There is no doubt that surgery can be a time-consuming stressful experience. As a patient, you are anxious about the outcome and any unexpected issues. As a family member, you also share that anxiety and worry about your loved one’s recovery. Lastly, as a surgeon or medical staffer, you want to do your best to give the best care to your patients.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Prayers for Someone Before Surgery
- Prayers for Someone Recovering from Surgery
- Prayers for a Child Going into Surgery
- Prayers for Someone With Cancer Going into Surgery
- Catholic Prayers for Someone Going into Surgery
- Prayers for a Close Family Member or Friend Going into Surgery
Doctors can allay your fears with as much knowledge and information in the leadup, as can your family members. Having a community come together to pray for you or a loved one can also soothe any frayed nerves before surgery. Partaking in religion can make many people feel a sense of respite and collective guidance especially in moments when you feel directionless.
With faith as a supportive tool, you can pray for someone with cancer, or gather a community together to pray with someone before a big operation. Here are some suggested prayers to get started.
Tip: Unfortunately, surgery and medical intervention can't always save a life. If you've recently lost someone, our post-loss checklist can help you work through the tasks and challenges you might face.
Prayers for Someone Before Surgery
What can you say when someone is sick? Offering up a poignant or powerfully worded prayer during a scary time can help.
1. “ Before Surgery” from Judaism
“Adonai, You are with me in my moments of strength and of weakness. You know the trembling of my heart as the turning point draws near. Grant wisdom and skill to the mind and hands of those who will operate on me, and those who assist them …”
Surgeries can have a sense of isolation attached to them, as you get operated on, rather than receive a treatment. Praying to a higher power especially when you feel alone can change that. In Judaism, God is able to work through anyone, whether they believe in him or not.
2. “Buddhist Healing Prayer” from Buddhism
“By the power of every moment of your goodness, may all dangers be averted and all disease be gone. May no obstacle come across your way. May you enjoy fulfillment and a long life.”
This is reminiscent of a blessing, wishing for a lack of obstacles and a fulfilled life, and could also be used as a prayer for grieving parents. In Buddhism, blessings are just as powerful as prayers.
3. “A Prayer Before Surgery” from Christianity
“Most loving Heavenly Father, I commit my physical body to You today as I undergo a delicate surgery...”
A lot of Christians ask to submit themselves completely to a higher power, but this one also helps to serve two purposes, to both guide the surgeons and also to let God guide the way.
4. “Save Your Servant” from Taoism
“Save your servant, O Sustainer of Life, From too early a death. Free me of that affliction of believers Who so easily become rigid of heart In their journeys to you.”
Asking for spiritual flexibility in order to manage any health issues can help to clear the “mental slate” so to speak. Clearing that mental slate allows you to find balance and peace.
5. “Prayer for Someone Having Surgery” from Christianity
“Dearest God, I am deeply concerned now about my loved one who is on the operating table. As the surgeon performs the procedures on her, I cannot help but be worried...”
If you’re feeling emotional mid-surgery waiting for a loved one, this can be a perfect prayer to help allay any frayed nerves. It’s direct and to the point.
Prayers for Someone Recovering from Surgery
Surgery is often the first step in a long process. Recovery can also be a difficult slog riddled with many trying obstacles for some people.
6. “Morning Prayer” from Judaism
“I give thanks unto You, Adonai, that, in mercy, You have restored my soul within me. Endless is Your compassion; great is Your faithfulness. I thank You, Adonai, for the rest You have given me through the night …”
As a caretaker, praying for thanks and for restoration for both yourself and your loved one can be really relieving and celebratory. It’s also another example of how Christianity and Judaism bleed into each other, as ”Great is Your Faithfulness” is the title of a famous hymn.
7. “Balance Prayer” from Taoism
“Lord, let us empty of all doctrines, The Tao is wisdom eternally inexhaustible. Fathomless for the mere intellect, The Tao is the law wherewith all things come into being.”
Clearing your mind after a difficult surgery can help guide you toward a successful recovery. Taoism makes it a point to not focus on complicated doctrines. Instead, it focuses on connecting your body with nature and your breath which can be a guiding light during your recovery.
8. “Praise to Buddha Shakyamuni” from Buddhism
“Please give me the light of your wisdom / To dispel the darkness of my mind / And to heal my mental continuum. / Please nourish me with your goodness...”
With most Buddhist mantras and prayers, people often ask for the circular nature of goodness. If the person praying is blessed, then they will pass that blessing on to others as well as future lives after reincarnation.
9. “Traditional Buddhist Prayer” from Buddhism
“May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness; / May all be free from sorrow and the causes of sorrow; / May all never be separated from the sacred happiness which is sorrowless...”
