Prayers for Caregivers
On Sunday, November 13, the White Plains Presbyterian Church observed Presbyterian Caregiver Sunday. There were quite a few of us in worship who are (or have been) caring for a parent, spouse, sibling or child with chronic or mental illness.
Before the pastoral prayer, the Beatitudes for Caregivers (below) was read, and then following the prayers of intercession for our congregation, community and world, a prayer prepared by the Presbyterian Office of Health Ministries was lifted up. Both are printed below.
A Prayer for Caregivers
Almighty God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of Life, we invoke your presence and guidance this day. For those who give care to family members and friends living with mental illness and who are deeply troubled by the isolation that they feel, by the storms they experience, we pray. May they feel your loving hand and your sustaining and nurturing power. May they feel less frustrated and experience less guilt for very human feelings they may have about wanting to escape their tasks. May they find us eager to support them in the midst of their difficult tasks. May we always encourage them as they grasp hold of an identity of worth and value even when community seems to desert them and their loved one. Save us from our ignorance, Lord, that we may not ignore our friends because they live with pain that we do not understand, but rather help us to see that they are people of great courage and love who are trying desperately to care for a family member or friend.
Thank you for the many contributions persons who care for folks in mental distress bring to the lives of their loved ones. Help us to learn from their examples of patience, strength, compassion, and faith.
Fill us, O Lord, with a sense of compassion and openness. Educate us to overcome the fears and stereotypes we may have of persons living with mental illness. Lead us as we open our hearts and homes, our communities and job opportunities, our houses of worship and communities of faith; to include people living with mental illness in our everyday lives.
Adapted from “A Service for Wholeness for Use With a Congregation,” in Mental Illness Worship Resource, ed. Christopher L. SMith (Louisville, KY: Office of Health Ministries, 1999), 28-30, by the Rev. Donna Coffman, Jane Givens and Joanie Friend
Beatitudes for Caregivers
Blessed are those who care and who are not afraid to show it — they will let people know they are loved.
Blessed are those who are gentle and patient — they will help people to grow as the sun helps the buds to open and blossom.
Blessed are those who have the ability to listen — they will lighten many a burden.
Blessed are those who know how and when to let go — they will have the joy of seeing people find themselves.
Blessed are those who, when nothing can be done or said, do not walk away, but remain to provide a comforting and supportive presence — they will help the sufferer to bear the unbearable.
Blessed are those who recognize their own need to receive, and who receive with graciousness — they will be able to give all the better.
Blessed are those who give without hope of return — they will give people an experience of God.
Author unknown (as seen on www.marciabilyk.com/2008/12/beatitudes-for-caregivers.html ). Prepared by the Presbyterian Health Network (PHN) www.pcusa.org/phewa/phn — A ministry network of the Presbyterian Health, Education & Welfare Association (PHEWA) www.pcusa.org/phewa