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Prayer During Times of Physical Pain

Today’s Reflection

THOUGH EACH OF US has a different tolerance level for pain, physical pain is real. How do you handle suffering and pain? If our reaction is frustration, it is as if we are splintered into a thousand pieces. The more you fight pain, the more power you give it. Concentrate instead on gathering all your inner resources and accepting the pain, moving into it, breathing with the waves of pain as they wash over you. Feel into the suffering. Be with the pain. The suffering is as real as ever, but the endurance of pain as a negative power is weakened, and pain becomes an accomplishment for the sufferer.

Simple prayers or mantras become helpful here. “Jesus, Son of God” as you breathe in; “Have mercy on me” as you breathe out. A mantra is a phrase said over and over. Your mantra may be a strengthening Bible verse or prayer. Whether you say it mindfully or parrot-like without giving attention to the words, reciting gives you the opportunity to exert a little control over your pain. You are in charge of it. It is not in charge of you.

– Judy Gattis Smith
Fear Not! Learning from Your Cancer

From pages 58-59 of Fear Not!: Learning from Your Cancer by Judy Gattis Smith. Copyright © 2008 by Discipleship Resources. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Have you ever prayed a mantra prayer? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Ruth 4:16-17, NRSV

This Week: pray for friends who are estranged. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

Each chapter of Forgiving Your Family contains real-life stories, practical strategies, and encouragement to help you move toward forgiveness. Better communication (while critical) isn’t enough, according to Fischer. Forgiveness requires faith and prayer.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember Antoinette Brown Blackwell (November 5).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2012, a ministry of GBOD | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA


{ 4 comments… add one }

  • robert moeller November 6, 2012, 4:11 am

    No, I have not prayed a mantra prayer. I have not had the physical pain described in the reflection. I do know someone who is having this kind of pain, this reflection will be forwarded.

    I pray for Dieter and his family, an estranged friend from many years ago and also for Gisela and her family. Its not fun to lose friends.

  • heidi November 6, 2012, 6:03 am

    Beyond getting through pain, a mantra can help still the mind. When the cares and concerns of the world try to overtake the mind, it us helpful to pray as suggested. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

    The pain can be mental. And the solution can be simply remembering to breathe. Like spiritual Lamaze 😉

  • Ed Meiser November 6, 2012, 8:21 am

    I have been prayering the Jesus prayer for a number of years and found it to always be helpful through good and times and bad. It keeps me in the right perspective with God’s mercy and grace.

  • Buzz November 6, 2012, 2:27 pm

    When I was a young man I had debilitating migraine headaches. At that time there was no medication that offered relief.

    The migrane pain was intense. I had a vasectomy without anesthetic my second time for the surgery. That was painful. It was maybe like having birthpains.

    I could hear my heart pounding and feel it as well. I tried to stop breathing because the rise and fall of my lungs was painful. I could feel the hair on my head move against my pillow and hear it. That was painful. I needed to be in a dark room because the shining of even a nightlight was painful. I could feel the air pressure of the room change as the door to the bedroom was opened and shut. The cooling washcloth against my forehead was too heavy to endure. I coould see the fiery furnace of my pain and it was intense.

    I tried to fight against the excruciating pain. But when I did, the pain intensified.

    Somehow I learned to walk into that pain; and, then to walk through it. As I walked through that pain into the cooling white light beyond, I could see the figure of a man. I came to know that man as Jesus.

    The Holy Spirit gave me a mantra to survive that journey: “Je-sus.” That was all; indeed, that was sufficient. As I breathed in a very shallow breath I heard “Jeee”. As I breathed out the voice whispered “…suus.” In and out I breathed rythymically…”Jeee…suus, Jee…suus.”

    The pain subsided.

    I have used that mantra on other occasions – fighting fear, fighting depression, and in overcoming.

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