We all must be more than ready when challenges come our way. By the power of the holy spirit, we must become mentally, emotionally, and spiritually intelligent, strong & resilient. Jesus has already given us the victory before the challenge ever comes our way; he knows our end from our beginning....be encouraged when challenges come, because our loving God has already prepared us to win.
"So prepare your minds for action, be completely sober in spirit - steadfast, self-disciplined, spiritually & morally fix your hope completely on the grace of God that is coming to you when Jesus Christ is revealed."
-1 Peter 1:13
A great read about police officers (really, all first responders!) and seeking help for mental injury...
Authored By Joe Gramigna, MA
Routine mental health screening of police officers may be warranted in law enforcement agencies, according to results of a survey study published in JAMA Network Open.
“Evidence suggests that exposure to law enforcement work is associated with increases in many forms of stress, including physical, psychosocial and anticipatory stress,” Katelyn K. Jetelina, MPH, PhD, of the department of epidemiology, human genetics and environmental sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center, and colleagues wrote. “Officers are exposed to traumatic calls for service on a daily basis, including child abuse, domestic violence, car crashes and homicides. Repeated exposure to these stressors and events may be associated with development of mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, somatization, [PTSD] and burnout.”
Results of a prior study showed that twice as many police officers died by suicide vs. dying in the line of duty in 2018. However, research is sparse regarding patterns and barriers of mental illnesses and characteristics of officers who express interest in seeking help.
Jetelina and colleagues sought to evaluate mental illness prevalence and symptoms, as well as the characteristics of officers interested in seeking mental health care, and to describe mental health care use perceptions via surveys and focus groups among 434 officers from a single large police department. Participants reported current or lifetime diagnosis of anxiety, depression, PTSD, as well as current mental health symptoms and mental health care use in the past 12 months. The researchers collected focus group data to provide context to mental health care use.
Results showed 17% of participants sought mental health care services in the past 12 months, 12% reported a lifetime mental health diagnosis and 26% had positive screening results for current mental illness symptoms. The odds of interest in using mental health services among officers who screened positive was significantly higher for those with suicidal ideation or self-harm compared with those who had neither (adjusted OR = 7.66; 95% CI, 1.7-34.48).
The researchers also reported results of five focus groups that included 18 officers, and these identified four primary barriers in mental health service access: inability of an officer to identify when they were experiencing a mental illness; concerns regarding confidentiality; belief that psychologists were unable to relate to their occupation; and the notion that officers who seek mental health services may be unfit for duty.
“Future studies should aim to achieve a more nuanced understanding of the types of treatment sought by officers, which would be helpful to inform innovative care delivery strategies that are tailored to officers in the future,” Jetelina and colleagues wrote. “Future
interventions and, potentially, broader screening policies in law enforcement agencies appear to be needed to systematically identify and refer officers to health care services while mitigating their concerns, such as potential breach of confidentiality.”
In a related editorial, John M. Violanti, PhD, of the department of epidemiology and environmental health at the University of Buffalo in New York, emphasized the importance of addressing mental health barriers for police officers.
“Education concerning mental health and effective treatment is needed for police officers,” Violanti wrote. “The stigma attached to mental illness and the reluctance of officers to seek help can only lead to further increases in mental strain and suicide among police. Policing is an essential occupation to preserve the rule of law, and those who serve in law enforcement deserve proper protection from the mental strain associated with this task. It is a matter of psychological survival.”
1. Prayer for Protection of Police Officers -- Lord, we don’t know why you have implanted in the hearts of brave men and women to choose a profession that requires them to walk into danger and put their own life on the line to stop lawlessness and crime. You’ve given them a willingness to enforce the law to protect the communities where they serve. Are they fearless? Unintimidated? Thrill seekers? Or do they truly love their neighbor more than themselves, and want to do their part in justice for all?
Only you know for sure Lord what motivates them, but we do know they need a band of angels surrounding them with a hedge of protection. Lord, they face evil and the tough parts of life every day. They see the worst of people and people at their worst. Their work tools are weapons.
