Prayer Tip: What Would Jesus Say About Mental Health?

Posted Jan 12, 2020

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Daily Scripture

Matthew 14:22-33

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Prayer Tip

“Do no be afraid,” said Jesus in today’s Scripture. But that’s hard, isn’t it? Especially when we look at all of the turmoil around the subject of mental health today.

The story in Mark 5:1-20 showed how Jesus dealt with, and ultimately restored, a man with severe mental issues. There are many layers to that story, but at its center is a man chained and abandoned by society. They feared the man—but Jesus did not.

As I read this passage, as much as I believe Jesus came for that man, I wonder if maybe Mark is telling us that Jesus crossed the sea looking for this very town. Maybe Jesus came for that entire community. For us!

Jesus comes for us whenever we have silenced the conversation, when we are threatened by the unknown, when we have banished those we fear in silent places. And if Jesus had come just for that one man, he could have invited him to leave home and join him as a disciple. But Jesus tells that man to “Go and Tell.” To go back to his community, a community that needs to hear his story. A community that needs to face his pain, to learn to love and to be changed by the death and resurrection in their midst.

As we continue to be the body of Christ—let’s not be afraid to have the difficult conversations, especially when it comes to mental health. Let us ask in prayer that we may be the community that brings support, resources, and patience. Let’s pray for all those suffering anxiety, fear, depression, insecurity. Let’s pray that in us they will find God’s ultimate love. A love that binds up all wounds. A love that shows up regardless of the situation. A love that is fully present, embodying the hope and love of Jesus Christ.

Loving God,

Thank you for loving us where we are. We love you, too. Help us to be the community that you have called us to be. A community that offers support, love, and hope. Help us to keep our eyes on you. We pray this in your holy and mighty name.

Amen.

 - Tino Herrera, Congregational Care Pastor

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