Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Prayer Dilemma . . .

Prayer has been a reoccurring issue in this CPE Residency . . . first, one of my colleagues -- a Roman Catholic priest -- indicated my prayers during pre-surgery rounds were too long . . . of course, he only heard my prayers as he (the Chaplain assigned to do these rounds while the on-call Chaplain is to assist) insisted we go together and he had me pray for non-Catholics (a whole different issue!) . . . as I indicated to him my prayers are no longer than the ones he reads from his prayer book.

After this my supervisor kept telling me to keep my prayers short -- she was specifically speaking of the ones that I do as on-call chaplain at night and in the morning . . . I asked her is she had heard these prayers as they are only a sentence or two . . . "no" . . . then she heard one and commented on how nice it was.

Thursday she tells us that one of the Vice-Presidents has complained that the prayers are too long . . . obviously as recounted by the supervisor who got it 2nd hand it is "too much noise" . . . now we are to pray scripted one sentence prayers. My question is, "why pray at all? Just give these one sentence prayers to the Switchboard Operators and let them say them." I am not sure I will say this, but it says something about what at least one person and perhaps others in position(s) of power in the hospital believes about prayer . . . it also says something, imho, about what the supervisor believes about prayer as she is not willing to advocate for continuing our tradition . . . in fact, I have come to question where faith fits into our supervisor's life -- she doesn't come to Chapel . . . she nor any of the other permanent staff -- they did for the first unit and slowly stopped . . . just as they started coming in later and later in the mornings although we are to be there on time.

Although I am learning a great deal in this experience I am also seeing a side of chaplaincy that causes me concern . . . this has been a year of discernment . . . will I go back to the parish (church setting) or will I go the chaplaincy route . . . I am still now sure but now is the time I start looking for my next call . . . prayer is an important part of this process.

Seeking to discern God's call,


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