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Let's Talk & Let's Pray

I am so grateful for Wednesday's 'Let's Talk,' campaign to encourage us all to remove whatever stigma we attach to mental illness, and to help those who suffer.  For too long it is something many have been afraid to speak of and there has been an unfair burden of shame associated with it.  There may have been an assumption that those who suffer in this way are weak of character or unfit for a position in the workplace. Such assumptions are so damaging and unfair and the sooner we lose them the better.  

Mental illness has touched most of our families yet we have not wanted to speak of it, perhaps in part to protect those who suffer, or perhaps also for fear people might think it is in our genes or blood.  However, as we talk about it, we soon discover it hits close to home for almost all of us.  So let's completely remove whatever stigma remains and get on with caring.  But we must keep talking and listening and loving and praying. I offer the following prayer in the hope it might help others to pray.  

Gracious and Merciful God, we give you thanks for our life as human beings on this magnificent earth and in this vast universe.  There is so much that is beyond our knowing and thinking, but in your wisdom you have given us our minds with which to think deeply and clearly about all manner of things. This gift enables us  to solve mathematical problems, to compose musical symphonies and to discern truth.  Thank you for the gift of our minds and help us to use them to first love you and second love our neighbour as we love ourselves.  

We pray too, O God, for all who struggle with mental illness.  Help us to love them with our whole being and to engage our minds and hearts towards a greater understanding of and healing for all who struggle with this burden.  We thank you for families and friends who go the distance to care for those who suffer, even when the answers are few and the hope small.  May their love  bring peace to those for whom they care.  We pray for communities like the House of Compassion and CAMH and all who work and serve in countless agencies and clinics.  Continue to grant them wisdom and clarity and hearts of love.  

We thank you too for the profound courage and faith of those who live and struggle with mental illness.  Remove the obstacles from the minds of those who are well that they might see the uniqueness and beauty and enormous potential of all who suffer.   Above all, O God, we thank you for your presence in Jesus who refused to attach stigma to any who suffered, and whose power and love continues to bring liberation and hope.  May his mind live in us all that we might be faithful instruments of your peace.   Amen.  


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Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes

Peter Holmes, BA, MDiv, DMin is the Minister of the Congregation at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church

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