Welcome to this time of prayer. This session is an invitation for those of us who live with mental health challenges to spend some time with God in a reflective way, exploring the places where we have unexpectedly found gifts of grace in the midst of suffering.

Start by letting yourself grow more still, more focussed. Sit in the kind of position where you can be both reasonably relaxed and yet fairly alert. You might want to close your eyes, or let a candle, or a plant, or a photograph, hold your attention.

Now consciously ask God, in your own words, to guide you in this time of prayer. Tell God that you’re open to exploring these memories together.

First, think back to times when you were flourishing in your mental health, where you felt most fully alive, and most completely yourself. Recall what that felt like, and if you are able, for a moment or two, re-live one or two of those experiences.

Now think back, in a similar way, to times that have been more challenging. What was that like? If it doesn’t feel too overwhelming, you might want to re-visit one or two of those times briefly.

Notice, with God’s help, how both of these kinds of times, the times when you’ve flourished and the times when you’ve been challenged, have brought you to this moment, today.

As you linger in this moment, notice whether any unexpected gifts are highlighted. Perhaps God wants to draw your attention to experiences of grace in the midst of struggle, or the way in which the times of flourishing imparted strength. Other gifts you might notice could include compassion…empathy…wisdom…patience…listening…endurance…

Notice what arises naturally, letting yourself be drawn towards any goodness you find…

Finally speak to God, again in your own words, about what you’ve seen here.

Is there any “unfinished business”, where you will want to explore further or ask God to help you see things more clearly?

Or do you want to ask for strength for ongoing or future challenges?

Just speak freely as one friend speaks to another, and notice, perhaps, how God responds.

Our Father,
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

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