mental illness

Lost in the Barrens: A Prayer for Drug Addiction

God, you know why people abuse drugs;
you’ve seen the cycles, spiralling downwards,
and all they have lost and left behind.
You know the relationships destroyed, the jobs abandoned,
the joy and easy enjoyment of life itself, gone.
You have seen despair and self-hatred grow
as they struggle with impulses they can’t control.
If only it was as easy as “Just say no.”

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Prayer for Those Addicted to Drugs

Lord, we are praying for those we love
whose lives are chained by the power of drugs.
They have sacrificed everything to this cruel master :
work, home, relationships, honesty,
even love seems barely to matter.
And still more is demanded of them:
we fear it will take their very life.
We need a miracle
because we’ve done everything we can think of.
Where there is recklessness, bring caution,
where there is compulsion, bring freedom,
where there is desperation, bring hope,
where death looms,

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A Prayer for Those Contemplating Suicide

For each of your beloved children
who this night are poised to take their own life,
we pray this prayer.
For those plagued by despair,
for those haunted by hopelessness,
for those immersed in mind-numbing pain,
for those confused by bewildering delusions,
for those mired in violent memories,
for those pushed to the edge by grief,
for those bullied because of their sexuality,

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Prayer for Those who are Addicted

The Spirit of the Lord is upon us
bringing good news to the oppressed,
proclaiming liberty to the captives,
releasing the prisoners.
Great Redeemer, we need your good news
for all of us who are captive to addictions.
Good news for people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs.
Good news for people who are addicted to gambling.
Good news for people who are addicted to tobacco or food.
Good news for people who are addicted to pornography.
Good news for people who are addicted to work.
Grant liberty to all who are bound by the chains of addiction.

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God of Gardens Congregational Prayer

God of gardens,
thank you for the garden of [name your area]
for tree peonies and white lilacs,
for graceful roses, and sweet honeysuckle [name the flowers that bloom in your area]
For fields carpeted in green, for vegetables growing, for fruit setting,
for the whole wide earth teeming with life everywhere we look,
for the birds that sing choruses of praise every morning.
The kingdom of God is like this;
beautiful and rich and many faceted,
blooming in hearts around the world for those who have eyes to see.
The news tells us every horrible thing that happens,
but you bring good news:
that people do love each other, that people do help each other,
that you care for us, that we can make a difference.

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Psalm for those Living with Mental Illness

Oh God, you are my God!  I seek you!
I am feeling heavy and tired,
I am troubled and empty.
From this place of pain I cry out to you!
I have never felt so sad,
I am totally overwhelmed,
I am facing despair.
People around me say,
“You’ll feel better tomorrow.”
They say I lack faith,
they are irritated with me and say,
“Pull yourself together!”

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Celebrate: A Poem for Survivors of Mental Illness

On the long journey,
where many steps are required each day,
there comes a time to pause and look back,
to join with a companion and say, “There!
Those steps have been completed, they’re done.
I’ve come this far.”
Or if no companion is there,
to stand alone and whisper, with clear eyes,
“I’ve done this, I’ve made this journey.”

The journey with mental illness
has milestones seldom marked except by those who walk there…
a day where I continued to live,
a week where I managed to take my medication,

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Litany for Mental Illness

God, you are the great Healer.
Today we pray for those who live with mental illness. 
For those crippled by depression and anxious feelings,
                bring healing, bring peace.
For those who suffer from the high and lows of severe mood swings,
                bring healing, bring peace.
For those who are tormented by voices and hallucinations,
                bring healing, bring peace.
For those who find it difficult to cope with tasks of daily living,
                bring healing, bring peace.
For those who struggle with suicidal thoughts,

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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