Many Chaplains feel a tension to pray at the close of every visit. Is it necessary to pray at the close of every visit? Where does the tension come from? Could it be that prayer was the expectation of church members when you were a pastor and you carry that into chaplaincy?
How do you pray for an atheist?
How do you pray for a Muslim?
How do you pray for a Jewish patient?
How do you pray for a Hindu?
How do you pray for a Sik?
How do you pray for ........?
The list goes on and on. But, the question must be answered. Is it ever ok to simply say that "in my prayers I will remember you"?
Would it then be in order to seek the patient's permission to invite local spiritual caregivers of their faith to provide spiritual support along with you?
There is much to think about when it comes to prayer. Our study on the Clinical Use of Prayer deals with these issues and many more. Prayer makes for good discussion, but too often we are more interested in doing prayer than talking about the patient's understanding of prayer and the patient's experiences with prayer.
So...back to the question at the beginning of the article...Where does this tension come from that you experience when you are coming to close of a visit? Must you offer to pray? Why or why not?