A prayer from Psalm 23 for Mental Health Awareness Week

Sharon Smith and her coaches at Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries

Sharon Smith and her coaches at Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries.

Next week (May 5 – 11) is Mental Health Awareness Week. Working with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries is helping Christians become more aware of the importance of mental health in general, and also of the joy, grace and solace that comes when dealing with mental illness in an open and supportive way.

Sanctuary’s executive director, Sharon Smith, PhD (rehabilitation sciences, UBC), encourages churches to ask: “How can we fully participate with Christ in mental health recovery?” And she herself asks: “If you are looking for a prayer or liturgy to use this week in your community of faith, why not try this one, written by Stacey Gleddiesmith. Following is an edited excerpt from Stacey’s prayer/liturgy, from Psalm 23. For the full version go to her Thinking Worship blog.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Although sometimes we feel we lack everything. Show us how to see your provision when the world teaches us an economy of fear and scarcity.

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. 

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. Guide us along your path of trust and contentment.

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; you have not left us alone. 

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.
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. You have made us welcome.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
You have made us worthy. You accept us with all our flaws, with all our illness and frailty, with all our failings. 
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
Surely goodness and love will chase us down – despite ourselves, despite others, despite our circumstances.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Forever. In health, in strength, in love, in mercy. Forever. Amen.
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