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Icon of the Theotokos standing and praying for all
Icon of the Theotokos
standing and praying for all

In Times of Illness and Sorrow, God Is With Us!
by Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Boise, Idaho, USA
March 2006

It is the common human experience that sickness and sorrow come to us all at some point in our lives. For some, the effects may be brief; for others, more intense or long-drawn out.

If, as you read this, you are suffering from some illness, do not, look upon this as a punishment from our loving Lord God - as some well-meaning friend may tell you. Our God is not like that! He loves us all and not only is He with us through the indwelling Holy Spirit, but He constantly cares about us all. All of us are precious in the sight of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

So do not regard this present illness as a great calamity in life. It need not be that. You can make it, instead, a gateway to great blessings.

It may be that while you were in good health you gave too little time to the cause of your precious soul. It’s easy to become so over-burdened with the affairs of office, shop, farm, school or home, that you end up with little time left for God. Think about this: Could it be that He had to shut you in, in order to speak to you? But whether that is so or not, you can let God speak to you in a special way during your illness.

Indeed, this sickness of yours may be the opportunity of a lifetime. Listen to God while you are on your back, or while you are recuperating, and learn from Him. Much good can come out of this experience that you might not gain in any other way. “We know that for those who love God all things work together unto good” (Romans 8:28). Let there come to you out of this illness a blessing instead of a breakdown.

Don’t let this sickness get you down in spirit. While lying on your bed, look up instead of down. Look into yourself and see how helpless you are without God. Look up to Him, speak to Him in simple words from your heart. Even a prayer as short as “O God – help!” will reach Him and you will receive a response from the Throne of Grace.

I would like to humbly share with you the following prayers in times of sickness and sorrow:

My Prayer

O Lord and my God, Physician of souls and bodies, may Thy presence ever be with me.

O Lord Jesus Christ, great Physician of souls and bodies, may Thy presence ever be with me to hallow and bless this sickness, to both Thy praise and glory, and the salvation of my soul. Forgive me all my many sins and lack of love for Thee. May I always fix my thoughts upon Thy great sufferings upon the Cross, that I may learn from Thee courage and patience, humility and love: and above all, true submission to the Father’s will, that, being restored to health in Thine own good time, I may show forth Thy praise by giving up myself to Thy service. And grant that when this life is ended, I may be found worthy through Thy merits to inherit eternal life. Amen.

Prayer to the Most Holy Mother of God

O My most holy Lady, the Mother of God, by thy holy and all-powerful prayers remove from me, thy humble and burdened servant, despair, forgetfulness, lack of understanding, and negligence. Take away all unclean, deceitful, and blameworthy thoughts from my smitten heart and from my darkened mind. Quench the flame of my passion, for I am poor and lost; deliver me from all the bad thoughts and desires that afflict me. Set me free from all evil actions. For thou art blessed of all generations, and thy most honorable name is glorified unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayers of Thanksgiving

O Lord Jesus Christ the Life and Strength of all who put their trust in Thee, whose mercies are without number, and the treasury of whose goodness is infinite: I give thanks for the blessings which Thou hast bestowed upon me, your unworthy servant, and I humbly beseech Thee to continue Thy goodness towards me. And as Thou hast been pleased to restore me, Thy unworthy servant, to bodily health, so do Thou endue my soul with all heavenly graces, and perseverance in good works, and prepare me by Thy blessings in this life for the enjoyment of eternal happiness in the life to come. For unto Thee are due all glory, thanksgiving and worship, with Thy unoriginate Father, and Thine all holy, good and life giving Spirit: now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

May Christ our True God bless you with His Right Hand!

Humbly In Christ Our Lord,

Peace to your soul!

Who prays for you!

+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Who prays for you and with you!