Category Archives: Prayers

A Prayer for Mental Illness

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Although sometimes we feel we lack everything. Sometimes we cannot see what you have given us through the lie of what has been taken away. Show us how to see your blessing. Show us how to see your provision when the world teaches us an economy of fear and scarcity.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

Refresh us, Lord. Let the raging waters be quiet. Let dry pastures be watered. Let us lie down and rest without fear.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

We so often turn from your path—believing lies about ourselves, about others, about you; taking on burdens that are not ours to bear; struggling to entrust you with ourselves, our family, our friends, and our circumstances. Guide us along your path of trust and contentment.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

The valley of depression, the valley of medication, the valley of sorrow, the valley of pain and abandonment, the valley of past wrongs done to me, the valley of despair, the valley of derision, the valley of fear, the valley of waiting, the valley of misunderstanding.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of the valley in which you walk, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;

Although we sometimes feel abandoned, you have not left us alone. You have not left us alone with our depression, with our sorrow, our pain, our illness, our despair, our fear, our waiting. You have not left us alone with the past wrongs that have been done to us, with the derision and misunderstanding of others. You have not left us alone. You are with us.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

With your rod, you protect us from ourselves. With your staff, you protect us from the harm of others. Your truth comforts us, as we find our identity wholly and firmly locked up in you.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

Although we are surrounded by people who do not understand the weight we bear, the struggles we face, we gather to eat at your table. Although we suffer ignorant comments, laughter, and sometimes shame—we are worthy to eat at your table. We can eat our fill—even feast—because you have not despised us. You have made us welcome.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

You have made us worthy. You have made us chosen. You accept us with all our flaws, with all our illness and frailty, with all our failings. You have anointed us, us, to serve with you—our cup overflows with joy.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,

Surely goodness and love will follow us. Surely goodness and love will chase us down—despite ourselves, despite others, despite our circumstances—goodness and love, by the power and grace of your Spirit, have found us. And will never let us go.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Forever. In health, in strength, in love, in mercy. Forever. Amen.

The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

And as we rest in that assurance, we pray for those who live without it, and who live with the pain and stigma of mental illness. We ask that you would watch over those who live on the street, without the medication they so desperately need. We pray that you would hold accountable those systems that have let these precious children of yours down, that have left them destitute. We pray for those who are in positions of power—that, as they make policies and work to improve existing structures of care, they would faithfully and carefully consider the welfare of those who struggle with mental illness. We pray that you would prevent us from putting distance between ourselves and those struggling with mental illness. That you would grow in us the love we need to take action, and to make their struggle our own.

Comfort those who live with the darkness of depression. May we be a light in the darkness for them. Teach us to avoid false cheerfulness, and instead give us wisdom to know how to help our friends and family who struggle in this way to come up for air. To see, again, your goodness. Lord, watch over those who are, even now, contemplating suicide. Stop their hands. Send someone to intervene.

Guard our tongues from unthinking and unkind words that contribute to feelings of worthlessness. Empower us to use our words, instead, to speak for those who cannot. To proclaim your worth over those our culture denigrates. To defend the powerless, and stop others from contributing to the stigma that mental illness so often carries.

Bring the comfort only you can bring to those who have lost a loved one to mental illness. And use us to bring comfort. May we, your church, be a healing presence, a safe community, a strong advocate for the mentally ill.

Thank you for the assurance that you do not let go. That you are always with us. May we in turn extend that hope to every person we encounter.



O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up–for you the flag is flung–for you the bugle trills,

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths–for you the shores a-crowding,

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning…

–Walt Whitman


My heart is heavy today, as are many of yours, at least on this side of the world.  A great light has gone out.  A voice has been stilled.  Though we know that the moments we have with the people who elevate their art to a professional level–making so many of us laugh, or think, or escape our mundane little lives for and hour and a half while they give us a good show–it’s still a shock when they are gone.

Robin Williams made so many people laugh.  My best friend Ryan put it best, “It makes me so sad that he died from being so sad.”  It’s hard to fathom the depth of that sadness, for most of us.

Part of experiencing human life is feeling the emotion of depression.  For most of us, that’s how we experience it–an emotion. But for some of our brothers and sisters in this life, depression is a disease.

Depression is as serious as cancer, or heart disease, or a variety of metabolic dysfunctions.  And just like all those other illnesses, depression can be terminal, even with a great treatment plan, even with lots of support, even when things seem to be going in the right direction.  Just like massive heart attacks after years of clean eating and good exercise, or a relapse after extensive remission, or a devastating little infection that won’t clear up with any medicine known to exist.  And that sucks.  It’s brutal and scary and hard.  But it’s true.  And unless and until we stop pretending that depression is something someone can help having, something someone has control over, we will continue to have people we love, famous and ordinary and next door, die from it.

