Retro Riley: Finding peace and hope in prayer

Riley 100 |

07/11/2024

Riley Prayer Book

The sacred space found in Riley Hospital’s chapel provides a place for quiet, peace, rest, reflection and prayer for families, friends and medical staff.

“Riley Hospital’s chapel offers a private place where people of all faiths can find spiritual comfort, connection and direction from whatever higher power they believe in,” said the Rev. Marcos Collado, director of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy at Riley Hospital for Children.

Through the years, Riley chaplains have provided a book in the chapel where anyone can write prayers. Thousands have written prayers for themselves or a loved one in the prayer book, found at the front altar of the chapel.

Around 2010-2011, then-Riley Chief Operating Officer Brett Lee, who wanted to share the spiritual heart of Riley Hospital with others, approached Chaplain Manager the Rev. Dan Young and the Rev. Beth Watson, IU Health Director of Chaplaincy Services, about reviewing the prayers from some of the most recent prayer books from the chapel. The idea was to select some of the most memorable prayers for publication in a book. The project resulted in the published volume “Voices from Riley.” The chaplains reviewed the prayers and wrote the pastoral reflections for each section. Photographs were then matched with prayers from Riley kids, parents and caregivers.

In 2012, “Voices from Riley” was published by Anderson University Press, Anderson, Indiana. Dr. Richard Schreiner, former chairman of Riley Hospital’s Department of Pediatrics (1987-2009), wrote the introduction to the book “because this little book of deeply felt prayers is so important in showing what Riley Hospital means to so many people,” he said.

Below is a sampling of some of the prayers:

Prayers from Riley patients, parents and caregivers:

“I pray for my surgery and that the transplant will not go wrong. The doctors know a lot about surgery, and I hope they fix me right and that it heals up quickly so that maybe I can be famous!”

“Bubba – I will always love you, and I need you to get better so we can play cars and trains.”

“I pray for God and His magic powers to help us.”

“Dear Lord – please give us one more good day with our baby.”

“Dear Lord, our child needs you . . . please help us! Help me to be strong Lord.”

“Dear Father – Please watch over my beautiful son tomorrow as he goes into surgery. I am so scared, but I know that I need to believe that you will heal him.”

“Give me the strength and wisdom to be the answer to those in need today as I care for my patients.”

“Lord, as I care for my patients today, please give me strength, knowledge, courage, and maybe a little luck.”

“Heavenly Father, thank you for Your love. Thank you for this wonderful hospital and all the doctors and staff . . . they have saved our grandson.”

Although “Voices from Riley” is now out of print, several copies can still be found in the Edward A. Block Riley Family Library that can be checked out by hospital families. Dr. Schreiner, who remains a stalwart advocate for this book, expressed hope that someone might provide the funding needed to make a second printing of the book or to publish a second volume.

“There’s no other book like this in Riley Hospital’s arsenal of resources for help, hope and inspiration for Riley patients, Riley parents and Riley caregivers,” said Dr. Schreiner.

--Compiled by the Riley Hospital Historic Preservation Committee; photos provided by Riley Children’s Health and Dr. Richard L. Schreiner