October 05, 2004

A Mother's Prayer For Mental Illness

Dear average American Citizen,

As the mother of a son with Paranoid Schizophrenia I have been struggling with the issue of prayer for quite some time. It is not that I have lost faith. I have been running on it for five years now. Granted there were times when it was reduced to the size of a mustard seed. But as I look back in hindsight, there was a moment that stands out from all the rest that left me totally and completely drained and frozen in fear like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car when it came to the issue of prayer.

In my desperation to heal my son, to find an answer that would bring the child I had given birth to back to us I prayed fervishly for two solid years. I fully and whole heartedly believe in the almighty abilities of a power greater than myself. But one day, in one all encompassing moment I remembered that sometimes the answer is no. I stopped praying on that day. I turned my life and my son's life and his disease completely over to the care of God, rolled up my sleeves and began to dig in to the enormous footwork involved in getting my son stabilized, working again and independent. There was no time for prayer. I had work to do.

My son is doing really well, in spite of all the naysaying. He is working. He lives on his own with supportive services, which in today's terms means mom and dad. He is stable. Brittle, but stable.

I have found myself confronted with the issue of prayer again. I have come to realize, when I began this journey of a thousand miles, having never been confronted with this disease before in my life, a great deal of my struggle came from not knowing what to pray for. My relationship with a power greater than myself had become stagnant. Much like the Freudian/patient relationship does in assuming the patient has all the answers, when in reality the patient doesn't even know what the questions are In spite of searching, there was no one that suddenly appeared to lead the way. I had to become the pioneer into the unknown land of schizophrenia for my son, for my family, for me.

Today, in honor of the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness, I want to share a prayer I have written for all the parents who find themselves in this same dilemma. I want to be able to give them the prayer I never had. The one that got answered any way on the faith of a mustard seed. The one I would have prayed had it been available to me. It would have saved me an enormous amount of pain and suffering on top of everything else I was already dealing with. For too often, my greatest fear was I had not only lost my son, but also I had lost my relationship with God.

A Mother's Prayer for Mental Illness

As I stumble from my bed this morning, help me to remember to be gentle and kind.
My child's mind is shredding into a million pieces. He lives in a constant state of atrocious fear. I can see it in his eyes. Give him peace.

Guide me as I hold him in my arms. Help me to know what to say. What to do. Fill my heart with healing love, understanding, and empathy.

Give me the strength of a thousand angels to hold back my tears. My heart is broken and a tidal wave of grief is overwhelming me with the need to cry. Give me the strength to bear it long enough to keep it from disturbing my child. Help me find someone I can safely bring it to.

Help me answer my family's questions with the same amount of compassion I would want for my self. Help me remember they are hurting too. This is an unwelcomed assault on an entire family. My heart is not the only heart that is broken. We all need time and each other to heal.

As my journey becomes more and more isolative and lonely, remind me that the lack of involvement on the part of family and friends is not always because of the stigma and the ignorance. For many, it is because they are hurting too. They have the privelege of turning to their own lives. This is my family's life now. I must deal with it whether I am hurting or not.

Send me your best physicians and healers. Give me presence of mind, as I walk through the exhaustion of my grief to not settle for just any one no matter how tiresome the journey becomes.

Help me adjust to the idea, that although it appears my son is gone, there will be no goodbye. And that he is still inside somewhere waiting for us to find him.

Infuse the creative part of my mind with solution oriented thinking. Give me hope. Even if it is just a glimmer of hope. A mother can go for miles on just one tiny glimmer. Let me see just a flicker of the sparkle of joy in his eyes.

Guide my hands, calm my mind, as I fill out the multitude of forms for services. Then help me do it again over and over.

Provide me with the knowledge. Lead me to the books I need to read, the organizations I need to connect with. As you work though the people in my life, help me to recognize those that are here to help. Help me trust the right ones. Shine a light upon the right path.

Give me the courage to speak my truth; to know my son's truth. And to speak for him when he is unable to do it for himself. Show me when to do for him what he is not capable of doing for himself. Help me to recognize the difference.

Help me to stand tall in the face of the stigma; to battle the discrimination with the mighty sword of a spiritual warrior. And to deflect the sting of blame and faultfinding from the ignorant and the cruel.

Preserve my love for my family. Shield my marriage with the wisdom of the love that brought us together.

Protect him from homelessness, loneliness, victimization, poverty, hunger, hopelessness, relapse, drugs, alcohol, suicide, cruelty and obscurity.

