A Prayer Regarding Mental Health
Written by Erika Castiglione
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month. Last May, during mental health awareness month, I had the privilege of leading the congregation in prayer. This is a topic that is near to my heart for several reasons:
1. I have personally struggled with seasons of both depression and anxiety, and I know how overwhelming it can feel.
2. I know and love many people who struggle with various mental health issues and I long for their healing and wholeness.
3. I believe there is power in bringing things into the light, and I think it is good and right to dismantle the stigma we sometimes see in the church regarding mental illness.
4. Scripture-especially the Psalms-gives us a model for how to pray when hope seems lost, and our beds are “drenched with tears”(Psalm 6:6).
5. We experience unity as a body when we learn to both weep and rejoice with one another.
Almost every sentence in the prayer below has a scriptural counterpart. It gives me hope to know that God’s word speaks both to our brokenness, and God’s power to transform and heal. I hope we will continue to be a praying church, trusting in God’s goodness and strength, and when our faith is fragile, I hope we will look to one another to lift us up. Lastly, I hope we will seek out the help we need. If you are struggling, please reach out to a pastor, elder, staff member, or community group leader.
Now, let us pray:
We pray for those right now who are burdened with depression. Those for whom joy feels like an impossibility, and peace always feels out of reach, those who like the psalmist, worn out from groaning, cry “how long, oh Lord, must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” We ask that you to please draw near to them, heal them, transform their minds, cover them in your love and care.
We pray for those who are suffering from anxiety, whose minds, bodies, and hearts are weighed down by the brokenness of the world, the stress of their circumstances, or the effects of trauma. We pray for freedom, for peace, and wholeness.
We pray for those who suffer from other forms of mental illness, who are weary from seeking answers and trying to break cycles. May your light shine in the darkness and bring hope, new life, and redemption.
We pray also for those who care for those who struggle. Pour out on them an extra measure of grace and perseverance, give them a support system as well, and protect their hearts and minds.
We pray for counselors, therapists, psychiatrist, psychologist, and all those who work in the mental health field, many who are feeling overwhelmed themselves as they are caring for so many, and as they know so many are waiting to receive care. May you give them wisdom, guidance, and rest.
We pray that we would be a safe church for all who struggle in varying ways. We pray that we would seek understanding and show grace. We pray that we would trust you to do mighty things in our lives and we would trust you when the road seems long and unchanging. We pray that you would protect us from the lies of the enemy and that you would speak truth and love over us.
Thank you that you know every facet of our bodies, minds, and souls. Nothing is hidden from you. You know what we need, and you have the power to reshape what is broken and to bring beauty from ashes. Thank you that you have promised to hear our cries. Help us to take heart, and wait for you, so that we may see your goodness in the land of the living. Amen.