Operations may offer a moment of peace and happiness, especially if they relieved someone from stress or pain. Traditional Buddhist prayers appeal for continued happiness and living a life guided by light, so this could be a great one to send to a friend in recovery.
10. “Guardian Angel Prayer” from Christianity
“Angel of God, / my guardian dear, / To whom God's love / commits me here, / Ever this day,
be at my side, / To light and guard, / Rule and guide.”
At points, medical emergencies and resolutions to those emergencies can feel like miracles. Within Christianity, praying to a guardian angel is like having an extra friend to watch over you. In Christianity, some of the most famous guardian angels are Michael and Gabriel.
Prayers for a Child Going into Surgery
Many of these prayers are great to have handy to share with your spouse or the parents of the child undergoing surgery.
11. “Litany of Mary” from Catholicism
“Shrine of the Spirit, pray for us. Glory of Israel, pray for us. Vessel of selfless devotion, pray for us. Mystical Rose, pray for us. Tower of David, pray for us. Tower of ivory, pray for us …”
The Virgin Mary, along with many important symbols in Catholic faith, is good to pray to when looking to protect the innocent or to keep them safe.
12. “In the Hands of God” from Ignatian Spirituality
“More than ever I find myself in the hands of God. This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth. But now there is a difference; the initiative is entirely with God.”
In life, there are many points where choices can only lead us down one path, and some look to God to help carry their worries or their decisions through when it can feel particularly daunting. Sometimes, God is the only one strong enough to carry this burden.
13. “The Slow Work of God” from Ignatian Spirituality
“Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages.”
This reminds us of how our own worries sometimes stress us out more than necessary. This is also a good prayer to reflect on if you’re starting end-of-life planning.
14. “Act of Faith” from Catholicism
“O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God, in three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; I believe that Thy Divine Son became man and died for our sins …”
Reminding oneself of their faith, and what they believe in can realign their choices and mental fortitude when praying for a little one whose sickness may be more difficult than imagined.
15. “Psalm 121” from Judaism
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains; What is the source of my help? My help comes from Adonai...”
The Psalms are full of direct passages to worship God in both Judaism and Christianity, and this one ties the vision of powerful mountains to God’s omnipotence. In this case, David was seeking help from his enemies lurking in the mountains of Israel.
Prayers for Someone With Cancer Going into Surgery
Surgery can sometimes be a ticket out of chemotherapy, but only if all goes well. Being stressed about such a major operation is natural, and prayer can sometimes help you relax.
16. “For Healing” from Judaism
“Give ear, Adonai, to my prayer, heed my plea for mercy. In a time of trouble, I call to You, for You will answer me.”
When one looking to God for mercy and a helping hand in prayer, it may be soothing to pray and connect to a higher power for justice and compassion. This prayer is reminiscent of the Psalms. Penned by King David, one of the most important figures in Judaism who led a turbulent life, it’s easy to empathize with.
17. “A Prayer of Love” from Hinduism
“My soul listen to me! Love Your Lord as a fish loves water. The more the water, the greater the joy, Greater the tranquility of its body and mind.”
In this prayer, the more you love the Lord, the more tranquil your mind can become.
18. “Prayer of Good Over Evil, Light Over Dark” from Hinduism
“Fill the Heart with the oil of love. Place in it the wick of a single-pointed mind. Light it with the Knowledge of Truth and remove the darkness of ignorance around you.”
This prayer stems from a culture where light means the difference between danger and safety. Heavy with symbolism of light in the face of darkness, this unique and metaphorical prayer asks to have love becomes the oil that you burn to keep you going.
19. “When I Walk Through Thy Woods” from Judaism
“When I walk through thy woods, / May my right foot and my left foot / Be harmless to the little creatures / That move in its grasses …”
In times of need and insecurity, praying to do no harm, and in return have no harm done to you can be a powerful path to consider and have faith in mentally. Even though it’s a religious concept, it’s also recommended by therapists.
20. “Comfort Me in Suffering” from Christianity
“Loving God, I pray that you will comfort me in my suffering, lend skill to the hands of my healers, and bless the means used for my cure.”
Asking for a blessing on healing can feel like one of the most powerful things you can do in Christianity. But just because God is all-powerful, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t work through human beings. That’s why you can pray for your caretakers as well.
Catholic Prayers for Someone Going into Surgery
If you’re a devout Catholic, you can use these prayers with your church, as a family, or individually.
