How to pray to overcome anxiety
We all face uncertainty, but spending too much time dwelling on worries about the future can cause anxiety to spiral out of control. A powerful way to deal with worry is through prayer, which will help you find peace despite unanswered questions. Here’s an example of how to pray for the power to overcome worry:
“Dear God, I feel so anxious about what’s going on in my life — and what I’m afraid might happen to me in the future — that I spend a lot of time and energy worrying. My body is suffering with [mention symptoms like insomnia, headaches, an upset stomach, shortness of breath, a racing heartbeat, etc.]. My mind is suffering with [mention symptoms like nervousness, distraction, irritability, and forgetfulness]. My spirit is suffering with [mention symptoms like discouragement, fear, doubt, and hopelessness]. I don’t want to live this way anymore. Please send the miracle I need to find peace in the body, mind, and spirit that you have given me!
My all-knowing Father in heaven, please give me the wisdom to see my concerns from the right perspective so they won’t overwhelm me. Remind me often of the truth that you are much greater than any situation that concerns me — so I can entrust any circumstance in my life to you, instead of worrying about it. Please give me the faith I need to believe that and trust you with whatever worries me.
From this day forward, please help me develop the habit of turning my worries into prayers. Whenever an anxious thought enters my mind, alert me to the need to pray about that thought rather than worrying about it. The more I practice praying instead of worrying, the more I can experience the peace you want to give me. I choose to stop assuming the worst about my future and start expecting the best, because you’re at work in my life with your great love and power.
I believe that you will help me manage any situation that worries me. Help me distinguish between what I can control and what I can’t — and help me take helpful actions on what I can, and trust you to handle what I can’t. As Saint Francis of Assisi famously prayed, ‘make me an instrument of your peace’ in my relationships with other people in every situation I encounter.
Help me adjust my expectations so that I’m not putting pressure on myself unnecessarily, worrying about things that you don’t want me to be concerned about — like trying to perfect, presenting an image to others that doesn’t reflect who I really am, or trying to get other people to be the way I’d like them to be or do what I’d like them to do. As I let go of unrealistic expectations and accept the way my life really is, you will give me the freedom I need to relax and trust you in deeper ways.
God, please help me find a solution to each real problem that I face, and stop worrying about the ‘What if?’ problems that may never happen in my future. Please give me a vision of the peaceful future of hope and joy that you have planned for me. I look forward to that future, because it comes from you, my loving Father. Thank you! Amen.”
Whitney Hopler works as Communications Director at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being (CWB) and has written for many media organizations, from About.com to the Washington Post. Connect with Whitney on Twitter and connect with CWB on Twitter and Facebook.