I pray Lord for their safety as they walk up to a car or house or unknown situation never knowing what danger awaits them. If they know you Lord, remind them to say their own prayer of protection and ask you to intervene against any foe. Perhaps something like David prayed, “I come to you for protection, O Lord my God. Save me from my persecutors—rescue me!” (Psalm 1:7 NLT).
And when they emerge safe and victorious, Father, as David did when he was rescued from Saul, give them a heart to give you the glory. If they don’t know you as their Savior, become real to these officers. Let them know you took the bullet for them. Amen.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
2 Samuel 22:1-4 NLT
David sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies.”
2 Samuel 22:31 NLT
“God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.”
2. Prayer for Officers' Wisdom and Guidance -- Lord, police officers’ days are filled with uncertainties and unknowns as they make quick and often life-changing or life-threatening decisions. Help them to be wise and invoke all their training and experience before moving or speaking. When they have the opportunity to investigate a situation before taking action and engaging, give them patience not to rush to judgment or anger.
If they discern a quick decision or movement is required, direct them to move swiftly but safely. If they need to wait for backup or ask for help, don’t let them be prideful or rash, but consider the best outcome for everyone involved.
For those who have a relationship with you, remind them that when in doubt you’re always there for them, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (James 1:5 NLT)
Guide them with their conscience and their code of conduct. Help them remember the protocol and give them the courage to do the next right thing for the best outcome.
When they need to take orders from their chain of command, give them humble but steady hearts and guard their words.
Give them compassion when they determine there is no ill intent but also a keen awareness for deception. Remind them that they may not have all the evidence to make a final decision. Help them to see the good in people, and don’t let their hearts become hardened and calloused by the challenging situations they encounter daily. Amen.
I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.
Colossians 1:9 NLT
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.
3. Prayer for Police Officers’ Families -- Father you’ve so graciously given two families to every police officer: their personal or extended family and their professional family.
To their personal families, please give strength to endure the demanding schedule of a police officer. Provide understanding and flexibility for the times when their officer isn’t available for special occasions because police officers’ shifts can be anytime day or night seven days a week, even on holidays, weekends, and birthdays. It’s disappointing when their officer has to work and they want him or her home.
Instill the family with compassion to not take it personally when he or she doesn’t want to talk about their work and give the family intuition to know when their officer needs the space to decompress when returning home.
May the family never minimize the significance of a police officer’s work. Let home be a place of solace when he or she returns safely but perhaps scarred by what they’ve seen and experienced.
Lord, it takes a special kind of love and patience to live with police officers. Remind the family members to pray for their officer daily and to let him or her know they’re prayed over, appreciated, and loved.
Help family members to be alert and responsive when their officer is showing signs of stress, overwork, and trauma; and encourage them to seek help. Likewise, Father, surround the family with those who will notice the tenuous relationships that can develop within the family members.
Father, these precious and brave families make sacrifices few understand. Fill their homes with love, peace, joy, grace, and closeness because they support a police officer even at their own sacrifice.
Lord, every officer also has a close work-family bond. They’re a team who have each other’s backs and depend on one another for support, encouragement, skill, and camaraderie in facing the challenges of the job.
Lord, bring unity and synergy to these men and women as they guard each other’s lives while working together to keep the streets of their communities safe and free of crime.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”
4. Prayer for Mourners of Fallen Officers and Those Lost in the Line of Duty -- Father, to those who’ve been there, nothing compares to the heart-wrenching screams of “Officer down!” Except perhaps the torment of a family opening the door to see two fellow officers of their officer standing with grim faces and tears welling in their eyes as the family falls to its knees crying, “No, God, please no!
Or maybe you hear them wailing, “Why God, how could you do this when they were only trying to protect our community?” And even, “Lord where were you when they were dying?”
Lord, how does anyone comfort this family? Like Jeremiah, they wail, “My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken” (Jeremiah 18:18 NLT). There are no human answers to satisfy or soothe their agonizing wounds of grief, anger, and sorrow.
