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Suicide Prevention and Awareness Prayer

Your prayers may save someone’s life by connecting with God through our Suicide Prevention and Awareness Prayer.  This prayer is vital because suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and for every completed suicide there are at least 12 suicide attempts.

If you are reading this article and feel that someone is in imminent danger of committing suicide, stop reading.  Immediately call 911 or a suicide crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255.  Then pray “Lord help!” while you are dialing.  Hotlines can also enable counselors to contact someone in your social media network who has been expressing suicidal leanings online.  Once the crisis has passed you can then take the time for a more in-depth prayer for the person’s return to hope and well being.

If the situation today has not yet reached the moment of crisis, pray using our Suicide Prevention and Awareness Prayer below.  Our Suicide Prevention and Awareness Prayer below can be used by individuals who have concerns about those they know, by professionals and caregivers and by prayer groups and churches concerned about recent suicides in the community.  It can also be used during Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.      

Suicide Prevention and Awareness Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

It’s very difficult to begin this prayer because we need so much help on the subject of suicide awareness and prevention.  As I pray I am counting on the power you are now giving me to face the real and tragic possibility that someone in my community or someone I may know and love could be thinking about suicide because they are in such terrible physical, mental or emotional pain.

This is beyond my strength, and I am asking you to empower me to pray.  Place the knowledge of the Holy Spirit into my heart and mind so I might be a force for good in someone’s dark day of hopelessness.

I begin by laying out to you my fears about suicide and my fears for the ones for whom I am praying.  Quiet my fears so I might fearlessly pray.  Here are my specific fears ___________________.

I pray that your preventative, protecting, intervening power be at work in the life of the one I am praying for.  Interrupt any thoughts or actions that at this moment are leading toward suicide.  Place heavenly angels and angels in human form in their path.   Alert and empower medical personnel, first responders, counselors, pastors, doctors, teachers, family members, friends, and their social media community to their need for intervention.  Muster all resources at your disposal including intercessors, educational organizations, support groups, social media and churches.

Break through all hesitancy on our part in the community to speak openly with others about suicide awareness and prevention.  Encourage us to hold caring conversations with those in despair.  Arm us with the knowledge that talking openly about suicide with someone can bring relief by allowing them a safe place to share about their suicidal ideations and the things that have caused them to lose hope.  Here is someone you are guiding me to speak to on this matter __________________________________________.

Once I learn that a friend is having suicidal thoughts, give me the ways and means to immediately connect them with the professional help they need.  Make me bold and decisive in my actions in seeking and finding help.  Here is an action you seem to be directing me to take today _______________________________________________.    (Resource: Suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255)

Give me supernatural wisdom when placed in a position of trying to help keep someone safe until professional help is available.  Help me be in conversation about safety plans that include removing access between the despairing person and ways and means of causing self harm.

Alert me to the indications that someone is in need of intervening help.  Open my eyes to the depth of their depression, the unbearable nature of their physical or mental pain, their culture that causes them to feel abject shame and hopelessness.  Help me see and step into their isolation and their feelings that no one cares.  Here is someone you have brought to my mind who may be indicating that they need help _____________________________________________.

Help me to be non-judgmental, good listeners who through my care and concern allows others to share their deepest despair and darkest thoughts.

I now mediate on the warning signs experts say to look for that point to someone needing help with suicidal thoughts.  As I read each one, bring to mind someone who might be showing some of these signs.

Feeling hopeless and having no reason to live

Depression

Being bullied

Recent major life loss or change, such as divorce, death of loved one, relationship problems, job loss

Mental health problems

Major physical illness and constant pain

Isolation

Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves

Access to lethal means, such as guns

History of suicide attempts

Increased substance abuse

Giving away possessions and saying farewell

Drastic change in mood or behavior

Risky behaviors

Prayer for suicide awareness and prevention

I pray that you will bring these factors back to my mind in the future should I encounter someone who may be suicidal.  May your Holy Spirit alert me to pray and then alert me to the next step I need to take to engage in a caring conversation and relationship with the person who seems at risk.

Help me to prayerfully view my social media contacts and those of the teenagers in my life, allowing you to alert me if there are indications of suicidal thoughts.   Show me appropriate ways to reach out to those I know who are hurting, isolated and losing hope.

I finish my prayer thanking you for your helping presence in my life, in the life of my family, community and world.  May I be an instrument of prayer and an instrument of information, love and help for those within my circle who are suicidal or have loved ones who are.

I pray these things in your name, the Lord of Life to whom every hurting soul is precious and loved.

Amen.

About this Prayer Suicide Prevention and Awareness Prayer

For more information and help visit the National Suicide Lifeline website at suicide prevention lifeline.org

I wrote this prayer after hearing in our adult Sunday school class that a junior at a local high school had recently committed suicide.  Our class members felt great sorrow and had many questions about the causes of suicide and how to prevent it.  One class member shared that her father had committed suicide later in life.  After class I felt we all needed this Suicide Prevention and Awareness Prayer.  After doing research, I composed this prayer to help all of us become better intercessors and more open to God’s guidance in helping someone who may be suicidal.

On a personal note, I have a good friend my age who has suffered from a painful progressive physical illness since girlhood.  Recently when the pain was unbearable, she was prescribed a new medication.  She began to suffer one of the terrible side effects of the medication – suicidal thoughts.  Coupled with her constant pain and her poor prognosis of improvement, she seriously considered suicide and actually began saving pills to accomplish it.   Finally she told her doctor.  He discontinued the medication and her suicidal thoughts went away.  If this can happen to my friend, it can happen to any of us.

I also have attended support groups with those who deal with mental health disorders.  Often group members speak openly about their suicidal thoughts and attempts.  In many cases, inpatient hospitalization was necessary to stabilize the person’s mood and to keep them safe until they could regain their mental equilibrium and hope.

Suicide is not a modern phenomenon.  The Bible mentions several instances of suicide.  The Bible says that Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, hung himself when he couldn’t bear the terrible guilt he felt for aiding in the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus.  (See Matthew 27:5)    Another example is King Saul, the first king of Israel.  Saul fell on his own sword during battle when it was apparent that he had lost the battle and he would be captured, tortured and killed by his enemies.  (see I Samuel 31:4)

Both of these Biblical accounts are very short reports left to us by history and they leave many questions unanswered.  They enable us to conclude that suicide has been a tragic part of the human history since the beginning.  These Biblical reports of suicide stand in contrast to the positive death narratives in the Bible where patriarchs such as Moses at a ripe old age gather the community around them as they pronounce words of parting blessings. (see Genesis 34, 35.)

Thankfully, we are people of hope.  It only takes a small ray of God’s light to penetrate the deepest darkness.   With our prayers for God’s help, perhaps we can help someone back toward the feeling that God cares and they are not alone.

 

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Copyright Karen Barber 2017.  All rights reserved.