Lead us to the miracles of better medications, better funding, better services, safe and plentiful housing, meaningful employment, communities who care, enlightenment. Help us to find some way to replace all the greed with humanitarian work and intrinsic reward again.

Most of all, give me the strength to deliver whatever I can to the work of unmasking the man made ugliness of this disease and revealing the human and all of it's suffering beneath.

Finally, when it is my time to leave my son behind, send a thousand angels to take my place.

Posted by Doe at October 5, 2004 02:29 PM | TrackBack


That is so beautifully written. typing is difficult because of the tears in my eyes. I'll keep you in my prayers along side my brother and my mother who takes care of him...

Posted by: barb at October 7, 2004 12:55 PM

This prayer is a beautiful gift.
There was a time when I stopped praying for the miracle of a cure and began praying for my child�s peace of mind and my own strength. It was then that I realized how my faith in God had grown.

Posted by: Angels Mom at October 14, 2004 12:19 AM

Dear Doe,
Your prayer has hit every cord. I can't gather my composure enough to write. I am so grateful you have so eloquently stated what I so deeply feel. I literally have mentally recited my own exact version of that prayer a 1,000 times in the last 6 months. Sometimes at night Chris will come in and watch a little TV on the bed with me. I rub his head and say this same kind of prayer. Over and over. Human minds are what distinguish us from all other creatures and because this illness robs the young of their greatest asset there is nothing that comes even remotely close to as miserable as this disease is. My heart is so broken for him and I am scared for us all. Ill take great comfort in your prayer. Thank you.

Posted by: caringmom55 at December 17, 2004 08:29 PM

my ex wife, who I am now no longer with, suffers from a lesser form of what I believe is inherited paranoid schizophrenia; I am in a complete state of dispair as she is not keen to approach the medical route to stability (finally admit that there is something wrong); my concern is that she will never be able to hold down a stable relationship and may make repeatedly poor decisions about her future leading to even more unhappiness; I completely understand where you are coming from with respect to your son, all my prayers and thoughts go out to you....

Posted by: Paul Gaddini at November 19, 2005 11:34 AM

Doe, I cried as I read your prayer. Having a son who has lost all his teen years to schizophrenia and is now 20, I have lived in the crisis and pain your prayer addresses for almost 7 years. I have had to grope in the dark with no one(human) to guide me through this dark night. I do believe that God will heal him in His time. He healed my sister of schizophrenia over 20 years ago, and she is well and fully functioning and serving the Lord. There were many, many prayers for her. Don't give up. I will never stop praying for my son, either.

Posted by: mkatherine at January 31, 2006 03:07 AM

I have been also suffering from what my doctor describes as a form of paranoia (I guess he spares me the name of the illness). However, I prayed to Jesus and Mary fervently and my symptoms reduced dramatically. I am now able to lead a normal life, work and have a stable marriage with a loving husband. Prayer works !!! My heart goes out to everyone who is struggling with this illness.... hold on...cure is just a miracle away....

Posted by: mv at April 6, 2006 02:29 AM

I cam across this poem looking for encouragemnent. Our son has autism and this prayer is beautiful. Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing.

Posted by: Renee at August 13, 2006 05:04 PM

I came across this poem for encouragement also. My mother is showing signs of Paranoid Schizophrenia and thinks everyone is against her. I've noticed the signs for several years and I tried to ignore it. I didn't want to receive it but lately, it's gotten worst. Please keep me and my family in prayer as God lead and guide us in the best way to get help for her. Right now she doesn't think she needs help and feels as if she's being attacked.

Posted by: Lyn at August 17, 2006 08:02 PM

A lovely prayer. May it bring comfort to all those who battle mental illness and all those who love them.

Posted by: Paul at January 25, 2007 02:38 AM

I am at work as I read this, and as I write this. That is the only reason I am able to keep any level of composure. I am going to call my mother tonight, and read this to her. I know it will help her deal with my brother's schizophrenia. You're in my prayers.

