Tory Ryden photoChaplain Phil Ingle and Parkview Employee Marcel Poulin meet in the hospital's chapel to pray for the patients and staff as part of Parkview's Partners in Prayer and Prayer Positive programs.

Tory Ryden photoChaplain Phil Ingle and Parkview Employee Marcel Poulin meet in the hospital’s chapel to pray for the patients and staff as part of Parkview’s Partners in Prayer and Prayer Positive programs.

By definition, we are all touched by some form of prayer at one time or another in our lives. 
Webster’s and other purveyors of the written word define prayer in the following ways: “an address to God or a god in word or thought”; “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship”; “an earnest hope or wish.” 
It’s difficult to pinpoint prayer’s exact origins and in today’s world how many people pray and how often. Though religious scholars, researchers, even scientists have attempted to solve that riddle, the true answer is difficult, perhaps impossible to know for certain how many of us pray.
Countless of us utter quiet prayers daily, hourly, even by the minute. Our deepest prayers are known only to us and are heard — we hope and believe — by our personal God or “object of worship.” 

Partners in Prayer info

If you would like more information or to sign up your church for the Partners in Prayer program, please contact Pastor Phil Ingle in the Parkview Pastoral Care office at 373-2251. 

Many mornings a week inside the tiny chapel at Parkview Adventist Medical Center quiet prayers are offered up on behalf of the patients who are ill and recovering in beds just down the hall. Those saying the prayers in hushed whispers are members of multiple different churches in the greater Brunswick area that participate in the Partners in Prayer program. They are Baptists, Catholics, Methodists and Seventh-day Adventists, all with their own sets of beliefs, all who volunteer in prayer. 
Inside the beautiful chapel, they unite for one purpose: To lift up warm, heart-felt prayers for patients. 
“I find that Partners in Prayer rounds out my prayer life,” said James Von Benken, a member of the St. Charles Borromeo Church of All Saints Parish Group, and participant in the Partners in Prayer program. “It also affords an opportunity to practice one of the Corporal Works of Mercy: Visit the sick. Due to geographic considerations, I was not present for the final hours of either of my parents.”
The participating church groups meet throughout the month. Prayers are offered for every patient. There are patients, however, who upon arrival at Parkview decline being part of the hospital’s “Prayer Positive” program, asking to not be prayed for. 
“Sometimes we get a message on the chart ‘religious beliefs affect care,’” said Chaplain Phil Ingle. “Sometimes it’s very specific, ‘Hey, this person has specific needs and beliefs that we need to be aware of with their care,’ and we honor those. Sometimes honoring means not including them on our prayer list and, for me, not offering prayers in their room.” 
Still, the number of patients who choose prayer outnumbers those who decline it, which keeps Ingle very busy and grateful for the Partners in Prayer program volunteers. 
“It’s amazing the beauty that transpires during these prayer sessions. It’s extraordinary,” he said. “Simple prayers are said but something happens. It’s a whole group giving their complete intention upon that one patient and his or her needs. I believe their prayers matter.”
 And Jim Von Benken agrees. 
“I’ve been a Catholic all my life, including a 20-year period of not practicing,” he said. “I’ve always believed in the power of intercessory prayer. I am encouraged by those who attest to the positive outcomes measured for such programs as Prayer Positive.”
Prayer is indeed an integral element of Parkview’s history, stretching back to the hospital’s earliest days in 1959. The founding fathers, all physicians, incorporated the belief that prayer can make a significant difference in the medical outcomes of patients.                

Tory Ryden is director of Marketing, Community Relations and Development at Parkview Adventist Medical Center in Brunswick. 

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