Prayer warriors share faith at La Grange Hospital
Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital employees Monica Stadnicki (left) of Brookfield, and Norma Lovett pray over requests submitted by hospital patients, visitors and staff.
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:13AM
LA GRANGE — Some are scribbled quickly on the back of receipts that are folded and re-folded into tiny squares. Others are printed neatly on scrap paper. Still others are penciled on the back of business cards created expressly for the purpose of recording prayer requests. The ones scrawled in the large, careful handwriting of children mean the most to Monica Stadnicki.
“Please pray for my grandma so she can get better,” one child’s prayer reads.
Monica Stadnicki, a financial counselor in Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital’s admitting department, placed the first prayer box in her department years ago, inviting co-workers to submit their requests. More recently, she expanded the realm of the prayer boxes by setting out boxes at each patient registration station for patients and their family members. Employees from other areas of the hospital started to take notice, and soon the boxes started cropping up in other departments, including the emergency department.
The prayers written by co-workers remain confidential. Once her little metal box is full, Stadnicki takes it to the hospital chapel and empties it out into a basket. Members of the pastoral care department dispose of the scraps of paper by burning them every so often.
As for the prayers written by patients and their families, Stadnicki collects them and prays through them every Friday. Sometimes she and a co-worker read the requests aloud together and pray together; when she is too busy to devote time to prayer, she brings the pile to the pastoral care department so chaplains can pray for the requests.
“Reading through the prayers is heartwrenching and uplifting at the same time,” said Jenny Tillay, manager of pastoral care at the hospital. “We’re grateful for prayer warriors like Monica, who put their faith into action by reaching out to their co-workers and to our patients and their families.”
Employees in the health information management department place prayer requests in a blue porcelain box set out by Norma Lovett, an technician. The box is inscribed with a message: “I said a prayer for you,” and cites Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Even though Lovett doesn’t look at the requests, she takes them, unread, to the chapel every Wednesday. She believes the box provides an important spiritual outlet for members of her team.
“It brings a sense of peace to the department,” Lovett said.
Yet the idea wasn’t an overnight success. It took weeks for co-workers to warm up to the prayer boxes when they were first set out several years ago, both Stadnicki and Lovett said. Both women are spiritual ambassadors, employees who voluntarily serve to meet the spiritual needs of their co-workers, offering prayers, a listening ear and other types of support.
“At first, people were reluctant,” Stadnicki recalled. “But now, the people who weren’t warm to the idea are the first to submit their prayers. And I think it’s made us a better team. We’ve grown and have become more like a family.”
Stadnicki is grateful for the opportunity to work in an environment where prayer is not simply tolerated but instead an integral part of the organization’s mission.
“I really feel like this is why I’m here, at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital,” Stadnicki said. “God put me here for a specific purpose — to pray for others.”