Posted by: David at February 23, 2007 09:49 PM

Thankyou so much for this prayer. I hope your son is doing well in this spring 2007.
I just spent 3 hours with my son who needs all of the requests in your prayer.
He has lost all of his friends, for 7 years now. He is 27 and it breaks my heart. He has never stuck to any meds, he does some very weird things and his family has a very hard time dealing with it all.
He says his life is beyond miserable, but seems to reject all the help I try to get him. Often I feel hurt and alone in it all.
Many want to give their advice or judge and they just don't really know, even though they think they are trying to be supportive.
I liken it to a modern day leprosy and I hold on to the hope that Jesus will heal him one day.
The thing that is hard for me as his mom is that I have been trying so many things so many years now and at times feel so defeated and then I can only say "God knows" because I am only one person and I have yet to stumble on the right recipe for him!He has 2 sisters and a dad and extended family, and I feel like the prayer you wrote was my very own breath!
Thankyou so much and
God Bless you and your family.

Posted by: tina at April 16, 2007 07:37 AM

Thank you for your beautiful poem and for sharing it with the world. I am so selfish sometimes. Instead of realizing the pain my mentally ill sister is in, I only think of what pain she brings to my life. Thank you for your reminder to love and pray for my sister.

Posted by: Deena at April 17, 2007 07:51 AM

how beautiful and true your prayer is. we have been struggling with our sons mental illness for four years and i pray everyday that he will return to us and be able to live a happy healthy life again. Its getting harder to remember how he was before this all started i pray for strength for all families that are going through this devastating disease thank you for writing such an inspirational poem

Posted by: brenda at June 25, 2007 06:11 AM

Thank you for your words.
Don't ever give up in prayer.
Our son is 35, and was on drugs from his early teens until last year. However,
it has left him with severe
emotional and mental issues.
We will not give up praying.
He is out of control and
desperately needs God's help.
We have prayed so long. Where
can we go for help in prayer?
Are there prayer chains for
all the family members that
have been posted?

Posted by: joy at August 13, 2007 02:45 PM

I have schziophernia too and I read on a site that a lot of people with schziophernia hear voices that are from God/ or the devil and I just wanna know if you people believe that 2 be true or that their imagining it? Also can schziohpherinia really be healed with prayer and or medications and is there a lot of people that have schizophereina think people can read their minds or understand what their thinking? What does everyone think? Post back with opinion if you can thanks.....

Posted by: Chris at August 20, 2007 04:10 PM

What a powerful prayer.
I have searched online for a prayer to recite. This one specifically has helped me to get through a terrible ordeal within the past 2 months. I do not have psycosis. I have been diagnosed with complex post traumatic stress disorder because of frightning events I had to go through as a child.
With complex pstd I have symptoms that are similar to symptoms associated with schizophrenia.
The past couple of months, my condition has worsened.
And to add to that, my feathered child has been self multilating. My parrot is one of the only living beings that I consider a true friend and immediate family member. I've been reciting this prayer for him. Every day has been a struggle with little Nicolas. The main reason for him pulling his feathers and chewing his skin is anxiety.(that's what his vet told me) He has been examined by three different vets and has been checked out physically healthy. I don't want to ever loose him prematurally(he's supposed to live around 18 years and he's only 5. Loosing him is one of my biggest fears. Everyday I worry about whether he's ok.
Having him has been a great help for my mental condition. He has cheered me up so many times. I still can't fully understand why he would want to hurt himself to that extreem. I will keep everyone that has left a post and the lady that typed in that beautiful prayer in my prayers.

Posted by: Neelia at August 26, 2007 06:12 PM

You could try a few websights online.
It is the national alliance on mental illness.
I would also suggest talking to your physician about your symptoms if you already haven't. He/she should be able to atleast answer some of your questions and/or could refer you to a mental health specialist. If you are already seeing a mental health specialist, then you are atleast on your way to recovery.
Hope that this helps a little. I feel paranoid frequently, thinking that God or the devil are trying to communicate with me too. I've been in fear of either God or the devil trying to hurt me or someone else. It is a frightening and terrifying experience.
Will keep you in prayer.

Posted by: Neelia at August 26, 2007 09:31 PM

Woops! This is www.schizophrenia.com.
There's also www.mentalhelp.net
and www.mentalhealth.samshsa.gov
This websight offers many information links involving schizophrenia and/or any other mental illness.

Posted by: Neelia at August 26, 2007 11:11 PM

I would love to open my door, as a child who grew up with Schizophrenia, and if I could please,
The few things I learned, I cant look back, and say, I would gladly go through it all over again, but Ive found those Ive known, and those I keep in touch with, what we all have in common is almost very much alike...
I dont know what to put in the URL box, so I wont continue, but wait for a confrimation from somewhere, I loved your beautiful prayer...
Yesterday, for the first time I recieved a glimse of what my mother must of felt, especially when I would come home from walking for hours the parks and streets, and enter the basement, at three or four in the morning, and here her crying upstairs.
I think I know now....

