Catherine P. Downing (pseudonym) shares a 31 day guide on praying for families living with mental illness. As one might expect, families caring for someone with mental illnesses face difficulties that most of us cannot fully comprehend. Downing, whose son lives with bipolar disorder, offers specific prayers for such families. Here is a short sampling of those prayers:

Day 3: Community. Many families go into hibernation mode when their loved one is experiencing a severe episode. They can feel isolated and emotionally spent. Pray God will bring people to come alongside to support them, comfort them and pray with them. Pray caregivers will have the energy to reach out to local mental health support groups.1,2 Ask God how you can be a part of His redemptive grace during difficult times.

Day 5: Children in the family. Whether they are siblings or offspring, children are the forgotten. They are often overlooked when adults are trying desperately to cope with the mentally ill family member. Pray that those who are responsible to care for the children will stay aware of and be able to meet their needs. Pray the children will be protected from finding attention in unhealthy or unsafe ways from others who would do them harm.

Day 13. Spiritual growth. As with other aspects of life for those dealing with mental health difficulties, their spirituality and relationship with God can become muddled and confused. They rarely have the opportunity to experience a life-giving and encouraging spiritual community where they are accepted and belong. Even churches are often not welcoming toward those who deal with mental illnesses. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work mightily to bring about salvation and sustained faith for all those touched by mental illnesses. Pray for opportunities to participate in Christian community and benefit from biblical teaching.

You can find the full 31 day prayer guide here: 31 Days, 31 Ways to Pray for Families