Unhealthy prayer?


My son is playing the rosary daily for something that is unlikely to ever happen, his mother returning to see him (Unlikely, due to a severe mental illness).

Is it ever unhealthy to pray for a seemingly impossible event? Would it, for example, be unhealthy to pray for someone who is dead to return to life on this earth? Theoretically, God can do anything. But, all indications are that will never happen


Could you gently guide him to simply pray the rosary for his mother?
Praying as specifically as he is doing could lead to discouragement and loss of faith so in that sense it’s unhealthy. On the other hand, the bible teaches us, “nothing is impossible to God.”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

His mother needs his prayer, and God can use our prayer whichever way He chooses.
Your son may perhaps not even see the result on earth, but his prayer could lead to graces within her that work towards her peace and salvation.

I don’t know how old your son is and how much he understands regarding his mother’s condition, but is there some kind of available counselling that can help him reconcile to the practical realities of his life? He himself would appear to need much prayer to deal with a very painful reality in his life, but also to fully appreciate the importance of your place in his life.

My prayers for you all


Trishies response is good. Not knowing the severity of the mental illness doesn’t allow us to be realistic or optimistic. My family has been blessed w degrees of chemical imbalances/mental illness. Medicines and /or ECT can do wonders.
You know what is true.
He knows his Mom?? Mental illness is hereditary. It comes in layers like an onion. Some layers are thicker or thinner. Some mental illness has degrees of how, it is passed down.
In the South, we dress our loopy loved ones up and take them out. That was a line from Designing Women. Partly, a joke. SIGH…
Do you bring children to funerals. Do you bring children to visit dying grandmom, who wants to see child?
Do you teach child about the mental illness & visit his Mom? Timing and age are relevant.
HINOR YOUR FATHER SND YOUR MOTHER AND YOU WILL HAVE A LONG LIFE IN THE LAND. Parents don’t push your children to frustration.
Honor your Father & Mother, even when they are old and addled minded.
How do we teach our children a life of love and sacrifice???

       The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.


In Christ’s love


Miracles happen. And he will grow and learn through it. Praying for his mother is lovely


Mother left to marry Prince Harry many years ago (delusions).

Kids are all young (pre-teen and single digits). She’s hundreds of miles away and the last few times we went to visit her, she wouldn’t open the door.

Haven’t seen or heard from her since 2015. For a year or so, she was presumed dead.

That doesn’t mean that the kids don’t still absolutely love her, and we don’t remember her in her finer moments. At one time, she was an absolutely wonderful mom.


Perhaps we could pray for her too.

St Pio once said something interesting, he said that this life is like looking at the underside of needlepoint*, it can look messy and nonsensical, but on the top there is a lovely pattern or picture. We can pray but we must know that we don’t know the full picture and so our prayers may not be answered in the way that we want.

God bless this child.

*it may be embroidery.


On the one hand, we can’t very well hold up an image of God being able to work all kinds of miracles and then tell somebody not to pray for a miracle because it’s probably not going to happen.

On the other hand, I appreciate the concern about someone, particularly a child, becoming discouraged and losing faith when the desired important result doesn’t happen.

I think in addition to Trishie’s excellent suggestions, this is a time to have the “sometimes God says no” discussion, and also if the child is old enough to not be upset by the thought of death, the discussion about how his prayer to see his mother again might even be answered by seeing her one day in Heaven, where she will be just as wonderful as she once was. If the child is too young to think about himself or Mom passing away, then that’s a convo for a later time.

You can certainly also note that medical science is advancing all the time and coming up with new treatments for mental illnesses such as Mom has, so it’s possible God might help Mom’s doctors to help her so she can see her children again, but God might again say “no” or “not for a long time”.


Please pray for her as well. And, I don’t really know what praying for someone does versus not praying for them.

It’s not like someone praying is going to get God to say, “You know what - since people are praying for her, I’m going to do something different…”


I remember reading about Father Solanus Casey and how he would ‘thank God ahead of time’ he’d pray for someone and have faith that since Our Lord had promised that we should ask and it shall be given that our prayers would be answered. So just based on that I would say that prayer can definitely be efficacious.
However, we don’t know and cannot know the ramifications of such things and so we must always add “thy will be done.” And accept that sometimes our prayers may not be answered in the way our little intellects would hope for.

Prayer is powerful. Why would Our Lord Jesus have given us the Lord’s Prayer if there was no point to it. Our prayers I know have influence.


Actually, prayer is extremely powerful and it can have all kinds of good effects. Some of them are not readily apparent or visible to us at the time.

Prayer suffers from the same problem that criminal lawyers do. If the lawyer’s client gets convicted, the client complains, “I hired you to get me off and you did a lousy job, here I am in prison! I’m not gonna pay you.” If the lawyer’s client is acquitted, the client says, “Well, the judge would have ruled that way anyway, even without a lawyer, because I didn’t do it and they had no evidence, so I’m not gonna pay you.” Similarly, when we pray and don’t get what we want, we think prayer is useless because it didn’t work, and when we pray and get what we want, we think prayer had nothing to do with it as God would have done the same thing without prayer.

It’s important to realize that praying for someone can have all kinds of good effects that are not limited to just good things happening for the person being prayed for. The prayers can have positive effects on the person doing the praying, on others in the circle of the pray-er and pray-ee, and even on the entire Church. Prayer is a mystery and it is very important. Do not underestimate it, even when the ill person doesn’t appear to be getting a physical cure.


The situation as you describe it In post 4 is deeply sad.
It isn’t clear what added assistance has been available to the children,
nor is it predictable regarding the outcomes for the children’s lives and their own mental health, in the confusion and sense of abandonment by their mother especially at vulnerable young ages …

… but they are incredibly blessed to have your loving care.

It seems to me that with the responsibility of helping the children through their trauma, and working to provide a wise, loving family environment for them, you are an amazing person. You, and the family will remain in my prayer intentions. God grant you all the blessings you need for wholesome and happy lives.


I wouldn’t discourage him from praying for whatever is in his heart. He may never see his mom again in this lifetime, but God still hears and answers his prayers. In time, He may answer with understanding and forgiveness.


I’m so sorry, my sister in law, got very paranoid about the IRS& taxes. She did the books for their house painting business. Electric shock therapy was used. It worked. I was a nurse. In student psych training, I helped w ECT & it grossed me out. 1967 till 1980’s. It was fine tuned in that time. Have they tried that??

O Christ, Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.

By Saint Ignatius of Loyola


Electric shock therapy can be useful when one is depressed. In this case, she is manic (the opposite of depressed), and completely euphoric with her calling to be with Jesus.

Her parents and I have had her involuntarily committed on half a dozen occasions only to have her check herself out because she doesn’t meet the legal definition of an “imminent risk to herself or others“


It’s a very sad tale and unfortunately very common too.

Does she have someone who can remind her to take her medication regularly? It sounds as though she’s on her own?


@Lee1 After she went to the ER because she thought she was pregnant with next coming of Jesus (that cost us a pretty penny for an ultrasound), we hired a nursing student to visit her daily and a housekeeper to do laundry and clean every other week. She refuses to sweep the porch, clean, or rake leaves.

As it relates to forcing medication - we got three doctor opinions: all three said she desperately needs medication, but only one of the three said it should be administered involuntarily. So, she won’t take psychotropic medication and lives in a euphoric dream-like state for years at a time


I’m so sorry to hear that.

Keep praying for her, I know that it can be hard but be assured our prayers are heard. God bless.


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