21. “Prayer Before Surgery” from Catholicism
“Loving Father, I entrust myself to your care this day; guide with wisdom and skill the minds and hands of the medical people who minister in your Name …”
The fear of surgery is tied with literally venturing into the unknown, as you are often put under anesthesia and unsure of where it may take you. Praying to a higher power to guide others who are helping you is a great way of placing trust in medicine and the skill of your surgeons.
22. “A Prayer Before Surgery” from Catholicism
“O Jesus Christ, Messiah and Lord, grant me joyful acceptance of the surgery which awaits me,
and let this be the relief and cure which I seek …”
In the New Testament, Jesus performed many miracles. Though Jesus is part of the Holy Trinity, asking for guidance and trusting your medical professionals is also important. Giving up control to those who have your best interests in mind may relieve some stress with hope and faith.
23. “Catholic Prayer for the Sick” from Catholicism
“Omnipotent and eternal God, the everlasting Salvation of those who believe, hear us on behalf of Thy sick servant …”
Praying to keep those sicker than you in the eye and guidance of a higher power is a large part of Catholicism. This prayer can feel more powerful when you ask others to join you to pray as well.
24. “Healing Prayer of Surrender” from Catholicism
“Dear Lord Jesus, it is my will to surrender to you everything that I am …”
As mentioned before, giving up control and letting others guide the way for you can be scary but also a way of trusting the process. One of the main themes of the Bible is belief in the omnipotence of God. Surrendering to God is a way to demonstrate your faith in that omnipotence.
Prayers for a Close Family Member or Friend Going into Surgery
Praying for someone else is a comforting way to pass the time.
25. “Psalm 23” from Judaism and Christianity
“Adonai is my shepherd; I shall not want/ He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”
Psalm 23 is one of the most famous Psalms to say in times of need in both Christianity and Judaism. Historically, this prayer was sometimes used during high holy days in Judaism. This Psalm continues to ask God to provide bountiful love and grace for those who follow him.
26. “Eyes of Mercy” from Christianity
“Lord, look upon me with eyes of mercy. May Your healing hand rest upon me …”
Mercy and forgiveness are key to receiving love from God in Christianity. In times of duress, appealing to God for mercy can feel like a powerful way of giving up your stress and let someone else take care of it.
27. “Prayer Before Surgery” from Christianity
“So we call upon you today as our friend has this surgery. Protect and keep him (or her) within your heavenly arms …”
Plainly spoken prayers can also lift the stress off of people’s shoulders and rely on the doctors and medical staff to do their best.
28. “Healing Prayer of Surrender” from Christianity
“I offer you my life, heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit. I surrender to you my past, present, and future problems.”
Like with Psalm 23, surrendering everything and placing faith in God may be a powerful way to bring stillness to your mind and body. In Christianity, surrender is often equated with faith.
29. “Universal Prayer” from Hinduism
“Grant us an understanding heart, / Equal vision, balanced mind, / Faith, devotion, and wisdom.”
In all religions, looking for a way to understand those around us and be good to ourselves and the rest of humanity can be the simplest prayer in times of need. Vision and balance are prioritized in Hinduism, and they’re especially important during tough times.
30. “Aaronic Benediction” from Judaism
“Yevharekh-kha Adonai veyishmereka, Ya’er Adonai panav elekha vihunneka, Yissa Adonai panav elekha viyashem lekha shalom.”
Plainly translated, this prayer is a wish for God’s grace, attention, and peace. It comes from the Old Testament book of Numbers, where the high priest Aaron was commanded to pronounce it over the people of Israel.
Praying With a Community
Visually, many people consider praying a simple conversation between them and a higher power. However, in other cases, having a community of believers around you to pray for a loved one can feel empowering and relieve some stress. Either way, praying is a way to remind yourself that you are not alone.
Post-planning tip: After losing a loved one, it's tough to handle both the emotional and technical aspects of their unfinished business without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
- Xavier University. “Jewish Prayers.” n.d., www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/jewish-prayers
- Xavier University. “Hindu Prayers.” n.d., www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/hindu-prayers
- Catholic Online. “Prayer Before Surgery.” n.d., www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=474
- Our Catholic Faith. “Catholic Prayers for Healing.” n.d., ourcatholicfaith.org/prayer/p-healing.html
- Xavier University. “Ignatian Prayers.” n.d., www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/ignatian-prayers
- Xavier University. “Catholic and Christian Prayers.” n.d., www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/catholic-prayers
- The University of Pennsylvania. “Selected Jewish Prayers and Blessings.” n.d., www.uphs.upenn.edu/pastoral/pubs/blue.html
- Xavier University. “Taoist Prayers.” n.d., www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/taoist-prayers
- Xavier University. “Buddhist Prayers.” n.d., www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/buddhist-prayers