The Book of Common Prayer Table of
The Order for
The Visitation of the Sick
When any person is sick, notice shall be given
thereof to the Minister of the Parish; who, coming into the sick
person's house, shall say,
Peace be to this
house, and to all that dwell in it.
When he cometh into the sick man's presence he
shall say, kneeling down,
Remember not, Lord,
our iniquities, nor the iniquities of our forefathers: Spare us,
good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most
precious blood, and be not angry with us for ever.
Answer.Spare us, good Lord.
Then the Minister shall say,
Let us pray.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Our Father which
art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be
done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily
bread; And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that
trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver
us from evil. Amen.
Minister. O Lord, save thy
Answer.Which putteth his trust in
Minister. Send him help from thy holy
Answer.And evermore mightily defend
Minister. Let the enemy have no
advantage of him;
Answer.Nor the wicked approach to
Minister. Be unto him, O Lord, a
Answer.From the face of his
Minister. O Lord, hear our
Answer.And let our cry come unto
O Lord, look down
from heaven, behold, visit, and relieve this thy servant. Look upon
him with the eyes of thy mercy,
give him comfort and sure
confidence in thee, defend him
from the danger of the enemy, and keep him in perpetual peace and safety;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hear us, Almighty
and most merciful God and Saviour; extend thy accustomed goodness
to this thy servant who is grieved with sickness. Sanctify, we
beseech thee, this thy fatherly correction to him; that the sense of his weakness may add strength to his faith, and seriousness to his repentance: that, if it shall be
thy good pleasure to restore him
to his former health, he may lead the residue of his life in thy fear, and to thy
glory: or else give him grace so
to take thy visitation, that, after this painful life ended, he may dwell with thee in life
everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then shall the Minister exhort the sick person
after this form, or other like.
know this, that Almighty God is the Lord of life and death, and of
all things to them pertaining, as youth, strength, health, age,
weakness, and sickness. Wherefore, whatsoever your sickness is,
know you certainly, that it is God's visitation. And for what cause
soever this sickness is sent unto you; whether it be to try your
patience, for the example of others, and that your faith may be
found in the day of the Lord laudable, glorious, and honourable, to
the increase of glory and endless felicity; or else it be sent unto
you to correct and amend in you whatsoever doth offend the eyes of
your heavenly Father; know you certainly, that if you truly repent
you of your sins, and bear your sickness patiently, trusting in
God's mercy for his dear Son Jesus Christ's sake, and render unto
him humble thanks for his fatherly visitation, submitting yourself
wholly unto his will, it shall turn to your profit, and help you
forward in the right way that leadeth unto everlasting life.
If the person visited be very sick, then the
Curate may end his exhortation in this place, or else proceed.
Take therefore in
good part the chastisement of the Lord: For (as Saint Paul saith in
the twelfth chapter to the Hebrews) whom the Lord loveth he
chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure
chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he
whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement,
whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us,
and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in
subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily
for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for
our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. These
words, good brother, are written
in holy Scripture for our comfort and instruction, that we should
patiently, and with thanksgiving, bear our heavenly Father's
correction, whensoever by any manner of adversity it shall please
his gracious goodness to visit us. And there should be no greater
comfort to Christian persons, than to be made like unto Christ, by
suffering patiently adversities, troubles, and sicknesses. For he
himself went not up to joy, but first he suffered pain; he entered
not into his glory before he was crucified. So truly our way to
eternal joy is to suffer here with Christ; and our door to enter
into eternal life is gladly to die with Christ; that we may rise
again from death, and dwell with him in everlasting life. Now
therefore, taking your sickness, which is thus profitable for you,
patiently, I exhort you, in the name of God, to remember the
profession which you made unto God in your Baptism. And forasmuch
as after this life there is an account to be given unto the
righteous Judge, by whom all must be judged without respect of
persons, I require you to examine yourself and your estate, both
toward God and man; so that, accusing and condemning yourself for
your own faults, you may find mercy at our heavenly Father's hand
for Christ's sake, and not be accused and condemned in that fearful
judgement. Therefore I shall rehearse to you the Articles of our
Faith, that you may know whether you do believe as a Christian man
should, or no.
Here the Minister shall rehearse the Articles
of the Faith, saying thus,
Dost thou believe
in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth?
