As a chaplaincy intern, when the residents I visit want to pray, we pray, and when we do, it is exactly what they need. It uplifts and comforts them in a way that is so incredibly amazing that it is truly one of G-d’s most miraculous gifts to humanity.
According to the University of Maryland, prayer and spirituality go a long way in helping people survive, heal, and cope, which is why I went into chaplaincy. Prayer is such an amazing healing mechanism, yet so many people forget that it is available to them. For many, because they haven’t talked to G-d in so long, they are uncomfortable praying. But G-d doesn’t care how long it’s been since we “called” Him. And don’t think that you need a prayer book to pray. You don’t. You need you.
Just as prayer uplifts and comforts, so too do visitation/emotional support dogs. While our 7.5-pound pooch isn’t certified as an emotional support dog, he is definitely my end-of-the-day pick-me-up after an emotional day as a chaplain.
For me, the combination of prayer and pooch (Rhett) to clear my mind and comfort my soul is my daily salve.
Last night, our little Rhett joined us at minyan (prayer services), and without doing anything other than just sitting in my arms (as he is here), listening, and watching, it was clear that he was an enormous pick-me-up for a lot of the people there, not just me. Even the three teenagers who sat a few chairs away from us couldn’t stop smiling. How incredible is that? And you know how hard it is to get teenage boys to smile. While the rabbi said he couldn’t count him as one of the 10 bar/bat mitzvah required for minyan, everyone there knew he counted to them.
My prayer for all of my readers is that they discover how soothing prayer can be either on their own, with their family, spouse, significant other or pet, and that they don’t hesitate to converse with the Almighty on any topic that may be on their mind.
Regardless of whether it appears that G-d has answered our prayers, G-d hears us, listens to us, and is there helping us be as strong as we can be under the circumstances. That is the miracle of prayer.