We have to stop talking about how people who die from depression are selfish.  You’d never say that about someone who died from a brain tumor.  We have to stop shaming people for taking appropriate pharmaceutical steps to treat depression, and from seeking professional counseling.  You would never say that about someone who needed to take insulin, or a blood thinner to stay alive.  We have to make mental healthcare check-ups as important as our yearly physicals–and they should be affordable for everyone, including and especially children.  Most importantly, we have to be willing to talk to the people in our lives we are concerned about–we must not wait until they start acting out.  Don’t put the burden on someone who’s hurting to come and talk to you.  Think of it like being aware at the airport–if you see something, say something.  And for the love of little green apples, be kind and loving.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, please know that you are not as alone as you feel.  You are not stuck.  You are amazing.  You are beloved.  Your place in the world–who you are and how you are–is holy, and important.  You give joy in ways you cannot imagine.  People are praying for you, right now.  People are loving you, right down to your toes, right now.  Good things are coming.  Hold on.  You can do it, and all the people who love you want to help, in good and kind ways.  Your friends at are grateful that you read this, and if you want to email any of us to talk about your stories, or to reach out for more information on how you or someone you love can begin recovery, please contact us by following the links on our “About Us” page.

Robin Williams…you were a piece of my happy early childhood, with your lovable alien Mork, clips of stand up I was probably too young to really appreciate, star in some of my most favorite movies, and the best James Lipton interview I’ve ever seen…may you rest in peace, and rise in glory.

Watch this…






Thoughts for Thursday: The Ascension

In light of the gospel reading from Sunday I thought I would repost this:


Today is the Ascension of the Lord.

One of my favorite things about this feast day is all of the amazing art and iconography that has been created to commemorate it. By far, Salvador Dali’s “Ascension of Christ” is my favorite:

I’ll let you feast your eyes for a second.

I love the ‘apostles’ eye view’ of this painting, the curled fingers, the weird looking egg crate thing in the background. There are actually several icons/paintings showing the “disappearing feet” of Jesus.

I’m pretty sure this lady and I are long lost BFF’s, since we both love travel, art, architecture, and old churches. She has a great post about several different pieces of artwork featuring “just the feet” and some background on how it got started.

When I first saw an icon/painting of the ascension that was just the feet I thought it was quirky and kinda cool. While I love the traditional icons and art as well there is something about the different perspective of the feet paintings that resonates with me. Maybe it’s that out-of-the-box, different paradigm, unusual angle thing, and I’m kind of out-of-thebox, different paradigm, and unusual. It’s nice to know that in the year 400 there were people thinking creatively and differently about their religious art.


Lastly, I want to share this passage from Ephesians with you. I want you to know that I mean every word of it and I hope you put it in your pocket today, pull it out every once in a while, and read it.

” I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.” (Ephesians 1:16-19)

On This Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day to remember those men and women who have given their lives to protect our freedom.  The following is a list of those American men and women who died in Afghanistan during the past year.  Please join me in praying for them and their loved ones. If you would like to add anyone to the list please add them in the comments.  God Bless.


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An Appropriate Way To Start Your Memorial Day – 5/26/14

…before you go out to celebrate this Memorial Day, please take a minute to remind yourself of what you are celebrating and how this day came to be.  God Bless!

There just aren’t enough hours in the day!!!


This week our cake makers are feeling a little overwhelmed.  Many of us have major events going on at work or in our personal lives that are using up all our energy and brain power.  Finding time to do all the things you want to do can be hard.  So what gets neglected?

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Thousand Word Fridays: #BringBackOurGirls


Please pray for the 276 girls who were kidnapped in Nigeria on April 14th, for their families and for those involved in the effort to rescue them. #BringBackOurGirls !

