Jewish traditions teach us that on Shabbat we remove all the petitionary prayers from the Amida. In other words we don’t ask God to work on Shabbat either. And yet we make a Mishabeyrach-a prayer for healing. We ask for healing for our loved ones and pray that they recover with a healing of body and spirit.
Why both? Isn’t it enough to just ask for a refuah shleymah? A complete recovery? Isn’t it enough to ask to have the body returned to the state it was prior to the illness?
The truth is we are not the same person we were before. Whether a minor infection or a more life threatening situation such as cancer or stroke or heart attack changes us. Our bodies have been changed and yes, our souls have been changed.
Our encounter with disease or illness transforms our being. The pain we might have endured leaves a mark on us. How others treated us or mistreated us during the time we weren’t well also shapes our mindsets, our attitudes and our thoughts.
Our illnesses whether major or minor have a way of leaving their own kind of scar in a spiritual sense that can lead us to reflection and deeper thoughts. We may express it as anger or gratitude. But we are different afterwards. So we are never exactly the same.
Thus by praying for a renewal of body and spirit we can take the learning from this period and perhaps bring it to bear upon our lives in the days and weeks ahead.
I do believe in the power of prayer. I believe our prayers help us focus the God given life force that swirls throughout the universe and in each person. So when we pray for someone who is ill we are harnessing that life force–that Godliness in us towards another. And that energy is put towards the process of healing.
So even though its Shabbat-pray for healing for someone you know who is ill or whose spirits are low. Pray for healing for our world. And that is a step towards peace.