Petitionary Prayer As A Way To Get Through A Rough Shift

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    Sometimes our workdays feel so disorganized, chaotic, and stressful. The intended purpose of this article is to introduce the concept of petitionary prayer as a way to get healthcare workers through particularly hectic shifts at work.

    Petitionary prayer focuses on requesting or petitioning for something, such as guidance for oneself or others. Even though prayer is normally connected with organized religion, one does not need to be religious or a 'believer' in order to pray. In fact, a secular person may engage in the practice of prayer for its calming, meditative, and relaxing effects. Moreover, one does not necessarily need to pray to a deity or a god to reap the benefits of praying.

    Prayer also provides an escapist form of stress reduction, and this may certainly come in handy during those stressful shifts at work that feel disorganized and chaotic. I am assured that the majority of healthcare workers have worked more than one shift that felt as if it was a bottomless pit of hot wax that never seemed to end. However, petitionary prayer allows the employee to ask for something to happen, calms and soothes him or her in the midst of craziness, promotes relaxation during a time of anxiety, and bestows a small sense of control upon the person doing the praying.

    Do not get me wrong. Our technical skills, application of knowledge, experience, and ability to critically think are the things that truly keep our patients alive and safe. However, sometimes we need that added boost to get through a tough day, and petitionary prayer can serve as that dynamic inspiration for those who desperately need it. Although I am not a religious person, I am spiritual and do believe in the power of prayer. The following is a non-religious, secular petitionary prayer for healthcare workers who might be going through one of those seemingly hopeless shifts at work. It will only consume a few minutes out of one's hectic day.

    I am moving as fast as I possibly can,
    I am trying my best to get through this shift,
    But I honestly feel lost.
    I simply want to know how far I have gotten,
    Just how far from the point where I started am I,
    Just how close to when this shift ends?

    I sometimes wish I had never arrived at work today,
    But I just cannot give up and walk away,
    For I would be steamrolled.
    The coworkers who need me would not understand,
    The patients who depend on me would not comprehend,
    And the sense of purpose would disappear.

    The perspiration from running around is blinding me,
    And I cannot visualize the goal right now.
    I am moving so fast at the present time,
    That I am breathless and listless.
    Prepare me for what the rest of the day may bring,
    Allow me to complete the job,
    That had been mine as the shift began.

    Give me the strength to organize,
    All of the things that need to be organized.
    Place the shift in focus and give me direction,
    Instill me with hope and allow me room to thrive.
    Do not drown me in chaos; shove distractions aside.
    Allow this job to move me into a straightened path,
    Give me the fortitude and courage to make it through the day.
    Last edit by Joe V on Aug 3, '12

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  2. About TheCommuter, ASN, RN

    TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a registered nurse.

    TheCommuter has '9' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'acute rehab, long term care, and psych'. From 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'; 33 Years Old; Joined Feb '05; Posts: 28,557; Likes: 42,084. You can follow TheCommuter on My Website

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    38 Comments so far...

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    The most classic petitionary prayer to me is the Lord's prayer. This one is very good too.
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    Quote from whichone'spink
    The most classic petitionary prayer to me is the Lord's prayer. This one is very good too.
    Well, I purposely came up with a non-religious, secular prayer because some people tend to become fussy with any mention of organized religion. Since the Lord's Prayer is a Christian prayer, I decided to not broach the topic.
    Crux1024 and imintrouble like this.
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    I understand your attempt at encouraging and offering suggestions to people who don't believe in God. That is nice.

    However, prayer is speaking with God. If you don't believe in God, how can you pray? Who are you talking to? Your petition prayer example, if "prayed" to no one, is more like saying taking a moment to take a deep breath and count to ten. Is counting to 10 a prayer? No it's not. It's just counting to ten. It may help relieve stress, but it's not prayer. It doesn't fall under the umbrella of prayer or the studies that have been done on the benefits of prayer. It's more like meditation.

    If you ask for something, like "Give me strength...", then you must be asking some one or some thing for strength. That's just basic grammar.