Only you can Lord. Psalm 147:3assures us that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” And Psalm 34:18 NLT confirms, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
We beg of you to surround them with love. Bring others to their side who have experienced their pain and understand the deep ache in their heart and will pray with and for them. Keep away those who patronize and tell them everything will be all right, because for this family, it will never be all right again.
Father, you know the fellow officers who mourn with the family, especially those who were with the fallen officer. Remove from them the repeated nightmares of asking themselves what they could have done differently or why wasn’t it them in the coffin.
Lord you know, that the death of their fellow officer will always haunt them and the memory will never fade. Father guide them to the help they need to recover from what they’ve seen and don’t let it cause division among the unit or place any in danger with fear and hesitancy.
Guide them in keeping their focus on work when they’re on duty and help guard their minds from the “what-ifs” when they try to sleep at night. Help them rest and renew their resolve to do their job to the best of their ability.
Father, we know you mourn with both these families. Give them whatever they each need in their lives. Walk beside them Father. Draw them into your embrace and fill them with a peace that passes all understanding. For those who don’t know you, open their eyes to seek you, the only source of relief from their anguish. Let them feel your presence grieving with them. Your tears. Your hugs. Your love. Amen.
Proverbs 14:13 NLT
Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.
Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds, rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
We Honor Our Police Officers with Respect and AppreciationUse respectful words when talking about and to police officers. Thank them for their service. Pray when you see police officers patrolling or a police car on the road.
Don’t simply pray for yourself that they don’t pull you over, but pray because you don’t know what awaits them the next time they do make a traffic stop. When you hear a siren, pray.
We never know when we, or our loved ones, might be the life they’re rushing to save.
Below are some of my favorite verses, from the HCSB Police Officer's Bible:
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.
He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life; He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff — they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it. I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. Still, you did well by sharing with me in my hardship.
This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength.
2 Corinthians 4:7-15
Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus, so that Jesus’ life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith in keeping with what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore speak. We know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and present us with you. Indeed, everything is for your benefit, so that grace, extended through more and more people, may cause thanksgiving to increase to God’s glory.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I speak human or angelic languages
but do not have love,
I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy
and understand all mysteries
and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith
so that I can move mountains
but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,
and if I give my body in order to boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited,
does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.
But as for prophecies,
they will come to an end;
as for languages, they will cease;
as for knowledge, it will come to an end.
For we know in part,
and we prophesy in part.
But when the perfect comes,
the partial will come to an end.
When I was a child,
I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man,
I put aside childish things.
For now we see indistinctly,[b] as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part,
but then I will know fully,
as I am fully known.
Now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
He also said: “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me.’ So he distributed the assets to them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate in foolish living. After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing. Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He longed to eat his fill from the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one would give him any. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired hands.’ So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father told his slaves, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
“Now his older son was in the field; as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he summoned one of the servants and asked what these things meant. ‘Your brother is here,’ he told him, ‘and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
“Then he became angry and didn’t want to go in. So his father came out and pleaded with him. But he replied to his father, ‘Look, I have been slaving many years for you, and I have never disobeyed your orders, yet you never gave me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your assets with prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’
“‘Son,’ he said to him, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
RULE OF LIFE:
Martin Luther King Jr. developed a rule to guide the non-violent protests of the civil-rights movement. His rule emphasized the spiritual principle and inner attitudes under-girding one’s action, although it also included specific practices like meditation, prayer, and service.
A rule of life is not meant to be restrictive, although it asks for genuine commitment. It is meant to help us to establish a rhythm of daily living, a basic order within which new freedom can grow.
It should be clear that from these examples that there is great latitude in a personal rule of life. Your rule will be unique to your circumstances, personality, and needs, yet in harmony with the basic historic practices of Christian life and faith throughout the centuries. Let us choose to be open to God’s blessings by becoming present to God. Transforming encounters await those who design and practice their rule of life. We promise
Definition of Spiritual Wellness
Maintaining optimal meanings, beliefs, values, attitudes, purposes, and love toward life, world, or divinity.
