REVIEWED BY PAMELA SCHAEFFER, Ph.D.
PRAYER: A RELATIONSHIP WITHOUT WORDS
Martin C. Helldorfer, D.Min.
Moss Communications, 2010
There is no pressure in these pages to pray or even to believe. But for patients and caregivers, or anyone who has ever had a"sense of a caring presence," and who might, especially in times of vulnerability, wish to become more intimate with that presence, Helldorfer can serve as a contemporary guide.
His first principle: understand that to pray is to be in relationship, a relationship that, like others, changes and grows, involves shared joys and sorrows, possibly misunderstandings and difficulties. Relationships cannot be forced and do not flourish with stilted expressions or postures. "The language of prayer is that of love," Helldorfer writes. "We start with words … and end with silence." He offers reassurance for those who feel at times unable to pray: Stop trying; learn to wait; find a new path; pray by doing. And then, for those who persevere, a warning: be prepared for change. Though it may take years, those who pray will ultimately have to surrender to the fact that they are deeply loved and then follow where love leads, Helldorfer writes.
Helldorfer knows both prayer and health care. He is a former monk and psychologist, a husband, the author of Healing with Heart: Inspirations for Healthcare Professionals, and retired vice president of mission for Exempla Healthcare, a Colorado-based regional health care system. Healing with Heart, reviewed in the March-April, 2009, issue of Health Progress, won the American Journal of Nursing's Book of the Year Award in the leadership and management category.
Copyright © 2010 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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