded the first of the three newspapers I'd brought and buried myself in an article on pet-sitting. The room was hot; the intercom was noisy; someone was coughing; a child was crying. I buried myself deeper in the paper.

“Patient 42,” called the intercom. Then it called the same number again, louder.

A nurse came out to look for her patient. “Is number 42 here?”

He was sitting alone, next to me, emaciated, in torn blue jeans and a faded flannel shirt. “I'm sorry,” he said nervously. “I didn't hear.”

I watched him over the edge of my paper, shuffling behind the nurse. I put down my paper and looked around, noticing–really noticing–my surroundings. There was a chunky, pasty-skinned woman clutching a walker. There was an elderly woman in a wheelchair, assisted by a stooped, frail-looking man I took to be her husband. In the corner a tired-looking woman held a small, fussy child.

As my eyes roamed, I saw a crucifix on the wall. From across the crowded room, I could feel Jesus looking at me with compassion and pleading, reminding me that even on the Cross He was present to the pain and suffering of those around Him. He took care of His mother, He prayed for His enemies and He healed the soul of the thief crucified next to Him.

What do You want, Lord? I asked. But I already knew.

Jesus, forgive me for my indifference. I pray for these, Your suffering ones. Bring healing and peace to number 42 and to the woman across from me and to...