Franciscan Spirit Blog

Holy, Wholly Healthy: Finding a Sacred Space

I take care of my health: I visit my doctors, take my pills and spend time in daily prayer. My daily prayer is just as vital for my health as any medical procedure. We all know how to handle our high blood pressure or other health conditions, and praying for our health should be included with all our healthy habits.

I pray in my own little “sacred space” in the corner of my bedroom. It is my little refuge, a place for prayer and healing.

It is not necessary to have a separate room in which to pray—any corner in the house or even an uncluttered closet might be used for quiet prayer. My dad prayed in our finished basement from his recliner. He had a list of intentions beside him on a table in his “man cave” and said his prayers there.

I have a comfortable chair in my space. Next to it is my grandmother’s refinished table with a scented candle, a cedar statue of St. Francis of Assisi, an old Army photo of my dad, my mom’s prayer book and a rock from my Assisi, Italy, pilgrimage. Under the table is a basket which holds my Office book, spiritual books and a pen and journal.

I keep some Band-Aids and a prescription bottle there to remind me of health and wellness.

My prayer always begins in the same way: I say a prayer to God the Creator, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I pray the Memorare to the Blessed Mother, and speak with my deceased parents, relatives, sisters and friends. I pray the Office with its psalms, prayers and readings. Then I sit in silence, without read- ing anything, just to focus on what I have just prayed. I read that day’s Scripture readings from the liturgy.

Many times, I find myself distracted and try to get back on track. Some- times I have to fight sleep—but most of the time I get distracted by what I have to do at work or, more often, by any health issues. An upcoming doctor’s appointment or a medical test makes me anxious. That is the time that I pray my often-used Scripture quote from John 14: “And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

For almost 45 years, I have asked God, in Jesus’ name, to heal me, to cure me of my multiple sclerosis. I believe God has granted this request because I am doing pretty well—new MS medications are released frequently and I have accepted this devastating disease. I also pray for friends who are ill.

I leave my space and go to work in the morning, still having to face the challenges of my day, but I am different, more peaceful.

At night, I am drawn to my space again, and I light my candle and pray my evening prayers. I sing a verse from “You Are Mine” by David Haas: “I am strength for all the despairing, healing for the ones who dwell in shame. All the blind will see, the lame will all run free, and all will know my name. Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me, I will bring you home; I love you and you are mine.”

We are all called to prayer, to talk to our God about what is happening in our lives. When we are worried about life-changing health issues, who better to talk with? If a misunderstanding or quarrel takes place in our lives, we talk to the person involved and ask for clarification or forgiveness. Then we usually feel better and can begin healing. Placing our health concerns before our loving God must be a part of our total health care—right up there with doctor’s visits and our medicines. Prayer is just what the doctor should order.

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11 thoughts on “Holy, Wholly Healthy: Finding a Sacred Space”

  1. i struggle with praying at this time with my sister’s illness and a friend in hospice who does not want to see me or any of her friends . How does one pray when you have prayed for healing for others and don’t know what else to pray for ? I have found that when its hard to pray to let your faith community pray for you and that is what I should do right now because I just don’t know how to pray right now except to pray this one word, HELP .

    1. Dear Gregory
      I am really touched by your plight and have just said a Memorare asking Our Blessed Lady to intercede for all the help you need. We all need to be supported at times however strong we normally are. May you always feel supported, valued and loved.

  2. Thank you Karen for this sharing. It is moving and beautiful. You are obviously a very prayerful person.
    Gregory the Lord hears even a whisper. God bless you and your sister and all those you love and care about.

  3. “Help” is a good prayer Gregory.

    God hears you.

    As far as your friend is concerned, I too had a friend who did the same thing. I was angry for a very long time. Even after her passing. I couldn’t understand her behavior, and felt like I didn’t matter to her.

    I later discovered that some people withdraw because it makes it easier to transition. When we want to hold on, they want to let go.

    This discovery transformed me. And I hope it helps you.

    Peace, my friend.

  4. Lord Jesus Christ, flood our hearts with your love and free us from all that would keep us from doing your will. Transform our minds that we may discern what is right and choose what is good and pleasing to you. Amen.

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