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  1. Durfee-Fowler, M PhD, MS, RN


This article, offers a few forms of prayer that might be helpful in specific patient care situations.


Prayer is used in clinical practice in the spiritual care of patients. Yet, all too frequently it is limited to free prayer and occasionally a set prayer. Little use is made of the vast expanse of form prayer that is well and widely established in the religious traditions, many of which have been practiced for centuries. One size does not fit all: These form prayers can be selected to address very specific spiritual and prayer needs of the patient and can be chosen for their "fit" with the cultural background of the patient.


Prayer is the universal phenomenon of religion. 1 That is, whether nontheistic, monotheistic, polytheistic, or spiritist, all religions, without exception, pray. 2 For instance, to say that prayer is "communion with God" presupposes a theistic worldview. Or to say that prayer brings us to "oneness with the universe" is to communicate a particular underlying cosmology.


Throughout life, everyone will have needs that exceed their capacity to act or cope. Crisis or danger can cause such needs to surface in a "foxhole prayer." The foxhole prayer is the prayer of crisis prayed by one who rarely prays, who may have no theistic or religious belief, but who prays now in a situation of danger or crisis. It does not necessarily have theistic or religious content, but it may. The foxhole prayer is the prayer of urgent need, and a prayer that nurses will encounter in health-related crises. In some instances the person only knows that he or she is in spiritual or physical pain. One task of the skilled nursing caregiver is to recognize the patient's need, and when to offer to pray together.