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.
© 2016 Amy Simpson.