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The Right Use of Serious Illness

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

O Lord, whose spirit is so good and gracious in all things, and who art so merciful that not only the prosperities, but also the distresses which happen to Thine elect are the effects of Thy mercy, grant me grace not to act like a heathen in the state to which Thy justice has brought me; but that, like a true Christian, I may acknowledge Thee for my Father and my God, in whatsoever circumstances I am placed….
Thou gavest me health to be spent in serving Thee; and I perverted it to a use altogether profane. Now Thou has sent me a sickness for my correction: O suffer me not to use this likewise to provoke Thee by my impatience. If my heart has been filled with the love of the world, while I was in possession of strength, destroy my vigor to promote my salvation….
O Lord, as at the instant of death I shall find myself separated from the world, stripped of all things, and standing alone in Thy presence, to consider myself, in this disease, as in a kind of death, separated from the world, stripped of all the objects of my affections, placed alone in Thy presence, to implore Thy mercy the conversion of my heart; and that thus I may enjoy great consolation in knowing that Thou art now sending me a sort of death, for the display of Thy mercy, before Thou sendest me death in reality, for the display of Thy justice.
…Grant me grace, O Lord, to join Thy consolations to my sufferings, that I may suffer like a Christian. I pray not to be exempted from pain…but I pray that I may not be abandoned to the pains of nature without the comforts of Thy Spirit. Grant, O Lord, that…I may conform myself to Thy will; and that being sick as I now am, I may glorify Thee in my sufferings….Unite me to Thyself, fill me Thyself, and with Thy Holy Spirit. So that, being filled by Thee, it may be no longer I who live or suffer, but Thou, O my Savior, who livest and sufferest in me; that having thus been a small partaker of Thy sufferings, Thou mayest fill me completely with…glory…Amen.

Poor health tormented Pascal until his death at the age of thirty-nine. Though he struggled often with illness during his short life, he met his suffering with a faithful desire to glorify God. His prayer provides a moving model for how believers ought to respond to serious illness.

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