By Lewis Bayly
O merciful Father, who art the Lord and giver of life, and to whom belong the issues of death, we, thy children here assembled, do acknowledge, that in respect of our manifold sins, we are not worthy to ask any blessing for ourselves at thy hands, much less to become suitors to thy Majesty in the behalf of others; yet because thou hast commanded us to pray one for another, especially for the sick, and hast promised that the prayers of the righteous shall avail much with thee, in obedience, therefore, to thy commandment, and confidence of thy gracious promise, we are bold to become humble suitors unto thy divine Majesty, in the behalf of this our dear brother (or sister) whom thou hast visited with the chastisement of thine own fatherly hand. We could gladly wish the restitution of his health, and a longer continuance of his life, and Christian fellowship amongst us; but forasmuch as it appeareth, as far as we can discern, that thou hast appointed by this visitation to call for him out of this mortal life, we submit our wills to thy blessed will, and humbly entreat for Jesus Christ's sake, and the merits of his bitter death and passion, which he hath suffered for him, that thou wouldst pardon and forgive unto him all his sins, as well that wherein he was conceived and born, as also all the offences and transgressions which ever since, to this day and hour, he hath committed in thought, word, and deed, against thy divine Majesty. Cast them behind thy back; remove them as far from thy presence, as the east is from the west; blot them out of thy remembrance; lay them not to his charge; wash them away with the blood of Christ, that they may no more be seen; and deliver him from all the judgments which are due unto him for his sins, that they may never trouble his conscience, nor rise in judgment against his soul; and impute unto him the righteousness of Jesus Christ, whereby he may appear righteous in thy sight. And in his extremity at this time, we beseech thee, look down from heaven upon him with those eyes of grace and compassion, wherewith thou art wont to look upon thy children in their affliction and misery. Pity thy wounded servant, like the good Samaritan; for here is a sick soul that needeth the help of such a heavenly physician. O Lord increase his faith, that he may believe that Christ died for him, and that his blood cleanseth him from all his sins; and either assuage his pain, or else increase his patience, to endure thy blessed will and pleasure. And, good Lord, lay no more upon him than thou shalt enable him to bear. Heave him up unto thyself, with those sighs and groans which cannot be expressed. Make him now to feel what is the hope of his calling, and what is the exceeding greatness of thy mercy and power towards them that believe in thee; and in his weakness, O Lord, shew thou thy strength. Defend him against the suggestions and temptations of Satan, who (as he hath all his life time) will now in his weakness especially seek to assail him and to devour him. O save his soul, and reprove Satan, and command thy holy angels to be about him to aid him, and to chase away all evil and malignant spirits far from him. Make him more and more to loath this world, and to desire to be loosed, and to be with Christ. And when that good hour and time shall come in which thou hast determined to call for him out of this present life; give him grace peaceably and joyfully to yield up his soul into thy merciful hands, and do thou receive her into thy mercy, and let thy blessed angels carry her into thy kingdom. Make his last hour his best hour, his last words his best words, and his last thoughts his best thoughts. And when the sight of his eyes is gone, and his tongue shall fail to do its office, grant, O Lord, that his soul may, with Stephen, behold Jesus Christ in heaven ready to receive him, and that thy Spirit within him may make request for him with sighs which cannot be uttered. Teach us in him to read and see our own end and mortality, and therefore to be careful to prepare ourselves for our last end, and put ourselves in a readiness against the time that thou shalt call for us in the like manner. Thus, Lord, we recommend this our dear brother (or sister), thy sick servant, unto thy eternal grace and mercy, in that prayer, which Christ our Saviour hath taught us:-Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, &c.
Thy grace, O Lord Jesus Christ; thy love, O heavenly Father; thy comfort and consolation, O holy Spirit, be with us all, and especially with this thy sick servant, to the end and in the end. Amen.
Let them read often to the sick some special chapters of the holy Scripture; as-the three first chapters of the book of Job; the 14th and 19th chapters of Job; the 34th chapter of Deuteronomy; the two last chapters of Joshua; the 17th chapter of the first of Kings; the 2d, 4th, and 13th chapters of the second of Kings; the 38th, 40th, and 64th chapters of Isaiah; the history of the passion of Christ; the 8th chapter to the Romans; the 15th chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians; the 4th of the first epistle to the Thessalonians; the 5th chapter of the second epistle of Paul to the Corinthians; the first and last chapters of St. James; the 11th and 12th to the Hebrews; the first epistle of Peter; the three first and the three last chapters of the Revelations, or some of these.
And so exhorting the sick party to wait upon God by faith and patience till he send for him, and praying the Lord to send them a joyful meeting in the kingdom of heaven, and a blessed resurrection at the last day, they may depart at their pleasure in the peace of God.