Hear us, Good Lord, as we pray for those who are sick, for those who suffer spiritual, emotional, and mental anguish, for those buckling under the burdens of their lives.
These are people we have heard of. These are people that we know. We ourselves are in the midst of affliction.
You have not promised us simple, carefree lives, nor have you sworn that we should be comfortable all of our days.
But you have given us your Spirit, and have joined us to your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was perfected in suffering, and whose infirmity and weakness became the salvation of the world.
So if we are joined to his suffering, Good Father, then help us to suffer as he did: willingly for the joy that was set before him.
This joy does not come naturally; despair and illness wear us down. Our faith falters in the weakness of our bodies and minds and circumstances. We ask why you have forsaken us and we no longer expect you to answer.
But joy is a gift and a fruit of your own Spirit, the Spirit who Jesus knew would raise him from the dead.
For those to whom the future looks formless and void, a great fearful blankness, we ask you to give them faith, to trust you for that same joy that the Lord had even in Gethsemane.
Show us your faithfulness. Teach us what joy is, that we would know it when it arrives. Write your words on that great blankness, and compel us to believe you, Good Lord of all comfort, who knows our suffering and has promised not to forsake us or abandon us.
Hear us as we pray for those who are sick and who suffer now.
Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come to you Who was despised and forsaken of men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, that they may find your mercy present with them in all their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them for the sake of Him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.