After thanking God for the many blessings in our lives, it’s natural to then pray for God’s continued provision, protection, and help. During Jane’s lifetime, medical knowledge was still limited, people lived in remote homes and villages, ships sank, mothers died in childbirth, and wars claimed fathers and sons. Thus, Jane asks God to “be Gracious” toward their needs and “guard” them during the night. She also asks God to care for and watch over the “sick and afflicted.”
When Marianne falls ill in Sense and Sensibility, Elinor spends her days “attending and nursing her” and “carefully administering the cordials prescribed.” When, on the third evening, Marianne worsens, Elinor notices the change and resolves to sit with Marianne through the night: “Mrs. Jennings, knowing nothing of any change in the patient, went unusually early to bed; her maid, who was one of the principal nurses, was recreating herself in the housekeeper’s room, and Elinor remained alone with Marianne.”
Be Gracious to our Necessities, and guard us, and all we love, from Evil this night. May the sick and afflicted, be now, & ever thy care . . .
Are you sick, afflicted, in trouble, or alone?