And in Jesus Christ his only-begotten Son our
Lord? And that he was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the
Virgin Mary; that he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified,
dead, and buried; that he went down into hell, and also did rise
again the third day; that he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at
the right hand of God the Father Almighty; and from thence shall
come again at the end of the world, to judge the quick and the
And dost thou believe in the Holy Ghost; the
holy Catholick Church; the Communion of Saints; the Remission of
sins; the Resurrection of the flesh; and everlasting life after
The sick person shall answer,
All this I stedfastly believe.
Then shall the Minister examine whether he
repent him truly of his sins, and be in charity with all the world;
exhorting him to forgive, from the bottom of his heart, all persons
that have offended him; and if he have offended any other, to ask
them forgiveness; and where he hath done injury or wrong to any
man, that he make amends to the uttermost of his power. And if he
have not before disposed of his goods, let him then be admonished
to make his Will, and to declare his debts, what he oweth, and what
is owing unto him; for the better discharging of his conscience,
and the quietness of his Executors. But men should often be put in
remembrance to take order for the settling of their temporal
estates whilst they are in health.
These words before rehearsed may be said before
the Minister begin his Prayer, as he shall see cause.
The Minister should not omit earnestly to move
such sick persons as are of ability to be liberal to the poor.
Here shall the sick person be moved to make a
special confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience troubled
with any weighty matter. After which confession, the Priest shall
absolve him (if he humbly and heartily desire it) after this
Our Lord Jesus
Christ, who hath left power to his Church to absolve all sinners
who truly repent and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive
thee thine offences: And by his authority committed to me, I
absolve thee from all thy sins, In the Name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
And then the Priest shall say the Collect
Let us pray.
merciful God, who, according to the multitude of thy mercies, dost
so put away the sins of those who truly repent, that thou
rememberest them no more: Open thine eye of mercy upon this thy
servant, who most earnestly desireth pardon and forgiveness. Renew
in him (most loving Father)
whatsoever hath been decayed by the fraud and malice of the devil,
or by his own carnal will and
frailness; preserve and continue this sick member in the unity of
the Church; consider his
contrition, accept his tears,
asswage his pain, as shall seem
to thee most expedient for him.
And forasmuch as he putteth
his full trust only in thy
mercy, impute not unto him his
former sins, but strengthen him
with thy blessed Spirit; and, when thou art pleased to take him hence, take him unto thy favour, through the
merits of thy most dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then shall the Minister say this Psalm.
In te, Domine,
speravi. Psalm 71
In thee, O Lord,
have I put my trust; let me never be put to confusion : but rid me,
and deliver me in thy righteousness; incline thine ear unto me, and
Be thou my strong hold, whereunto I may alway
resort : thou hast promised to help me; for thou art my house of
defence, and my castle.
Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the
ungodly : out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
For thou, O Lord God, art the thing that I long
for : thou art my hope, even from my youth.
Through thee have I been holden up ever since I
was born : thou art he that took me out of my mother's womb; my
praise shall alway be of thee.
I am become as it were a monster unto many: but
my sure trust is in thee.
O let my mouth be filled with thy praise : that
I may sing of thy glory and honour all the day long.
Cast me not away in the time of age : forsake me
not when my strength faileth me.
For mine enemies speak against me, and they that
lay wait for my soul take their counsel together, saying : God hath
forsaken him, persecute him, and take him; for there is none to
Go not far from me, O God : my God, haste thee
to help me.
Let them be confounded and perish that are
against my soul : let them be covered with shame and dishonour that
seek to do me evil.
As for me, I will patiently abide alway : and
will praise thee more and more.
My mouth shall daily speak of thy righteousness
and salvation : for I know no end thereof.
I will go forth in the strength of the Lord God:
and will make mention of thy righteousness only.
Thou, O God, hast taught me from my youth up
until now : therefore will I tell of thy wondrous works.
Forsake me not, O God, in mine old age, when I
am gray-headed : until I have shewed thy strength unto this
generation, and thy power to all them that are yet for to come.
Thy righteousness, O God, is very high, and
great things are they that thou hast done : O God, who is like unto
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to
the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever
shall be : world without end. Amen.
