Prayers during a Pandemic: For Those Managing Addiction and Controlling Behaviors

Our family is taking time daily to pray about the current global health crisis. Our prayers will likely reference the Christian tradition, but we’ve written with an ecumenical and agnostic audience in mind.

If you’d like us to pray for you, let us know. If you’d like us to write a prayer for you or for a concern you have and share it here, just ask. You don’t have to share your name if you don’t want to, and we won’t share it or any other identifying details about you here or elsewhere.

Today, we are focusing our prayer on people who struggle with addiction, substance abuse or misuse, and controlling behaviors. People speak differently about their own experiences with unwanted behaviors, such as misusing or abusing alcohol or drugs, struggles around food, struggles with gaming, gambling, and shopping, and self-harm, as well as restrictions on behavior, such as eating, that they do not wish to engage in. We honor the language they use to speak about themselves and aspire to use language that recognizes their dignity, their individual experiences, and their right to describe their lives in language of their choosing.

Today we think of those who struggle with behaviors they do not want to engage in. We think of those who struggle against alcohol or drug abuse and misuse; those who struggle with eating disorders; those who struggle with gambling, gaming, shopping, or other socially acceptable hobbies that present a problem for them; those who live with obsessive compulsive disorder; those who struggle with harmful restrictions and other self-destructive behaviors; and those who, in the words of the apostle Paul, may feel that they “do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” We lift up people at every stage in the journey of recognition and recovery.

We pray for those we don’t know. We pray for those we do, including [names of people we know struggle against unwanted behaviors, including ourselves]. We pray for all those who love and care for them, too, including their friends, family members, roommates, physicians, therapists, and support partners. We pray for the people who love them to be strong, encouraging, and patient.

We pray for everyone who is currently without access to the care and support they need. Our hope is that they find it. We pray for them to find wells of unknown inner strength, to be able to practice thoughts and beliefs that affirm their dignity and the dignity of others, and to practice compassion for themselves. We pray for them peace of heart; calm, wise minds; emotional regulation; physical ease; and pleasure and joy that reinforce choices that support their health. We pray for people who stumble to “bounce forward,” to be gracious to themselves as they continue their hard work. Our hope for them is that they always find the arms of others to lift them up, hold them, and carrying them, even when others cannot be physically near.

We are thankful for people who model resilience and courage for us.

A work made of oil on canvas.

Above, Monet’s Poppy Field, Giverny (1890/1891). This is one of four canvases he painted of the poppies near his home. Sometimes you can see the individual flowers, and sometimes they blend together. I think there is something comforting about this painting–the mix of distinct and indistinct flowers and trees, the sense that the poppies return each year and this moment is one season of a longer story.

Many national organizations devoted to recovery hold online meetings. While they are not for everyone, if you find them helpful, consider participating in one. Other organizations offer hotlines for you to get help even in the moment of a crisis.

AA online: https://www.onlinegroupaa.org/

NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) is currently offering support by text for people struggling with mental illness, including emotional dysregulation or self-harm: Text NAMI to 741741.

 

 

Prayers during a Pandemic: For Immigrants

Our family is taking time daily to pray about the current global health crisis. Our prayers will likely reference the Christian tradition, but we’ve written with an ecumenical and agnostic audience in mind.

If you’d like us to pray for you, let us know. If you’d like us to write a prayer for you or for a concern you have and share it here, just ask. You don’t have to share your name if you don’t want to, and we won’t share it or any other identifying details about you here or elsewhere.

Today, we are focusing our prayer on people who immigrants.

Today we think of people who are immigrants, those who are far from their home and miss it, those who struggle in a new place and those who embrace it, and those who are far from familiar places and scared. We think especially of immigrants oppressed by systems of injustice, including those imprisoned in US detention centers and those children who have been lost in the US immigration system.

We pray for those we don’t know. We pray for those we do, including [names of immigrants we know, for ourselves if we are immigrants, and for immigrants in specific detention centers]. We pray they have peace. We hope for them safety, security, healing, and confidence that they are loved and remembered. We pray for those who care for them and about them.

We pray, too, for those who oppress them, that they would immediately and unconditionally change their hearts and their ways toward justice, regardless of the cost. And when we have violated the dignity of immigrants and been complicit in their abuse or benefited from it, we seek to accept responsibility for making our wrongdoings right. We seek a just world, one in which the vulnerabilities of immigrants are embraced and not exploited.

We are thankful for immigrants and grateful for all who support them.

 

Above, Lance Canales and the Flood perform Woody Gutherie’s Deportees, written about a 1948 plane crash of braceros–Mexican workers legally in the US to meet the demand for labor–being forced back to Mexico. When the plane crash, the New York Times reported the names of the pilot, guard, and flight attendant but did not list the laborers killed. Canales lists and names the dead. If you are unsure of who to pray for, pray for them, their children and grandchildren, their friends, and every American who ate the food they planted, grew, and picked.

Prayers during a Pandemic: For Those Who Miss Corporate Worship

Our family is taking time daily to pray about the current global health crisis. Our prayers will likely reference the Christian tradition, but we’ve written with an ecumenical and agnostic audience in mind.