Posted by: Joe Pratt at September 11, 2007 05:45 PM

I remember as a child, I never fit in with anybody, I would watch others playing with toys, and wonder why,as they were pushing a tonka truck in the dirt,at four years old, I guess I saw them as they saw me. But the question wasnt what was wrong with me, but what has happened to me? Then also I had terette symptons also, I never spoke out loud, but I remember the very bad Ticks I couldnt control for maney years...
Shizophrenia then were never voices unable to control, but it all made sense when I learned that sound itself outside my head? was also shizophrenia and between the two, I exscaped reality of my existense, and if I brought up Demons at this point, without the details, please know as the decades passed, I look back now and only speaking for myself, I feel Ive come to understand Ive entered into a type of rest? Although understanding that God, is a God of unpredictability, such as taking some past the point of breaking, or begging for bread, or taking some to places that angels fear to tread...
But Ill ask you a question? do angels fight with with swords or boxing gloves? or do they have wrestling matches, when it comes to fighting for our lives?
No matter how emotional or mentally determined, or how authoritive or elegant we pray?
We cannot say what we do not know, and cannot leed where we do not go...
This war either being well or unwell,is like in a poor marriage, that refuses to at least respect we were born in a battlefield? they jump into a foxhole, and sometime sooner or later, they begin to cut each other with knifes (words) and after the one feels they've bled long enough, they give them a bandage of forgiveness...

Does anybody remember as children, or even now, how we found we have basic needs that have to be met? and as we walked from door to door, refering to people's lives, we knocked and asked each other, do you have any Love to offer? or where I might find recognition, or security? or better yet Truth concerning my existence? I have found upon this road Im on, Im a prodical child and I have a Father who, waits for me? And I know to well if my needs are not met, they will one way or another...
And some what they offer you, we question, how they themselves actually stay alive on this poor quality of beliefs? such as the water and food, we find in poor countries,,,
Not to condem, but a half a mile from their Fathers Home, they sit along the road, saying to all those who pass by. believe as we believe, embrace the promises and principles of him, that is comming soon...
And with words of knowledge and wisdom, they build for each other, a house without foundations,
as if to say; wait here untill my return from the Father, his words for you..
Never knowing the opposite is what all of us need, questioning if those in authourity really know Christ...
But let me stop and say; with words; constant repetition, over and over again concerning anything? will cause a lack understanding or lack of faith in Yourself and in God...

All of us probably most our lives, have never quit hearing how unworthy we are of Christ, how undeserving and unrighteous we are, and thats when my shizophrenia stepped in and said; and also Jesus was kicked between the leggs thirty nine times...I am not makeing a joke, after years of voices torturing me, after all my life of knowing I have no where to turn, I was wittled down to, doing strange and insane things, not evil to the point of harming anyone, but I did most of all was, humiliate myself, hopeing he would feel compassion, and help me, I could go on for hours, telling you how maney times I was handed a styraphome cup of coffee and thrown out of sizzler...but what I did was to pay the price for all the times I did the least bit wrong, counteracting the evil with good, the voices made sure I remembered everything embarrasing I did, they even blamed me for the Haulacaust, laughing at me condeming me, that I dont know what torment means, or being hungry, to the point that I coulnt eat without getting sick...

I have to stop now until later, but what I will say is, a seed planted in compost ( to much wisdom and knowledge) will burn it to death, it needs rain, and food soil. and the sun, and the seasons,

Posted by: Joe at September 13, 2007 06:04 AM

I love this. I am going to quote you on my blog if that's okay. I am the parent of a daughter with mental illness and you have captured our heart's cry in this prayer.

Posted by: Kathryn at October 8, 2007 08:10 PM

Yes you can get many people to pray for your family member who is suffering... please visit www.worldprayerteam.org and leave your prayer request there, people from around the world will be praying for it in real time. There are many other websites too which have a prayer request section - these have been a blessing to my family too. As hundreds and thousands join our prayer - the answer cannot be far away. There is hope!!! Don't give up!

Jesus loves each of you - even the family members who are suffering together. You are special and God will take you through it... When He answers please don't forget to glorify HIM!

Posted by: Henrietta at October 17, 2007 07:07 AM

Yes you can get many people to pray for your family member who is suffering... please visit www.worldprayerteam.org and leave your prayer request there, people from around the world will be praying for it in real time. There are many other websites too which have a prayer request section - these have been a blessing to my family too. As hundreds and thousands join our prayer - the answer cannot be far away. There is hope!!! Don't give up!