Benefits of Spiritual Wellness
There are various physical, mental benefits of spiritual wellness.
Spiritual Wellness Lifestyle Guidelines
Authored By Ed Kelley, Executive Pastor of Bay Area Community Church, Chaplain for INLETS
A typical table has four legs. We have all experienced a table that is out of balance, where one leg is “off” and the silly table unsteadily rocks back and forth. I like to think of life like the four legs of a table, each representing the four key areas of our existence: physical, emotional (social), mental and spiritual.
A table needs equal strength from all four legs in order to handle any significant weight placed upon it. If one leg is weak, the table can come crashing down. Life is the same way: The human life needs physical, emotional, mental and spiritual balance so when life’s stresses land in our life—as they always do—we can handle it.
Stress can feel really heavy; law enforcement, as a profession, is extremely stressful. Officers can experience stress from all sorts of sources: responding to calls for service; leadership within the department; society’s expectations; spouses and family members; finances; or even from within, as officers tend to hold their actions and behaviors to very high standards.
Officers often feel they are under constant stress, and this weight can accumulate over time. High levels of stress can also come from a single event, whether it’s responding to a car accident or being involved in a use-of-force incident. Unfortunately, many officers take the stress they experience from their job back to their home lives, which can cause even more turmoil.
I have worked with law enforcement for 30 years. I have counseled officers whose out-of-balance work lives ended up crashing their personal worlds. Quite often, officers crash when their lives are out of balance over an extended period of time. Whether it’s the emotional (social) or mental sides of life that are weak—or if they are ignoring the spiritual aspect—out-of-balance lives create risk. After all, a three-legged table is not very good at handling weight that is thrown on it.
As a Christian pastor, I help officers deal with the emotional and spiritual aspects of their lives. I have found that many officers ignore spirituality. That worries me because I know how valuable faith, be it Christian or otherwise, can be for helping the average person get through life’s stresses, so it’s even more important to officers who experience much greater levels of stress.
Part of the reason officers do not address the spiritual side of life can be attributed to their inconsistent and downright crazy work schedules. Many officers work night shifts, weekends, and are on call, so attending religious services or maintaining relationships at a house of worship can be difficult to manage.
Another reason officers often neglect the spiritual side of life is that they have seen so many bad things. Officers deal with the lowest of the low in society and they’ve also seen horrific things, from gruesome crimes to tragic accidents. This can harden a person’s outlook towards people and life in general. However, this is even more of a reason why officers need to find some element of spirituality in their lives. Spirituality helps people gain perspective on their life’s events and can help bring balance, perspective, and even gratitude for what they have. Finding spirituality also drives many people into a service task such as participating in missions and local charities to help them give back and contribute in a different, and often therapeutic, way.
Throughout my 35 years as a pastor, I have found that almost all the officers who share with me their frustrations, challenges and pain are able to find some sort of solace when they focus on their spiritual life.
Officers come to me with all different backgrounds and experiences in spirituality. Those who start with no spiritual foundation and spend some time investigating faith are usually drawn out of the malaise of their daily life. Officers who have a moderate understanding and practice of faith normally just need to be reminded of what is really important in the grand scheme of life and are able to
renew their focus on the spiritual leg of their table. For those who are strong in faith, reiterating together what is true in divinity usually helps strengthen their life’s spiritual journey even further. My message to every officer I work with, regardless of their faith, is that stress is a killer. It destroys lives and can cause incredible damage to a person’s well-being. Officers need to find ways to cope with and address their stress, so it doesn’t eat them from the inside out. My job is to help people think through what is right, and what is important in life, so that stress doesn’t get a hold of one of their “legs.” For me, as someone who has a Christian worldview, I believe that stress can be lessened when one understands his or her purpose in life. When officers take the time to ensure that the legs of their own table are in balance, they are much better equipped to handle the weight of life.
CHAPLAIN, FORMER LEO, CULTURE-CHANGER