O Saviour of the
world, who by thy Cross and precious Blood hast redeemed us: Save
us, and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.
Then shall the Minister say,
The Almighty Lord,
who is a most strong tower to all them that put their trust in him,
to whom all things in heaven, in earth, and under the earth, do bow
and obey, be now and evermore thy defence; and make thee know and
feel, that there is none other Name under heaven given to man, in
whom, and through whom, thou mayest receive health and salvation,
but only the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
And after that shall say,
Unto God's gracious
mercy and protection we commit thee. The Lord bless thee, and keep
thee. The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious
unto thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give
thee peace, both now and evermore. Amen.
A Prayer for a sick Child.
O Almighty God, and
merciful Father, to whom alone belong the issues of life and death:
Look down from heaven, we humbly beseech thee, with the eyes of
mercy upon this child now lying upon the bed of sickness. Visit
him, O Lord, with thy salvation;
deliver him in thy good
appointed time from his bodily
pain, and save his soul for thy
mercies' sake: that, if it shall be thy pleasure to prolong his days here on earth, he may live to thee, and be an
instrument of thy glory, by serving thee faithfully, and doing good
in his generation; or else
receive him into those heavenly
habitations, where the souls of them that sleep in the Lord Jesus
enjoy perpetual rest and felicity. Grant this, O Lord, for thy
mercies' sake, in the same thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who
liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God,
world without end. Amen.
A Prayer for a sick person, when there
appeareth small hope of recovery.
O Father of
mercies, and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need: We
fly unto thee for succour in behalf of this thy servant, here lying
under thy hand in great weakness of body. Look graciously upon
him, O Lord; and the more the
outward man decayeth, strengthen him, we beseech thee, so much the more
continually with thy grace and Holy Spirit in the inner man. Give
him unfeigned repentance for all
the errors of his life past, and
stedfast faith in thy Son Jesus; that his sins may be done away by thy
mercy, and his pardon sealed in
heaven, before he go hence, and
be no more seen. We know, O Lord, that there is no word impossible
with thee; and that, if thou wilt, thou canst even yet raise him up, and grant him a longer continuance amongst us:
Yet, forasmuch as in all appearance the time of his dissolution draweth near, so fit
and prepare him, we beseech thee, against the hour of death, that
after his departure hence in
peace, and in thy favour, his
soul may be received into thine everlasting kingdom, through the
merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thine only Son, our Lord and
A commendatory Prayer for a sick person at the
point of departure.
O Almighty God,
with whom do live the spirits of just men made perfect, after they
are delivered from their earthly prisons: We humbly commend the
soul of this thy servant, our dear brother, into thy hands, as into the
hands of a faithful Creator, and most merciful Saviour; most humbly
beseeching thee that it may be precious in thy sight. Wash it, we
pray thee, in the blood of that immaculate Lamb, that was slain to
take away the sins of the world; that whatsoever defilements it may
have contracted in the midst of this miserable and naughty world,
through the lusts of the flesh or the wiles of Satan, being purged
and done away, it may be presented pure and without spot before
thee. And teach us who survive, in this and other like daily
spectacles of mortality, to see how frail and uncertain our own
condition is; and so to number our days, that we may seriously
apply our hearts to that holy and heavenly wisdom, whilst we live
here, which may in the end bring us to life everlasting, through
the merits of Jesus Christ, thine only Son our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer for persons troubled in mind or in
Lord, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comforts: We
beseech thee, look down in pity and compassion upon this thy
afflicted servant. Thou writest bitter things against him, and makest him to possess his former iniquities; thy wrath lieth
hard upon him, and his soul is full of trouble: But, O
merciful God, who hast written thy holy Word for our learning, that
we, through patience and comfort of thy holy Scriptures, might have
hope; give him a right
understanding of himself, and of
thy threats and promises; that he may neither cast away his confidence in thee, nor place it
any where but in thee. Give him
strength against all his
temptations, and heal all his
distempers. Break not the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking
flax. Shut not up thy tender mercies in displeasure; but make him to hear of joy and gladness, that
the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Deliver him from fear of the enemy, and lift
up the light of thy countenance upon him, and give him peace, through the merits and
mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Text from The Book of Common Prayer, the
rights in which are vested in the Crown,
is reproduced by permission of the Crown's Patentee, Cambridge