A Prayer for People Living with Mental Illness

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week in the United States. This is important because mental illness is one of those things people don’t know that much about unless they need to–either because they’re mental health professionals or because their lives have been shaken by their own illness or the struggle of someone they love. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I often write about the church’s opportunity and responsibility to help people living with mental health challenges. I believe we all need a level of awareness and competence that will allow us to love and support the people in our midst.

But for some of us, awareness isn’t a problem. Today I’d like to mark this week with a prayer for people who can’t help but live with a high awareness of mental illness because it affects them every day. Will you join me in this prayer today?

A Prayer for People Living with Mental Illness

Loving God, I pray for all whose brains have been hurt by disease, injury, stress, trauma, and other factors of human life in a hard world. I pray for all who love them and want to help. I pray for your comfort in their grief, hope amid loss, and the balm of community with people who understand.

For people with mental illness–may they find hope in you and feel your longing for them.
For parents of children with mental illness–may they know the limits of their power both to cause and to cure.
For children of parents with mental illness–may they know you as loving parent and find places where they can grow up in safety, no matter how old they are.
For friends of suffering people–may they resist the temptation to try to “fix” their friends and recognize the simple power of their loving presence.
For spiritual leaders–may they deny both helplessness and overconfidence, courageously serving as first responders and faithful shepherds.
For people who need treatment and don’t receive it–may they recognize their need, believe life can be better, and find people who can help.
For those burdened by shame and stigma–may they walk into the light and find compassionate people.

Lord, I pray for light in the darkness. I pray that people with vulnerable minds will find hope and help among followers of Christ who will love them and point them toward what they need while letting them live with that need. I pray for acceptance and grace–the same kind of grace you offer so freely to all. I pray that many churches will embrace the opportunity for messy and sometimes thankless ministry among the marginalized, in the name of the one whose love knows no margins.

Amen.

20 Comments
  1. Barb says:

    Wonderful prayer and AMEN!

  2. Pat Franklin says:

    Thanks for reminder that people need love, and that it is not our task to “fix” them.

  3. Katy says:

    Thank you for this prayer. As the adult child of a mother who has long struggled with mental illness, I was just today overwhelmed by life and just wanting a “mom”. I didn’t know if I’ll ever get over that feeling of need even though I’m now too old to have that need in the way i had it as a child. But I’m thankful to always have a truly good, safe Father.

  4. Ummy says:

    I see so many people roaming the streets unwell, oblivious of their surrounding and the cause being mental illness and my heart goes out to them. thanks for this prayer for them.

  5. Forever Caring for My Son says:

    I am the mother of a 21 year old with Mental illness..i pray for his peace of mind, for now, i am limited by what i can do because of his age..i am there for him, his friends, but NOT his Fathet, the root of the problem psychological and emotionally…We Love him Dearly and Support Him, He is truly trying to help himself now.
    I Pray for Encouragement for those effected by Mental Illnesses it is a Concerted Effort to help those who are struggling.

    • Amy says:

      I’ll say a prayer for you as well. I’m sure you need encouragement too. It’s hard to be in your shoes, loving and caring about someone who has mental illness. God bless you.

  6. Kirby says:

    I have a friend who has been diagnosed with Bipolar II. Unfortunately I believe she also has an alcohol addiction illness which rears its ugly head once and a while, most likely as a result of the mental health issues in which she is reluctant to seek help. It pains me to know that this friend is suffering and I cannot convice her that there is so much help available. I turn to prayer and God to guide me in my pursuit to assist my friend, and it alleviates my own distress. I know that God does care about her. But God cannot solve every problem and sometimes we just have to accept what occurs in life just as we accept faith unconditionally.

  7. Diane Hooper says:

    On this anniversary of Columbine, I was searching for a prayer for the mentally ill and was led to yours. It is lovely and compassionate and hopeful for those who suffer from mental illness and those who support them. I will put it in my prayer book and say it often. Thank you.

