Prayers through Dementia

Published: 10th May 2024

For Dementia Action Week 13–19 May 2024

What’s your prayer from the heart through dementia? We’ve asked this question in recent months, across our Diocese of Lichfield dementia-friendly churches network. And we received some wonderful responses: thank you to everyone who shared a prayer with us. There are so many honest and helpful prayers to pray and it’s good to be able to share them here: please do use this resource, joining together to pray these prayers from the heart.

The Bishop of Lichfield, Rt Rev Dr Michael Ipgrave, has been very encouraged by the wide range of prayers received. He comments:

“Wherever we are, and whatever conditions we live with, the gates of prayer are always open to us; and even if we find we cannot pray ourselves, others can pray with us and for us. I commend these prayers for people living with dementia. They speak clearly and simply of a God who is always close to us, and always attentive to the cries of our heart.”

Five of these prayers, three written by adults and two written by children, are our Diocese of Lichfield prayers for Dementia Action Week this year.

From conversations with people who have written these prayers, it is moving to hear more of the stories behind them.

'Bewildermint' prompted one our prayers - seeing the bewilderment on someone face when they weren’t sure what had happened. We can have so many different responses to bewilderment: how strong, in the exposure of that moment, to turn to God and pray from the heart.

Another prayer was written by someone who leads prayers regularly in church, with a commitment to framing words with clarity. This person knows the impact of dementia on friends locally and realises it could happen to any of us, observing that it matters that our churches are kind and warm and friendly – to everyone, including people affected by dementia.

Ivy Leese at St Mary & St Chad Longton in Stoke-on-Trent explained why her Brownie pack has written prayers for people affected by dementia. She’s worshipped at SS Mary & Chad since she was two years old: she’s “never not gone”. Currently, the church is in vacancy and Ivy is one of the 14 PCC members who have each taken on an allocated job: a close friend of hers is living with dementia, now in residential care, so it was natural for Ivy to offer to support the church in becoming more dementia-friendly. She moved things forwards, getting PCC agreement to three actions for the church’s first Dementia-Friendly Church Certificate in March this year. Ivy has been warranted as a Brownie leader since 6 January 1966, with unbroken service since then – 58 years and counting. She leads the 8th Longton (SS Mary & Chad) Brownies. In line with the actions set out in the church’s Dementia-Friendly Church Certificate, Ivy is arranging for nurses from the local dementia assessment centre to come to talk both to the PCC and to the Brownies about dementia: the Brownies’ parents have all said that they want the children to be involved in understanding more about dementia. In line with the Certificate actions, it was natural to invite the Brownies to write their own prayers from the heart for people affected by dementia.

Also in Stoke, children at St Paul’s Church of England School have written prayers. St Paul’s Longton has been taking action to become more dementia-friendly for a couple of years: you can read more about the school’s activities here. Mrs Hayley Boult explained what’s moving forwards at present, as the school becomes more dementia-friendly. This year, the school has continued its links with a specialist dementia care home locally. Last Christmas, the children made a Christmas card for every resident, personalised with first names; and they put on a virtual Christmas concert for residents. Also, a member of staff has knitted forget-me-nots which are now available in the Prayer Room at school, where there are prayers displayed for people affected by dementia. Last year, one class learned more about dementia; this month, there will be a dementia awareness afternoon for the whole school, with KS1 focusing on changes as people get older and KS2 focusing on technology that can assist. So this prayer arises from school-wide steps to name and face dementia together, increasing awareness about dementia across the whole school community.

In our recent review of impact and engagement across our dementia-friendly churches network, Professor Peter Kevern from Staffordshire University recognises that we are “rich in ‘local experts’, who know deeply the characteristics of their own community and those living with dementia in it, and who have experience and ideas to share with other[s]… [T]here is an abundance of wisdom and faith at this community level”. This is confirmed by our 2024 Dementia Action Week prayers from the heart through dementia, and the stories behind them. Please share these prayers and pray with them.

Our Prayers for Dementia Action Week (linked above) are available to download and print in both Word and PDF formats.

This year, Alzheimer’s Society is focusing on diagnosis for Dementia Action Week: 1 in 3 people in the UK living with dementia do not have a diagnosis and 91% of people affected by dementia say there are benefits to getting a diagnosis.: 

Page last updated: Friday 10th May 2024 3:55 PM
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