Hospitals as Holy Places—Prayers and the Process of Healing

God works through our prayers as well as nurses, doctors, techs and aids.

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Posted in , Jul 12, 2021

Rick Hamlin on healing in the hospital

In the last two weeks I have received more prayers than I could possibly count. I’m grateful for that. And yet, I forget them all at the same time.

Quick update: I am still in the hospital, feeling MUCH better. Off the supplemental oxygen, finished with the antibiotics, declaring near-victory over a massive lung infection. With delight I update friends and loved ones through texts, emails, phone calls.

I just noticed something though. When people ask how I am, I praise the doctors, nurses, the excellent care at the hospital, the meds. I forget to credit all those prayers.

It made me reflect on what Paul says in the Bible, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18). Yes, give thanks. Even when you’re fighting for your life in a hospital. But don’t forget how the Healer works.

Every prayer being said is like a cleansing spray, a shot in the arm, a new pill, a purging through the IV. God works through our prayers, just as much as God works through the nurses, doctors, techs and aids.

Frankly though, I get a little embarrassed when I consider all those people praying for me, pausing to think of me, remembering me, placing me in front of God, praising God for me. It’s hard to take in and completely humbling.

And that’s right. When we meet our Maker with humility we are in a good, creative, welcome place. How should we respond? There’s only one choice: With gratitude deep at our core. Gratitude to be—at least for this moment—the center of someone’s attention. We’re never not at the center of God’s. 

There is healing power in thanksgiving. A spiritual corrective for that false sense of self that wants to hide from the love and the compassion and the caring the world is offering. To give thanks is to open yourself up to receive. With open arms. To know how much you matter…to God. And to others.

The other night as the nurse was fretting around my bed, helping me feel comfortable, getting me something I couldn’t reach, it dawned on me that she is one of God’s angels. No wings, no halo. But she—and so many others like her—is a vessel of the divine.

Hospitals are holy places. You don’t necessarily want to go to one. You don’t want to be so sick you need one. But when you’re there, you’re part of the huge heavenly process of healing.

I give thanks for that. And for every prayer said for me. Thanks.

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