Bailie's Note: One of the things I love most is writing prayers. This is a Prayer for the People that I wrote for #mentalhealthawareness month. Prayers like this are meant to be read in community, and I'm offering this one for anyone who has found themselves in this community of people with mental illnesses. I hope that something resonates with you.
Holy God, we come before you today in the quiet and in the stillness. As we feel our chest rise and fall, as we notice the way the light pours in through the windows, we know you are here with us. In the chaos of our lives, we are thankful for these moments to reflect on who you are. We are thankful that you love us – each of us – and that your love is not based on what we do, or what we can achieve.
We are thankful that you are a God who stays with us, even in the toughest of moments. And we are thankful that we can see your love reflected in our friends and our family – who hold our hands and offer their support when things get difficult.
Lord, today we pray for those who experience the weight of living with a mental illness. Just as Hagar names you in the desert, we know that you are the God who sees. And so we sit here, with open hearts, hoping that you see us too.
We pray for those who have been recently diagnosed – may they have the courage to move forward without fear. May they find people to turn to – people that they can be honest with when they are scared and hurting. Give them patience and peace as they navigate a new diagnosis, and remind them that you walk with them.
Lord we pray for those who have been living with a mental illness. In the faithful acts of self-care, may they find your Holy Spirit is present with them. When they set boundaries, and when they meditate, when they breathe, be with them. When they need someone to lift their arms, to help them fight the battle – send the right people. Help them resist the urge to keep a stronghold on their hearts, and help them see that their stories are stories of your faithfulness and love.
Lord we pray for those who are experiencing hospitalization. Be in their hospital rooms. Be with their nurses and their doctors and their chaplains. Help them to remember that they are created in your image and that you are not afraid of them. That you do not step back from them in their most difficult moments.
And Lord, for those who feel like it is all too much we pray that you would pour out your comfort. That you would nudge their family and their friends in the right direction. That you would give them the words to ask for help. Remind us that “How long, oh Lord?” is not a misguided question, but one that has been asked over the course of Christian history. And that in asking this question, we join a beloved community of people who seek God, even into the darkness.
Your word tells us that the beloved of the Lord rest between his shoulders. Right now we pray for that rest, for all of us.