Our Prayer BoxWe've Added Confidential Prayer Option for You
Hospitals can evoke many strong emotions: happiness, sadness, and anxiety; and Woman’s Hospital has chosen to provide a private and respectful way for patients, family and friends, and medical staff to ask for guidance - through a multi-denominational Prayer Box. Located within the hospital’s small chapel, the innocuous wooden box sits, locked, with a notepad for individual requests.
The box, which always remains locked, is checked daily by one of Woman’s seven rotating interdenominational chaplains. The prayers are removed but never read. Instead, the chaplains “say a prayer that each individual’s God will respond the petitions and grant the wisdom or the strength to help each individual move forward,” explains Sr. Georgeann Parizek. The prayers are then disposed of confidentially. So far, over a hundred petitions have been offered.
The Woman’s Prayer Box was added at the request of a nurse who saw the need as visitors were leaving behind notes for prayer. Although only in place for a week, the box has gained the support of the staff and patients alike as indicated by the sheer volume of petitions. We received an average of 20 petitions daily.
As Sr. Parizek eloquently explains, the confidentially and simple act of writing one’s thoughts down is a way to “release the burden that we carry in the quiet of our heart.” Parizek goes on to remind that, “Prayer is a part of all major religions.”
The Woman’s chaplains are on-call 24/7 and come from many faiths. In addition to working with the Woman’s Social Services Department and the medical teams, the chaplains often respond to requests by patients for a room visit. “Sometimes it’s a pregnant woman on bed rest or it’s a visit to the Woman’s adult intensive care unit, but often times we find ourselves in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) praying over infants who are facing challenges or listening to the families who are watching over those infants,” explains Sr. Parizek.
“At Woman’s, a range of emotions can occur from the celebration and anxiousness of childbirth, to the anxiety of a cancer screening, to healing from the passing of loved one,” says Beth Manning, Woman’s Director of Social Services, “The Prayer Box is just one of the many ways in which we help our patients and their families cope.”