Now, with the vaccine rollout underway, Wilkey anticipates members may be asking for prayer before they receive the inoculation. “We would be more than willing to pray with them and for them,” she says. Although the words can vary, there is a consistent theme: God is with us in all the moments of our lives. God is present in the good times and in the bad times.
“For many people this is the foundation of their faith and it helps them to get through these days knowing that they aren’t alone,” Wilkey says. A passage of scripture she recommends is Psalm 23, which is a reminder that God walks with us through all the days of our life.
Rev. Barbara Sayler is pastor of Beavercreek Church of the Brethren. CONTRIBUTED
A pair of original prayers
Barb Saylor, pastor of Beavercreek Church of the Brethren, has written this prayer:
God of love and hope, we are thankful for healing and wholeness.
After months of anxiety and sorrow and isolation because of COVID-19,
we are truly grateful for a vaccine that offers us respite and peace.
As vessels of your love and grace, open our bodies to immunity and your healing light.
And help us to continue to make wise choices, not only for ourselves,
but for those whom we encounter.
Be with the healers who are working medically to care for those suffering from this virus,
and who are doing all they can to make this vaccine available to everyone.
We lift all of this in the name of the one who taught us to love. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. P.E. Henderson, Jr. of Corinthian Baptist Church. CONTRIBUTED
The Rev. Dr. P.E. Henderson Jr. of Corinthian Baptist Church has written this original prayer:
Almighty God we raise our hearts to you in praise and thanksgiving.
We thank you for the gift of medical knowledge, medical personnel, biotech companies and all governmental agencies who are working together to combat the coronavirus.
We thank you for the vaccines. We pray the vaccines will be made available to all. We pray for those who are sick, for those who grieve the loss of loved ones and for those whose physical, mental and economic well-being have been severely impacted by the pandemic.
Hear our prayer, oh God, in the name of Jesus , ground of our hope and strength. Amen.
Rabbi Judy Chessin of Temple Beth Or in Washington Twp. CONTRIBUTED
An important milestone
Rabbi Judy Chessin of Temple Beth Or in Washington Twp. says the Hebrew “Shehechiyanu” prayer is appropriate for important “first moments” whether they are big or small — the first day of school, the purchase of a new car, the welcoming of a new year, or the first taste of new seasonal fruit.
“Such milestones remind us never to take any blessing for granted and to celebrate life,” she says. “As such, as we receive the COVID-19 vaccine, we participate in a miraculous first. We receive the vaccine in honor of those who have suffered and died from this disease, in tribute to those first responders who risked their lives to fight this deathly illness, and in gratitude to all the scientists and medical researchers who have rushed this medicine to our nation and our world. Most of all, we give thanks that we have survived and are here to bless the miracle of life another day.”
The Rev. Angelo Anthony is pastor of Emmanuel, St. Joseph and Holy Cross Catholic parishes in Dayton. CONTRIBUTED
Turning to traditional prayer
The prayer that comes to mind for the Rev. Angelo Anthony, pastor of Emmanuel, St. Joseph and Holy Cross Catholic parishes in Dayton, is the Gloria Patri, sometimes known as the Glory Be to the Father prayer. “I chose that one because God created heavens and earth and he is with us in our joys and in our sorrows,” he says. “In this case, it’s the joy of receiving the vaccine. We give praise to God who makes this possible.’
Mirza Ahmad is a member of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. CONTRIBUTED
Atia Mirza, a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, says she learned in a recent sermon “that we do as doctors advise us, but we know that if God wants, then he will heal us.” According to Mirza and her father, Ahmad, there are two appropriate prayers that can be recited a few minutes before taking the vaccine, a third when actually receiving it.
The first, from the book Sahih al-Bukhari, translates to: “Oh Allah, Lord of Mankind, do away with my suffering. Heal (me) as You are the only Healer and there is no cure except that of Yours, it is that which leaves no ailment behind.” The second prayer is mentioned in the Holy Quran: “And when I am ill, it is He who restores me to health.” At the time of taking the vaccine, one can say: ‘Ho wash shafi’ which means that “only God is the healer; or who gives health; or who cures.”
Los Angeles Rabbi Naomi Levy is often commissioned to create original prayers. CONTRIBUTED
A need for situational prayers
“There are ancient prayers, but sometimes there’s also a need for situational prayers,” says Naomi Levy, author of “Einstein and the Rabbi” and the leader of Nashuva, the Jewish Spiritual Outreach Center in Los Angeles. “How could there have ever been a prayer for 9/11 or a school shooting?”
Doctors and nurses asked if she would compose a prayer for them to recite at the moment they received their COVID-19 vaccination.
“I want people to see there are miracles around us each day,” Levy says. “Not like the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea. This vaccine is a miracle of science brought about by human hands and we feel God is with us, helping us to get through a difficult time.”
Here is her prayer for receiving the vaccine:
I have been praying for this day and now it is here!
With great excitement, a touch of trepidation
And with deep gratitude
I give thanks
To all the scientists who toiled day and night
So that I might receive this tiny vaccination
That will protect me and all souls around this world.
With the pandemic still raging
I am blessed to do my part to defeat it.
Let this be the beginning of a new day,
A new time of hope, of joy, of freedom
And most of all, of health.
I thank You, God, for blessing me with life
For sustaining my life
And for enabling me to reach this awe-filled moment.
Levy also offers workshops to help people find their own voices in prayer. “A lot of people will come to the clergy asking us to pray for them because somehow they feel they don’t have the words,’ she says. ”My goal is to help people realize they have the capacity to speak to God.”