    I agree that you don't have to have an affiliation with a particular religious group to pray, but you can't pray without believing in something.
    CherylRNBSN, RNJill, KimberlyRN89, and 1 other like this.
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    Quote from whichone'spink
    The most classic petitionary prayer to me is the Lord's prayer. This one is very good too.
    The Lord's Prayer is in effect groveling at the feet of a bearded old man with the attitude of a Nurse Ratched running a supply depot. I don't understand why people find it inspiring.
    Quote from TheCommuter
    Well, I purposely came up with a non-religious, secular prayer because some people tend to become fussy with any mention of organized religion. Since the Lord's Prayer is a Christian prayer, I decided to not broach the topic.
    I don't see why they do. I mean, every person in the world is a practicing Christian. Certainly every person on this site is. And of course, there are no disagreements at all among Christian sects. The "prayer" you put up is a type of meditation, complementary to more traditional Eastern styles, which, rather than being verbose, aim toward the clearing of one's mind. The goal is relaxation and enlightenment. The prayer her can be seen as an appeal to one's own self or one's on subconscious, which is where all answers must come from if you're not communicating with another person or reserve of knowledge. The question is, When you feel overwhelmed and exhausted, how do you tap into the physiological processes that will see you through your difficulty?, rather than, Which god will do my bidding?
    GrnTea and kabfighter like this.
  7. 3
    Quote from Tragically Hip
    The Lord's Prayer is in effect groveling at the feet of a bearded old man with the attitude of a Nurse Ratched running a supply depot.
    This made my day.

    I think that taking a minute to be introspective is fine, but I wouldn't call it 'prayer'. Praying is the act of asking an imaginary being to suspend the natural laws of the universe in such a way that you get what you want, which tends to happen exactly 0% of the time. I wonder if other forums for professionals have entire sections for people to discuss books written by Iron Age misogynists who advocated slavery...perhaps this part of why we are not taken seriously as a profession.
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    I agree with you Mully. I believe that religion is man's way of organizing God into a box. God cannot be confined in a box. He is so much more than that.
    CherylRNBSN, Crux1024, GrnTea, and 2 others like this.
  9. 5
    Quote from Tragically Hip
    The Lord's Prayer is in effect groveling at the feet of a bearded old man with the attitude of a Nurse Ratched running a supply depot. I don't understand why people find it inspiring.
    Well, that was just offensive...
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    Any momentary pause in a hectic day can give one a chance to re-group, re-frame the shift and it's priorities. The specific way in which we do this is beside the point. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, "I really can do this", exhale, relax your shoulders and proceed! "Please, God, a little help here, 'k?'

    Thank you, Commuter!
    sharpeimom, nurse671, TheCommuter, and 2 others like this.
  11. 4
    Quote from kabfighter
    i wonder if other forums for professionals have entire sections for people to discuss books written by iron age misogynists who advocated slavery...perhaps this part of why we are not taken seriously as a profession.
    maybe not forums, but books, yes.

    http://www.amazon.com/miracles-every-day-physicians-inspiring/dp/0385531818

    http://www.amazon.com/doctors-who-followed-christ-biographies/dp/0825427347

    daily prayer of a physician
    reference: muslim physician’s pledge | center for non harming ministries reference: muslim physician’s pledge | help for a hurting world

    other articles about how religion or faith helped them become better professionals:

    http://www.aish.com/ci/be/102851989.html

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news...ine-physician/



    [color=#2c2c2c]the jewish physician’s prayer of moses maimonides asks god to grant strength of spirit, energy, and love to undertake the healing of god’s creation with love. it asks for help against the fate of avarice blinding one’s eyes to suffering of the rich, poor, friend, foe, good, and evil, but rather to see the human being. some of the most beautiful words yet pledged: “my love for the learning of medicine should only strengthen my spirit, only the truth shall be the lamp unto my feet, for any weakness in my work might bring about death and ill unto your creation. i pray to you, compassionate and gracious god, strengthen and focus my body and my soul and plant within me a spirit that is whole.” here is the text of that prayer:
    [color=#2c2c2c]“god above, before i begin my holy work, healing your creation, i lay my plea before you, that you will grant me the strength of spirit and the vast energy [alt: inspire me with love for my art and for thy creatures] to do my work with faith. do not allow thirst for profit, ambition for admiration or the world’s renown to blind my eyes from seeing one who is suffering, one who comes for my [professional] advice, as a human being, [whether] rich or poor, friend or foe, the good and the evil person, in his sorrowful moment reveal to me only the human being in him. my love for the learning of medicine should only strengthen my spirit, only the truth shall be the lamp unto my feet, for any weakness in my work might bring about death and ill unto your creation. i pray to you, compasionate and gracious god, strengthen and focus my body and my soul and plant within me a spirit that is whole.”


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