Jesus loves each of you - even the family members who are suffering together. You are special and God will take you through it... When He answers please don't forget to glorify HIM!

Posted by: Henrietta at October 17, 2007 07:08 AM

So I see that my heart is the seed, and the knowledge and wisdom of the mind, daily with my heart in a prison cell, each morning!Where I would walk past my hearts honesty, yelling at its simplicity, you are unworthy and unrighteous, deserving of hell,in need of forgiveness,just like the day when we were five years old...
befor we could think for ourselves, we were told about a lake of fire, rather than a lake of water, without thinking at all: why would he perfer eternal torment, rather than to create us out of existence? and the door closed without a choice, thinking for Eternity if not sooner how could I ever love a God, with all my heart? soul and strength? and also aware that if I died, I would perfer to whatch those I love, with no thoughts concerning a kingdom on a million acres of land all for me..
But then when the heart broke free, it went to war against all I ever believed in. against my poisoned mind,and in its hands the sword of Honesty...
My first words were to God, that all the books in the world couldnt contain, I said;
I can no longer live tormenting under the cloak of opinion or questions, approving or dissaproving, accepting or rejecting, decideing who to love and who to hate, who to judge and who to set free? if I threw the rock or if I dropped it, or held it and walked away, the point isn't, he who is without sin, cast the first stone...
Its simply in our hearts; if we even politly judge? we are in bondage to its destructive feelings, or emotions, and if we love our children, why would we think of teaching them to feel anything wrong towards anybody? or believe in a unpredictable Creator?
And the day I told him, what took tormenting for years to surface, I said; I never Created Lucifer and I never threw him to the earth, to tempt anybody, and although I have nothing against Jesus, except lack of understanding, I never nailed him to the cross, and I never created myself,and if I did I would'nt have chosen to be born here, in this spiritual war....
I could tell you, how my eyes flooded, and he told me he would throw himself into a lake of fire, befor me..
And with Honesty? was the English or any other language meant to or is capable, of expressing what is inside the heart? Is it possible that God also, is uncapable of the same? does he ever feel supressed emotions?
Well for now lets say that Creation is just as much the word of God spoken in the begining, and all the animals and trees, and mountains or rocks, easily is more powerful than any thought or voice could ever come close to overcome..
When the voices come rushing in, to destroy, tell them one of the thousand stories that God didnt write in a book...
And Ive learned to keep in mind, the walls of an outhouse could no more embrace us than a kingdom surrounding God,
only to stop and say, the kingdom is in our hearts, the love or kindness,flowing makes me see what the voices were trying stop me from knowing..

Posted by: Joe at October 27, 2007 02:30 AM

I know that God directed me to this blog tonight. After eight years of trying to help our son whom we adopted after he was abused,neglected and went through a failed adoption, and after having learned that mental illness was prevalent in his birth mother and family, we are at our wits end trying to find how to help him.

We are only just realizing that we are dealing with serious mental illness. We have tried everything within our power and some things beyond our power to help him and he is just escalating out of control. We realize at last that we need more than medication, counseling and patience. We need major help.

We are grieving the loss of our belief that we could make a difference in the life of a special needs child. But we are not giving up and will continue to work hard to get him the help he needs and we will continue to pray for healing. If healing is not what God chooses, I pray at the very least for deliverance. That our son would have the strength to trust God for deliverance. And that God would give us the grace to press on.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this amazing channeling of my exact feelings. You have touched my heart with your wisdom and understanding of what is going on in the heart of a mother with a mentally ill child.

Posted by: maranda at November 2, 2007 03:18 AM

Beliy Kolya url:http://www.schizophrenia.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=1075(-387377439):)name:Beliy Kolyaurl:http://beliy.comemail:Barkas52147@hello.commessage:Beliy Kolya

Posted by: Beliy Kolya at November 3, 2007 10:04 AM

i think whot this is real them

Posted by: Derek Hval at November 16, 2007 07:17 PM

I came here today looking for a prayer for my daughter. I don't know for sure that she has Schizophrenia, but the more I read the symptoms I think this is her....Thank you for this prayer. It is very emotional for me. God bless.

Posted by: Kelly at November 26, 2007 05:19 PM

Wow This is so cool,
thx guys you are the best!!


Posted by: nitzan gindi at December 6, 2007 07:29 PM

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