Prayers for Visitors...
Traditionally, prayer has been an integral part of a bikur cholim visit, with two main purposes: 1) comforting the sick and 2) helping them experience, in a tangible way, a connection with the Jewish community.
Jewish sources cite specific prayers to be offered at the bedside of the sick. The Shulchan Aruch (16th century Code of Jewish Law) prescribes prayers to be recited both with and for the patient. Including the prayer emphasizes the connection of the patient with the entire Jewish community, "May G-d have compassion upon you among the sick of Israel". Even the simple "May G-d grant you a refuah shlemah" (full recovery) or even merely saying "shalom" can have the power to impart concern, caring, and a community connection.
Bikur cholim visitors and patients will feel varying degrees of comfort with prayer. Ask "May I say a Prayer?" "Would you like a prayer said for you? It is customary if you like." If unfamiliar with the tradition, a patient may even become frightened or confused by such recitations; e.g. mistakenly assuming they mean that he/she is gravely ill or about to die. Since prayers delivered perfunctorily or self-consciously may not bring solace to a patient the visitor needs to know their own comfort level with prayer and let that be a guiding factor.
As is true with any aspect of bikur cholim, the true mitzvah lies not the recitation of prayer alone, but in the degree to which it is in tune with the patients needs.
This is often considered the most traditional prayer for one who is ill. It is usually recited during the Torah service at synagogue. Offering to say it at someones bedside is also very comforting and healing. The individuals Hebrew name is often included in this blessing. The name is inserted in the blanks provided and it usually includes the persons mothers Hebrew name, as well.
Prayer for Healing
God of wholeness,
Prayer for the visitor
Prayer can be used to gather our strength and to focus before or after a visit.
Blessing for Bikkur Cholim Volunteers
Eloheinu VElohei Avoteinu VImoteinu,
We thank You for wisdom, for the experiences of others,
We thank You for giving us eyes that gaze into others souls,
Elohei HaShamayim, Most High G-d,
Give us courage and renewed energy
Make us worthy to look upon every sufferer
May our own lives be blessed with wellness and security
And let us say: Amen.
We offer these several prayers from Rabbi Nachman of Breslov to inspire you as you continue to search your heart for effective means of communicating.
G-d of wisdom,
Teach me, Dear G-d,