Almighty God, we lift up to you the many victims of kidnapping and abduction, that they may be strengthened by your love and protected by your hand. We pray also for their families and their communities, that they may find solace and comfort in you and in one another. We pray especially for  Deborah, Awa, Hauwa, Asabe, Mwa, Patiant, Saraya, Mary, Gloria, ​Hanatu, Gloria, Tabitha, Maifa, Ruth, Esther, Awa, Anthonia, Kume, Aisha, Nguba, Kwanta, Kummai, Esther, Hana, Rifkatu, Rebecca, Blessing, Ladi, Tabitha, Ruth, Safiya, Na’omi, Solomi, Rhoda, Rebecca, Christy, Rebecca, Laraba, Saratu, Mary, Debora, Naomi, Hanatu, Hauwa, Juliana, Suzana, Saraya, Jummai, Mary, Jummai, Yanke, Muli, Fatima, Eli, Saratu, Deborah, Rahila, Luggwa, Kauna, Lydia, Laraba, Hauwa, Comfort, Hauwa, Hauwa, Yana, Laraba, Saraya, Glory, Na’omi, Godiya, Awa, Na’omi, Maryamu, Tabitha, Mary, Ladi, Rejoice, Luggwa, Comfort, Saraya, Sicker, Talata, Rejoice, Deborah, Salomi, Mary, Ruth, Esther, Ether, Maryamu, Zara, Maryamu, Lydia, Laraba, Na’omi, Rahila, Ruth, Ladi, Mary, Esther, Helen, Margret, Deborah, Filo, Febi, Ruth, Rachael, Rifkatu, Mairama, Saratu, Jinkai, Margret, Yana, Grace, Amina, Palmata, Awagana, Pindar, Yana, Saraya, Hauwa, Hauwa, Hauwa, Maryamu, Maimuna, Rebeca, Liyatu, Rifkatu, Naomi, Deborah, Ladi, Asabe, Maryamu, Ruth, Mary, Abigail, Deborah, Saraya, Kauna, Christiana, Yana, Hauwa, Hadiza, Lydia, Ruth, Mary, Lugwa, Muwa, Hanatu, Monica, Margret, Docas, Rhoda, Rifkatu, Saratu, Naomi, Hauwa, Rahap, Deborah, Hauwa, Hauwa, Serah, Aishatu, Aishatu, Hauwa, Hamsatu, Mairama, Hauwa, Ihyi, Hasana, Rakiya, Halima, Aisha, Kabu, Yayi, Falta, Kwadugu.

We pray for the many other girls whose names we do not know.

We pray for their abductors, that they may be convinced to release them to their families, and that your justice be served. And we pray these things in the name of your most precious son, Jesus Christ. Amen.



For the love… (Happy Valentine’s Day)


For the love that bound my mother’s heart to mine on the day I was born;

For the love that a calming voice wove in my father’s strong arms;

For the love that meant my brother didn’t leave me behind Continue reading

Feast Day of St. Simon the Zealot and St. Jude

Today is the feast day of St. Simon the Zealot and St. Jude, sometimes referred to as the “evangelizing team”.  Some theologians think that Simon and Jude went together as missionaries to Armenia and Persia and were martyred there in the city of Suanir in the year 47. If this is true, it explains, to some extent, our lack of historical information on them and also why they are usually put together.  Evangelize has become such a dirty word to me that it is tough for me not to judge these disciples who lived thousands of years ago.  When I think of evangelism I am actually thinking of proselytizing but I am not sure how to change my thoughts when evangelism is the term people use.

So when I think of these two saints evangelizing I wonder, were they preaching the Gospel through their actions and the sharing of knowledge or were they preaching that Jesus is the only way and conversion must happen immediately to keep your soul from burning for eternity?  What do you think the disciples did to share the good news?  How can we do the same without compromising our moral obligation to love unconditionally?

Simon and Jude

St. Jude

Patron: Desperate situations; forgotten causes; hospital workers; hospitals; impossible causes; lost causes; diocese of Saint Petersburg, Florida.

Symbols: Bearded man holding an oar, a boat, boat hook, a club, an axe or a book; nearly every image depicts him wearing a medallion with a profile of Jesus, and usually with a small flame above his head; often carries a pen or sits at a writing location to make reference to the canonical Epistle; sailboat; inverted cross; square; halbert; club; loaves and fish; long cross; knotted club; boat hook; fuller’s bat; lance; saw; flail; closed book; shield: red with sailboat with a cross on the mast.

St. Simon

Patron: Curriers; sawmen; sawyers; tanners.

Symbols: Boat; fish; man being sawn in two longitudinally; fish and book; oar; saw; two fishes; lance; fuller’s bat; axe; cross; saw and oar saltire; fish on a boat hood; sword; shield: red background with two oars and a hatchet.

Happy Columbus Day!

I would love to say that I am a “good” American and I celebrate the discovery of our great land but this is how I feel about this day in history :


Columbus didn’t discover America.  Most of the things we think about him and his journey are wrong.  In fact, he wasn’t really a stand up guy and in my opinion doesn’t deserve being celebrated.  Maybe instead of celebrating Columbus Day, we should spend this day honoring the millions of people that were killed or suffered from his actions.  Columbus Day should be a dark day in our history but instead we make it a National Holiday.


Just in case you needed another reason to feel disenchanted today, remember that we should be praying for the thousands of people still out of work today: