Prayer For Mental Health

The Benefits Of Prayer For Mental Health

Now before I get into the benefits of prayer for mental health it’s important that I make clear that I am in no way religious, so when I am talking about prayer I am not necessarily referring to the religious practice of praying to God. If I need to put a label on my beliefs then I guess I am a secular humanist. However I am spiritual too. I believe in the power of the universe and the beauty in nature, life itself is an amazing miracle.

***Disclosure – This post is sponsored***

The Benefits Of Prayer For Mental Health

While prayer may be something that most people associate with religion, you can pray no matter what your beliefs are. If you are religious then prayer may come naturally to you and if you are not religious it may take a little while to find a way of connecting to your spirituality. You may find yoga or meditation helpful, or being out in nature.

I’m no stranger to mental health difficulties and the last year since the start of the pandemic has been incredibly trying for me. I am an addict and an alcoholic, now 12+ years in recovery. I was  diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008. I’m pretty sure that I can now add anxiety disorder to my list of labels thanks to this pandemic and all the stress we have been under.

Part of the recovery program that I work (which is now a mish mash of all sorts of things but very much based on the 12 Step program) is to pray. In the last year I have probably said the Serenity Prayer (which is the prayer said in the 12 step meetings and in many rehabs) more times than in the rest of my time in recovery put together.

It has become so second nature that I say it in my head without thinking about it and as I stabilize in whatever wobble I was having I realize I have been saying it. I am so grateful for the power of prayer, it is an amazing mental health tool.

The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. 

That is not the entire prayer but that is the part that we say in 12 step meetings and that is what I repeat to myself like a mantra when things get tough.

Asking for Help Through Prayer

While I’m sure that many people pray for something specific like winning the lottery or having their true love finally notice them, I find that when I pray I ask for the virtues that I need to overcome what I am facing.

A great example is looking at the Serenity Prayer, when saying that prayer I’m looking for serenity, courage and wisdom. One thing I often pray for is patience, I’ve come to clearly see that it is not easy being a mom during a pandemic.

When I pray I am basically asking for help to be a better person. I believe that through prayer I am being mindful, of my shortcomings and the things that I need to work on. Through mindfulness and the positive reinforcement of prayer I am often able to achieve these things.

Two Women Praying Together

Gratitude

Another big aspect of prayer for me personally is being grateful and mindful of the good things in my life. Prayer is not only asking for things, it is about saying thank you for the things that you have received.

When I am in the moment and grateful for what I have I am a happier person and I am better able to cope.

The Benefits Of Prayer For Mental Health

There have been many studies into faith, spirituality and the power of prayer. Through these studies and my own personal experiences it is clear that there are amazing benefits of prayer for mental health.

Praying regularly will give you a better sense of purpose, give social support, lift your spirits and assist you with coping in difficult times.

You can read about this study which shows that people with low spirituality are more likely to relapse and this study which shows that people who pray are less likely to experience anxiety-related disorders.

Woman With Armor Prayer Journal Workshop

For someone that is not used to prayer it can be daunting to get started, and for others they may be looking for a way to get together with others and do something more guided.

Wendy Beetge from Woman With Armor offers prayer journalworkshops that are now online – you can contact her on 065 963 0179 or via email at wendy@womanwitharmor.co.za

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7 comments

  1. I must admit that I pre covid I was prayerful especially during my pregnancy as I did not know what expect and I can attest that I had the smooth delivery and after pregnancy. It gave me a sense of calmness and made me a better person. So during the beginning of the pandemic everything fell apart and felt like I was loosing my mind. I recently started praying again and I my not have everything but I have peace of mind. Thank you Lynne.

    • I’m so glad to hear everything went smoothly with your pregnancy and birth Kamo! I’m so glad that you have found prayer helping you now. I still have my moments and it is not perfect but prayer really does help 🙂

  2. Honestly…im a child of God…im not ashamed to say it…im going through a very hard time…looking after 4 children for a income…one which is downsyndrome…its a lot of work…and sometimes i just want to break down…Pray oray and more prayers is what see me through.

  3. Tshegofatso Bopape

    Lately I’ve been experiencing a lot of mental health problems especially since I gave birth to my 1st child in 2020, it has particularly been hard. Honestly, I’m a very spiritual person and have believed in the power of prayer since I can remember but lately I even fail to gather the strength to pray. This is really an important reminder for me that prayer will help me cope better, thank you Lynne

    • Tshegofatso, congrats on becoming a mom 🙂 I’m sure it must have been so hard having your first child in the middle of a pandemic! I struggled so much after the birth of my first baby but that was without a pandemic. I hope this reminder to pray helps you cope better.

  4. Avril du Preez

    Prayer is the only that gets me through the day. This past year has been especially trying (mom had a stroke and I was homeschooling my daughter. Then there’s additional financial obligations that came along with mom’s stroke) So I have really been needing to keep in touch with God. I realise that if wasn’t for God’s grace I should’ve already had a stroke or heart attack. Prayer has kept me connected to God

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