In this section of the Chaplaincy website you can find a collection of prayers, poems and readings, that we have collected over the years and know that our patients and their families have found helpful.

We hope you find them helpful, too. If you’d like to suggest any to us, please get in touch.


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…..And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

From 1 Corinthians 13

Lead Me

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

By Thomas Merton

Day by Day

Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits thou hast given me,
for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,
may I know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow thee more nearly, day by day.

By St Richard of Chichester


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

by Max Ehrmann

Hope with feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

By Emily Dickinson

Do it anyway

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centred;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

By Mother Teresa

Don’t quit!

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low but the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit…
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit!

Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many failures turn about
When we might have won had we stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow…
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out…
And you can never tell how close you are
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

By Edgar A. Guest

Joy and Sorrow

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Kahlil Gibran

Lying Low Growing Taller

Ye may have missed me,

I’ve been lying low for a few days.

Ye may not have seen me,

I’ve been lying low for a few days.

Ye may have walked past me,

I’ve been lying low for a few days.

I’ve been out of sight on account of bike meeting pothole,

me greeting cold harsh ground.

That’s why I’ve not been around.

Undetectable to many a passing eye,

I was lying largely unnoticed,

but for the curious surveying eyes of ceiling tiles.

The hospital chaplain hardly noticed me,

although he was happy to announce the news that:

God had not abandoned me!

Lucky the healing hands of the NHS seen me,

the doctors, nurses and others abound.

Otherwise I’d still be on the ground.

The world looks different when you’re lying low.

But now with bones fixed, I’m standing and feeling strangely taller.

Perhaps on account of steel rod and screws?

Although now I’ve seen the world from down on the ground

I find my spirit taller.

My taller spirit observes life from new heights

and delights to whisper the news that:

meaning, purpose and hope

have never abandoned me.

I’ve been lying low for a few days,

lying low growing taller.

Patrick Hynes, September 2023

A Blessing for a Chaplain Beginning

“What is spirituality?”

asked the first day of the chaplaincy course.

“To enter the room with empty hands”

replied the first reading of the module.

When I began as a chaplain, I didn’t carry a bag.

I relied on my spiritual intuition.

Time passed and the Imam asked:

“What’s in your bag?”

and I explained how well

the paraphernalia of chaplaincy had flourished.

There were prayer hand-outs,

rosary beads,

pens, paper, a mini whiteboard,

tiny prayer books and poetry too.

Sometimes I worried:

do I have enough in my bag,

maybe I need more?

Time passed and the child asked:

“What’s in your bag?” and I showed her.

The holy man had thought to ask the child’s question.

The child asked because it reveals who you REALLY are.

And the course, the Imam and the child taught me:

to be who I really am.

What is spirituality?

It’s who we really are,

the whole of ourselves.

And that’s enough.

Patrick Hynes, December 2022

Compassionate Body Scan

My children once loved to ride on my shoulders.

Ben especially delighted in this,

With his gift for balance.

And now I meditate, bringing attention to my shoulders,

I can feel Ben sitting up there on his favourite perch.

So lightly feel him there, the years having passed.

But even back then, this burden was light.

I hardly knew he was sitting there but for his radiating joy.

And there he left his imprint upon me.

I let go of his feet, he could not fall off.

He would lightly hold my head.

Those beautiful hands with their gentle embrace.

As we walked together, these hands would speak.

Ben would softly pat my forehead now and then,

As if I was his trusty steed.

These encouraging hands, with pats would whisper:

“Keep walking Dad, you’re doing well”.

Hands that pat, pat, pat: “You’re doing well”.

Bless those compassionate hands,

With their words of wisdom lovingly spoken,

Reaching through time and space.

Patrick Hynes, May 2017, Holy Island