National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from FaithNet NAMI

Interfaith Worship Service

For Silent Reflection as People Gather

Can be printed on the cover of the program or circulated as a handout.

What lies before us
and what lies behind us
are small matters compared to
what lies within us.

And when we bring
what is within
out into the world,
miracles happen.

                                                Henry David Thoreau

Call to Worship
People of God, as our Creator spoke to the Hebrews saying, "I am the Lord your God," so God lays claim to us is a bond of love. As God summoned the people to the holy mountain, so does he still summon us to gather in worship to hear his voice. Let each of you affirm God’s love declaring in your heart, "Speak, Lord, for your servant hears."

Let us worship God.

Florence Kraft, Presbyterian Mental Illness Network materials, 1989


      We pray for those who are affected by illness, anguish, and pain.

     Heal them.

     Grant courage to those who are struck by mental illness.

     Encourage them.

Grant strength and compassion to families and friends who give their loving care and support.

     Strengthen them.

Grant wisdom to those educating themselves about mental illness.
(May they overcome their apathy, fear, and ignorance.)

     Inform them.

Grant perseverance to those in search of compassionate care and treatment.

     Inspire them.

Grant clarity of vision and strength of purpose to the leaders of our institutions and our government. May they be moved to act with justice and compassion.

     Guide them.

     Bless and heal us all. Amen

Adapted from a Service of Healing,
March 1992/Adair II 5752,
The Jewish Healing Center of San Francisco

Lighting of FIRST of seven candles on the altar

(We light seven candles – for the seven days that our nation will lift up the concerns of persons with mental illness and their families. Each candle symbolizes a prayer. As the heat from the candle penetrates the room, our hearts are warmed. As the glow from the candle illuminates the service, our prayer is continuous. As the smoke from the candle rises above our reach, our prayers are lifted up to the One who hears and answers.

We light the first candle for "ILLUMINATION" in the midst of our struggle.)

     We pray for Illumination!

     "Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown"
The United Methodist Hymnal, page 386

Lighting of SECOND candle

     The second candle we light is for "HEALING"

     We pray for Healing!

Prayer of Confession
God, you have created us in your image, with gifts and needs. For the times we have failed to recognize our own limitation and abilities … Forgive us, Lord.

Too often we do not accept, as sisters and brothers, people with mental illness and their families. For the times we see people through the lens of a label and not for who they truly are … Forgive us, Lord.

God, help us to break down barriers that separate us from others – our insensitivity, our failure to listen to the yearning of the heart, our failure to offer support, our failure to invite people with mental illness to be part of our lives and our congregation. Hear our prayer, Lord. Amen.

Adapted from Access Sunday materials distributed by
The United Church of Christ,
National Committee on Persons with Disabilities, 1993

Lighting of the THIRD candle

     We light the third candle for "UNDERSTANDING"

     We pray for Understanding!

Special Music or Singing of a Psalm

Scripture Lessons: 
     (Genesis 32: 22-31; 33: 4, 12)
     (Deuteronomy 15: 7-11 or Deuteronomy 26: 10-13)
     (Matthew 25: 31-46)
     (Colossians 3:9-15)

Lighting of the FOURTH candle

     The fourth candle we light is for "Caring Communities"

     We pray for the CARING COMMUNITY!

Bless the covenant we make today, to be supportive of our brothers and sisters struggling with mental illness – Help each of us to accept our special place in the "Caring Community."

Sermon : 
Open your Mind -- Join the Struggle -- Become a Caring Community

Lighting of FIFTH candle

     The fifth candle we light is for "Hope"

      We pray for Your sign, for HOPE!

     "O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go"
The United Methodist Hymnal, p. 480

Prayer of Commitment

O Creator, we pray for all who suffer in mind and spirit.
     Grant them Your peace.

Help us understand mental illness as the
     biological disease that it is.

                 Help us share our knowledge with others.

Grant us the courage and wisdom to help remove the stigma of mental illness from those who suffer.

Give us understanding and openness that we might reach out in love to persons who are ill and their families.

Make us channels of care, communicating the need of those living with mental illness to our faith communities, helping them to respond with compassion.

Strengthen us in our efforts, empower us for our task, unite us for action.

Let us join in saying, Amen.

By the
Missouri Religious Network on Mental Illness, 1993

"Help Us Accept Each Other"
The Presbyterian Hymnal, Page 358

Lighting of the Sixth candle


We pray for people with mental illness and their families.

Lighting the SEVENTH candle

We light the seventh candle, the final candle, as a sign of God’s "STEADFAST LOVE"

We celebrate and thank God for the promise of "steadfast love."

Prayer of Farewell

Lord, bless us with Your enabling love. Heal our brokenness that we may be true signs of that love. As you send us, your servants, out from this place, be our constant companion. Guide us in our efforts to better serve our neighbors, those with mental illness and their loved ones. Help us to share the life-giving power of Your love that those in need may experience the profound peace of your steadfast love. In our hearts we silently promise to be true signs of Your love for those with a mental illness among us and their families. Amen

Adapted from materials by the Committee for Mental Illness Awareness Week, Franconia, Pennsylvania, 1992


May God bless you and keep you

May the Divine Countenance shine upon you.

May the Beauty of Creation be lifted towards you and may you be filled with peace.

Optional Recessional with Candles

The Congregation will light their individual candles from one of the seven candles which were lit during the service. (The following was modified very slightly by the UMC)

Leader 1:
We come to the "light" – Illumination, Healing, Understanding, Hope, Families, Caring Community, Steadfast Love, -- and rekindle it as a beacon to those among us who live with mental illness. Let each candle shine forth the commitment made this day to become members of a Caring Community for people with mental illness and their families.

Leader 2:
We take the light of God’s presence with us, symbolically, as we move form this place into the streets, from wilderness to promise, from despair to hope.