Stop Smoking: Prayer for Addiction
Transcript of the Podcast:
Hi, my name is Matthew Ellis, CEO of Episcopal Health Ministries. As Episcopalians, what we pray is what we believe. Today, I’d like to explore with you the prayer for the victims of addiction from the Book of Common Prayer and break it down as it relates to tobacco and nicotine. First, the prayer in its entirety:
Book of Common Prayer 56: For the Victims of Addiction
O blessed Lord, you ministered to all who came to you: Look with compassion upon all who through addiction have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy; remove from them the fears that beset them; strengthen them in the work of their recovery; and to those who care for them, give patient understanding and persevering love. Amen.
“Look with compassion upon all who through addiction have lost their health and freedom.”
This is an important framing for this message. It begins by asking for compassion. The struggles of addiction are not easily overcome, and we need help to break free.
The second part of that opening acknowledges that many caught in the grip of addiction have lost their health and their freedom; not just their physical health, but often their mental, emotional and spiritual health as well. How discouraging and helpless we must feel when the needs of our own bodies betray us.
In a way, addiction is a physical demonstration of the internal struggle to walk God’s path every day. We usually know the way to do this. It’s finding the strength to do it that is often difficult. With addiction, the normal mental and emotional struggles to do the right thing become even more difficult, as our own bodies attempt to force us into unhealthy behaviors.
“Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy;
Unfailing mercy; those addicted to tobacco and other substances may fail but God’s mercy never does. Sometimes that is difficult to remember.
Remove from them the fears that beset them;
Watching my own family members struggle with addiction to tobacco, I know how they came to depend on the physical effects of nicotine to calm them, to ease their nerves, while at the same time increasing their reliance on tobacco and poisoning their lungs. They were often afraid that they would not be able to cope without the comfort of tobacco.
Strengthen them in the work of their recovery;
Many are able to find the strength in themselves during recovery through their faith in God and the knowledge that God is with them in their need. A strong faith allows one to see him/herself as a whole person, getting stronger each day as the need for nicotine lessens.
And to those who care for them, give patient understanding and persevering love."
This really speaks to me personally. As much as I knew this addiction was hard for my loved ones to break, it was still frustrating to watch them return to their habit. Each time, the process begins again. We seek to return again and again to understanding and love, longing for the day when our loved ones are made whole again and return to health and freedom.
I invite you to visit our website at episcopalhealthministries.org and I welcome your call if we can help your ministry in any way. Thank you.