QUESTION: Prayer for stress relief – Does prayer work to reduce stress?
Let us face the facts: we all have stress. It is the way we deal with stress that differs. The good news is that prayer for stress relief works! Prayer is that unique form of communication with God available to the believer that, when used often and in accordance with God’s will, brings us into alignment with God’s viewpoint. Being in good alignment means that our whole being is put into its proper perspective and that means life is less stressful and we are better able to deal with the stress we do have.
A proper perspective of our reality is often the biggest stress reliever there is. There is a saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, it is all small stuff.” The proper perspective helps us to understand that our stress is not unique or strange and it cannot defeat us without our help. In other words, when it comes to stress, we give it the power that it has over us. Living a prayer-centered life changes that equation. It is also an amazing thing of irony, but praying for others or intermediary prayer helps to put our own needs into perspective. Because when we focus upon the needs of others, our own needs become less of a focus. “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
The adage that “Prayer changes things,” is only partly right, especially in stress relief. Prayer changes the one doing the praying. God is sovereign and when we pray, we are told to pray with in the will of God as Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13. This model of prayer is a good basis to start from and it can lead us into a deeper life of prayer. This deeper communion with Christ has a result of bringing a clearer understanding of our dependence upon God and His grace, which changes us and can consequently result in changing “things.”
James makes this statement: “You ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.'” (James 4:15). Therefore, when we are praying, we need to do so not with a personal laundry list but with the attitude of submission to God and His will. That is not to say that we should not use prayer for stress relief. “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2). There is nothing in our lives that God does not know about so when we pray we are not informing Him. Rather, we are bringing our will into alignment with His Will.
But how does prayer relieve stress? When we communicate with God, we do so on a one-to-one basis with no intermediary. This is the only time when we can be honest with ourselves and with God. You’ll find no artifice in the prayer closet. One can’t simply mumble “I’m fine” when one is alone with God. The realizations that God knows our frame, has a clear understanding of who and what we are, and that He loves us anyway gives us a humility that strips us of false pride and opens our heart to allow the LORD to change us. Situations that cause stress in our life may not change instantly, but our attitude of peace in the face of the stress will make our life seem different. The result of prayer as a stress relief is the recognition of our dependence upon the “Prince of Peace” to bring us through anything!
A prayer for stress relief might include some of the following statements to God: “Father, I know that You know my life and You know the problems and stress that I face. Help me to keep my eyes not on the problems or the stressful situations, but upon You and Your mercy and grace. Father, I cannot change the situations that cause stress in my life but I know that You can. LORD, keep my heart humble and willing to submit to the ‘all things’ that you have allowed into my life. Father, give me Your strength to stand because although I do not understand how this will change me, I know that You are working in and through me to conform my life to glorify You. Lead me into Your truth by helping me to surrender to Your Word. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
– We have all
and deserve God’s judgment.
, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him.
, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He
for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was
rose from the dead
according to the
. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your
, declaring, “
Jesus is Lord
,” you will be saved from
and spend eternity with God in heaven.
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow JesusYes, I am already a follower of JesusI still have questions
Is stress holding you hostage and keeping you from rest? Do you feel burdens pressing in that seem too heavy to bear? When anxious thoughts pull you in the wrong direction, and you’re struggling to find balance, the following prayer might express your thoughts and help you find relief and freedom.
Before praying, consider these 4 steps for praying over anxiety, as suggested by well-known author and speaker Max Lucado:
- Pray immediately.
“Don’t stew over the problems that are besetting you or your neighbor. Ask God for help as soon as you identify a need.”
- Pray specifically.
“When we boil our concerns down to a specific request, they become right-sized. Vague threats loom larger than concrete challenges.”
- Pray for and with others.
“When we consider the problems of others and enlist their help with ours, our concerns become more manageable.”
- Pray with thanksgiving.
“Anxiety and gratitude cannot occupy the same space. When we catalog what are thankful for, our list of challenges grows less powerful.”
A Prayer for Relief of Stress and Anxiety
Lord Jesus, the stresses in my life often reach a dangerous proportion—or so it seems. My body, mind, and spirit struggle to keep up physically, mentally, and yes, spiritually. Some days anxiety stalks me like a deceitful predator, and the temptation to worry draws me in. I know better, but some days the challenges outweigh the truths buried inside. My trust in You fades into the background, giving fear and concerns permission to discourage me.
In those moments of apprehension, help me remember that I belong to You, and that You are not the author of fear or anxiety, but the giver of love and a sound mind. Teach me Your ways to respond to problems by giving thanks in them. Your Word assures me that You are always there with me. You are the Blessed Controller of all things, and nothing escapes Your attention in my life. You have given me every tool and spiritual blessing to fight against those things that try to steal my peace. You’ve promised that when I’m stressed and burdens are trying to weigh me down, I can come to You. You will give me sweet rest!
Whether the anxiety stems from work, parenting, finances, physical issues, or even world conditions, You are there, Lord, to shoulder the weight. Teach me to recognize the stressful trials as tools for you to shape me and rearrange me. Through those difficult times, You will teach me patience, enlarge my faith, and help me see things I couldn’t see earlier—if I will only let You. When I’m clueless as to what to do, Lord, I want to turn to you first, not last.
Forgive me for trying to handle things on my own, Lord. The need to be in control sometimes gets a stronghold on my life. That only makes things worse. I want to trust You more and see things from Your perspective, not my own. No one makes me feel uptight, angry, or stressed, and no one forces me to react negatively. I choose to respond according to my beliefs. Do I believe You are in control? Do I believe You created all things and hold all things in Your Hand? Do I believe You are truly good? When an anxious thought creeps in, help me to stop and relax, to take that thought captive, and to turn apprehension into a calm prayer for deliverance. Revamp my belief system, Lord. Show me a new way to handle life according to Your Way.
No matter what issues I am dealing with; no matter how big the problems or situations, I’m laying them all at Your feet today. Turn these potentials for stress into lessons for growth and trust. When I can’t see any possible solutions, I choose to believe that You are working things out for my good—in Your own time, as you have in the past. Show me what to do, or what not to do. As I focus on You, remembering Your promises and Your words, I believe You will fill me with a peace that is beyond all understanding.
In Your precious name,
A Short Prayer for An Anxious Heart
Dear Lord, I thank you that I can come to You always for any reason. I’m grateful that when I pray to You, You answer me. Help me to come to You at the beginning of my fears and anxieties instead of waiting until I can’t stand them anymore. The quicker I come to You the better. You want to free me from ALL my fears. Help me look to You for help more often so that I can be radiant with Your joy. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
– Jennifer Heeren
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is an inspirational author, speaker, and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to encourage others heart to heart. She has written 11 books and over 1700 other articles, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. Her daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Rebecca at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
Publication date: October 27, 2017
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.