A Prayer for Greater Mental Health Awareness

Praying for Peace and Justice on April 27, 2024

Let us pray—
Holy one, we ask that you help us all be more aware of the role that mental health
plays in each of our lives and that the providers, organizations, systems that are tasked
to help us continue to lead and grow strong in their efforts. Amen


May is almost here and May is Mental Health Awareness month. Most of you know that I’ve been in the children’s mental health field for most of my career either as a special education teacher, a program administrator for young children, or as a policy developer.   So…let’s reflect together this morning about mental health and its importance to our overall health and wellness.

I bet everyone here knows a friend, family member, colleague, student, or child or teen, or themselves who has experienced a mental health episode at some point in their life.  We know that:

Fact: Mental health issues can affect anyone. In 2020, about:

  • One in 5 American adults experienced a mental health condition in a given year
  • One in 6 young people have experienced a major depressive episode
  • One in 20 Americans have lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression

Fact:  Ethnic/racial minorities often bear a disproportionally high burden of disability resulting from mental health disorder. 

  • Individuals from racial/ethnic minority groups are less likely to receive MH care (48% white, 31% blacks and Hispanic, 22% Asian).
  • Barriers to services for this population include:  lack of or under insurance, stigma, lack of diverse providers, language barriers, distrust pf the health care system.

Fact: Even very young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health conditions are often clinically diagnosable and can be a product of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors.

Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14-years-old, and three-quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.

Unfortunately, only half of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health conditions receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.

So…..while many of us have worked to increase our knowledge and develop new policies in the mental health field over the years, we also recognize that we have far to go.  One strategy which has been created is to increase public awareness about mental and substance use disorder and wellness.

For more than 20 years, the Federal government through its agency Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has recognized Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) every May to increase awareness about the vital role mental health plays in our overall health and well-being. 

My prayer of Peace and Justice this morning is for all the persons (Adults and young people) who are either needing treatments or working in the area of policy or services of mental health continue to play a major role in spreading awareness and recognition of the importance of good mental health.

Data above is from SAMHSA — and the American Psychiatric Association—

A Prayer for a Peaceful and Just Future for Nicaragua

Praying for Peace and Justice on April 21, 2024

Two days ago, on April 19, 2024, we marked the sixth anniversary of the
massive civil protests in Nicaragua against the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega.
His government responded with brutal violence, killing more than 350
people, incarcerating hundreds of protesters and injuring thousands others.

It’s been six years of resistance despite this brutal repression of a police
state. The country faces a massive exodus of people. Half a million
Nicaraguans, roughly 10% of the population, have left the country due to
political persecution or due the economic crisis. There are currently 100
political prisoners. Civil rights are violated. Independent media outlets are
closed, confiscated, censored. The people live under self-censorship to
protect themselves from harassment and jail. The dictatorship has stripped
the nationality of more than 300 activists who are in exile, a measure that
few tyrants like Pinochet and Hitler have done in history, and they have
confiscated their houses in Nicaragua.

In the face of such hardship, hope and resilience are essential. This prayer,
with its focus on inner peace and justice, reminds us that peace and justice
start with each of us. We cannot demand peace and justice in Nicaragua, in
Palestine, in Israel, in Ukraine, in Yemen, if we don’t live it.

For this reason let us pray for peace and justice in the face
of the immense suffering caused by the Nicaraguan government political
repression. May we all have faith in a peaceful future for Nicaragua and the
world. —- Amen

A Prayer for God’s Help in Sowing the Seeds of Peace

Praying for Peace and Justice on May 5, 2024

Let us pray:

Creating Spirit, how can we create with you?  We confess that we don’t seem to be doing a very good job.  Our world is full of heartache and fear, of hunger and need, of violence and greed.  So many thousands of us are running for our lives, unable to feed and protect even our children.

Show us how we can achieve true peace, not just the absence of violence.  Our means toward peace are like seeds.  If we want corn, we don’t plant tomatoes, we plant corn.  If we want healthy food, we don’t cover the soil with poisons.  If we want to harvest peace, we plant seeds of peace.

What are the seeds of peace we can plant in our relationships with each other, our nation, our world?  Teach us how to pray and how to plant and how to reap.

So be it.

A Prayer for Unity and Civility as We Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Our Institutions, Organizations and in Our Human Family

Praying for Peace and Justice on March 10, 2024

Holy one, we know that there is no peace without justice.  We ask: hear your people’s prayer. 

Inspire a spirit of cooperation among all people that we may restore a desire for promoting the common good, along with non-violence, justice and peace. We pray for unity and civility within governments, organizations and within the human family as we seek to implement changes that lead to diversity, equity and inclusion. May we demonstrate compassion that incorporates the seeing, hearing, and honoring others and using that compassion to spread healing energy and to show empathy to people that are in pain, no matter the cause of the pain and being open to examine our role.


March is Women’s History Month, a celebration of women’s accomplishments and contributions to all aspects of society. It’s also a time to reflect on the challenges for women moving forward.

The National Women’s History Alliance (NWHA) chooses and publishes the themes every year. In 2024, the theme is “Women Who Advocate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” The NWHA notes that the elimination of discrimination is an important goal, and those who work to accomplish that face a tough battle.

In recent years we’ve seen tremendous growth in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives but there have also been many who have critized and resisted them.  People tend to resist these initiatives because they experience at least one of three forms of threat: status threat –  my organizational status may change – if you benefit then I lose; merit threat – you don’t have the same skills and talents and are getting preferential treatment; and moral threat – if I acknowledge my privelge then I may not be as good or moral as I think I am. Depending on the kinds of threat they perceive, they may then engage in three kinds of resistance: defending or justifying the status quo because changes are perceived as harmful to their group; denying – we don’t have a problem –; and distancing, acknowledging there’s a problem but I’m not the problem, I’m not discriminating against anyone. 

As we at Seekers seek to promote Racial & Ethnic Justice we have long realized that an uneven playing field will never bring equality or justice and we need to establish firmer safeguards, practices and legislation reflecting these values

A Prayer for the Wisdom and Strength to Practice Justice and Peace

Praying for Peace and Justice on April 7, 2024

Holy One, we come before you today with hearts heavy from the injustices and acts of violence all over the earth that you created for all of us. Virtually every conflict arises from an issue of racism. You sent Jesus, and other prophets and leaders to teach all people the ways you would have us follow. Some of us gathered here are carrying a particular burden of fear and heartbreak because of the horrific violence in Israel and Gaza. Some of us have friends and family on one side or the other, or both. And our church is committed to New Story leadership for the Middle East. It is devastating to think that this violence started because those in power of these groups wish to annihilate the “other”. I am complicit as my tax dollars pay for the weapons of destruction that the U.S. supplies to Israel. I gasp when I recall that Jews, my ancestors, and Palestinians are cousins that used to live side by side on the same land, perhaps not in perfect peace, but rooted together. Many were neighbors and friends. They shared food, a measure of the hospitality that both groups hold as fundamental to their faith. But now, dehumanization, fear and hatred pervade those who seem to relish this war, regardless of the originating reason. So many are helpless with factions on both sides determined to prevail at all costs. People are being held hostage, people are dying from famine, infrastructures are destroyed, and worse. Too many of your precious people are dead. And so I pray, we pray, Holy One, that you give those around the world the wisdom and strength to practice justice and peace, to love their neighbors as themselves, and keep hope alive for the future. May it be so. Amen and amen.