If you’d like us to pray for you, let us know. If you’d like us to write a prayer for you or for a concern you have and share it here, just ask. You don’t have to share your name if you don’t want to, and we won’t share it or any other identifying details about you here or elsewhere.

Today, we are focusing our prayer on people who are unable to gather now for corporate worship, prayer, teaching, or reflection.

Today we remember those who live long for their church, mosque, synagogue, temple, gurdwara, or other place of worship. We pray for those for whom physically gathering together is especially important for their mental and spiritual health and who miss the familiar and comforting surroundings of their house of worship. We pray for all those who for whom entering into a sacred space brings comfort and strength.

We pray for those we don’t know, and we pray for those we do know, including [insert the names of friends, family, neighbors, and others we know miss their house of worship, including ourselves]. We pray for all those who work in and maintain these facilities and the many people who continue to make religious worship, prayer, teaching, and ritual accessible to people despite our inability to gather together. We are thankful for their creativity and commitment to serving the needs of their congregants.

We pray for those whose hearts are heavy, especially those who fear they may not be able to return to their house of worship. Our hope for them is that they will be comforted. We pray that they can rely on joyful memories of times when they gathered corporately. We pray that those who feel disconnected are assured that they are not forgotten by others in their congregations.

We are grateful for the places where people share community and pray that all those who need such community find it now, even if they are not able to physically gather.

IMG_3996.jpg

Above, the interior of the dome of St. Matthew the Evangelist in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Though our family is not Orthodox, we celebrated with our friends when we lived in this area as their dream of a Greek Orthodox church came into fruition. As is traditional, Christ the Almighty (Pantokrator, “Ruler of All”) watches over the congregation. You can see more icons from this church as well as read about the effort to build it here.

Prayers during a Pandemic: For People in Care Facilities and Their Loved Ones

Our family is taking time daily to pray about the current global health crisis. Our prayers will likely reference the Christian tradition, but we’ve written with an ecumenical and agnostic audience in mind.

If you’d like us to pray for you, let us know. If you’d like us to write a prayer for you or for a concern you have and share it here, just ask. You don’t have to share your name if you don’t want to, and we won’t share it or any other identifying details about you here or elsewhere.

Today, we are focusing our prayer on people living in care facilities.

Today we remember those who live in nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, dementia care homes, therapeutic boarding schools, and group and independent living homes. We think of those who are acutely ill as well as those who live with chronic illness, disabilities, mental illness, and cognitive impairments as well as those who care for them and the homes where they live.

We pray for those we don’t know, and we pray for those we do know, including [insert the names of friends, family, neighbors, and others who live or work in care facilities]. We pray for their families and others who support them, that they will have peace of heart about the care of their loved ones.

 We pray for those living in such places who yearn to see familiar faces, that memories may comfort them, and we pray for those who cannot visit their loved ones who are residents, that their memories may comfort them. We pray for those preparing for death; we hope for them peace. We pray  for those preparing for the passing of their loved ones, and we grieve with those unable to see their beloved family members and friends before their deaths. We hope for them consolation.

We are grateful for the lives of those who live in care facilities and for the care of those who care for them.

Lovis Corinth's His Father on his Sickbed: a young woman sits at the bedside of an ailing man.Above, The Artist’s Father in His Sickbed, by Lovis Corinth, 1888. His nurse–also his daughter–stays by his bedside. There is hope in the scene–a yellow bottle of medicine next to a small vase of red flowers. Most of all, I see hope in her knitting. The flowers indicate that it is spring or summer, but we knit for fall and winter–socks or scarves or shawl. Her knitting is an act of looking forward to a time past the illness.

 

Prayers During a Pandemic: For Those who Feel Anxious

Our family is taking time daily to pray about the current global health crisis. Our prayers will likely reference the Christian tradition, but we’ve written with an ecumenical and agnostic audience in mind.

If you’d like us to pray for you, let us know. If you’d like us to write a prayer for you or for a concern you have and share it here, just ask. You don’t have to share your name if you don’t want to, and we won’t share it or any other identifying details about you here or elsewhere.

Today, we are focusing our prayer on those who feel anxious during this time of tumult.

Today we think of all those who are anxious, those who are fearful and whose hearts are burdened and troubled. We think of those whose worry rises and falls with new reports of illness, and we think of those who experience near-constant anxiety. We think especially of those with anxiety-related disorders and medical PTSD and those who have already lost loved ones to viruses and whose grief is exacerbated by this pandemic. Our hope for them is peace of heart, rest that renews, and respite in the love of friends.

We pray for those we don’t know. We pray for those we do, including [names of people you know who are experiencing anxiety, including yourself]. We pray for those around them, that they are compassionate to their friends who suffer. We pray for continued strength for those who are already strong, that they can shoulder what others cannot with grace and patience.

We seek to lift the burden of worry for those we know and those we don’t know. We pray that the fears we see in others will move us to press for justice. When we ourselves are fearful, we do not ask to be unafraid but to be brave.

We trust that we are not alone, even when we are afraid, but know that others will catch us in their love when we fall into fear.

Above, at Sandy Creek Mennonite Church in Bremen, Indiana, singers sing a simple song of assurance.