  8. Falana says:

    I thank you for this prayer. I am a 47 year old mother of two men 28 and 29 of which whom both suffer from mental illness. They have been suffering since their teenage years. My 29 year old is on medication which is helping him after 12 years of trying to find the right meds that work for him. PRAISE GOD! My 28 year old has become a substance and alcohol user/abuser trying to self medicate due to his mental illness. He is in denial that he has a mental illness due to his witnessing what his older brother has endured (hospitalization, jail time, homelessness) throughout the years. I have family members who have given up on my children because they do not know how to deal with the illness and are in denial themselves that my children are suffering from mental illness. Just today, I have had to get an Emergency Custody Order “ECO” for my 28 year old in order for him to get help. It was hard for myself to do this as well as for the police officers to assist due to the laws that are in place to protect the mentally ill. However, I stood there and prayed for GOD’S GRACE and MERCY while having conversation with the officers. At that moment my son volunteered to go and get help, 15 minutes after they left with my child a police officer returned to my home and said that the Community Services Board “CSB” has agreed to accept him into their care. I SHOUTED! THANK YOU JESUS! The officer nodded, smiled and said have a blessed day! GOD is so good. This prayer is an awesome affirmation of the presence of GRACE and MERCY and how we all play a part in others lives directly or indirectly. Thank you so very much for your prayer.

    • Amy says:

      Falana, this is a very encouraging story! I know others will be blessed to hear that God answered your prayers and that your son has access to help. It sounds as if you have been through a lot as a family, and I pray you will continue to both your sons move toward health and strength.

  9. Virginia e walker says:

    Please pray for my adult daughter and me she has a 15 yr old son too I try to fix everything god is my hope she struggles with bipolar thanks

    • Amy says:

      Virginia, I will pray for your family right now. I hope you are finding some help and support for yourself as well. A support group for loved ones of people with mental illness may be helpful to you. Sometimes it’s just really nice to know you’re not alone.

  10. C says:

    My son is homeless in TN . I let him know where he can get help there . We have tried for over 15 years to get him help . I pray he realizes the need for this help and seeks it . As always , the guilt is immeasurable . We adopted him at 9 wks and I always feel i let him down .
    It does not seem that the mentally ill is on anyone’s priority list… I’ve noticed more and more that there are more mentally ill in jail than other people . How can a humane society be so inhuman ?

    • Amy says:

      It sounds as if you and your family have been through an awful lot–and continue to go through it. You’re right, we desperately need to recognize what people with mental illness need and provide more humane solutions.

  11. Ruth says:

    Wonderful, I know of a man who is mentally challenged, I have always wished that God heals him by bringing back his senses,,I do pray for him,,,is it possible that one day God will work on him?? Help me pray

  12. Chadnell says:

    I found your prayer while trying to figure out how to pray for my ex husband. The last 3 years has been awful trying to deal, help and fix him. I’ve realized that I can’t fix this. Its not for me to fix its God job and I had to learn that the hard way. Every time I tried he would turn on me when his mind turned on him. We have a son together who is only 9 and old enough to see the differences in his father. How do I explain mental illness to him while trying to keep his father in a good light. I never knew mental illness was such a beast and how someone you love can look and treat you like they don’t even know you and when the episode is over act like nothing ever happened. The cycle of they’re ok and then not ok makes me feel like I have one as well. How do I hold on to my sanity during his insanity

    • Amy says:

      It sounds as if things are really hard for you right now. I know this is a very difficult way to love, and sometimes it comes with excruciating decisions. It’s important that you find support for yourself. You’re right: you can’t fix him. And you can’t do this alone. So please consider finding a counselor to talk to and looking for a support group in your area. Here are few places you could look: nami.org; freshhope.us; mentalhealthgracealliance.org.

      You might also want to check out Sparks of Redemptive Grace, which has more prayers for loved ones with mental illness: sparksofredemptivegrace.com/

      Also, I have some posts on this blog that you might find helpful. Here are a few:

      Q & A: How Do You Have Hope and Perspective When a Loved One Has Mental Illness?
      http://amysimpson.com/2016/02/q-a-how-do-you-have-hope-and-perspective-when-a-loved-one-has-mental-illness/

      Q&A: How Do I Get My Loved One to Accept Help?
      http://amysimpson.com/2016/05/qa-how-do-i-get-my-loved-one-to-accept-help/

      Hope for When Mental Illness Comes Home
      http://amysimpson.com/2014/04/1821/

      I hope this is helpful. God is with you and will not leave your side. And there are many others who have been down the same road and are willing to walk with you. Try reaching out for support with them.

© 2016 Amy Simpson.