By Jolene Underwood, Crosswalk.com
One of the hardest things about being human in this broken world is experiencing pain without quick-fix answers and consistent happy endings. We all face challenges that feel overwhelming. We struggle when we don’t know what to do. For those with mental, emotional, or physical health concerns, the feelings of overwhelm can seem never-ending.
We aren’t guaranteed beautiful endings or perfected situations. Our desires aren’t automatically fulfilled. No matter how much we want things to be perfect, we live in an imperfect world full of imperfect, even harmful, people.
Even so, there is hope. So much hope. There is goodness. Our God is bigger and better than we know. One thing we are guaranteed is that the presence of God is with us through every challenge and struggle we face.
Scripture reminds us that Jesus knew pain and suffering well. God understands the deep cries of our hearts. He knows us intimately and cares about what we need.
If you’re feeling depressed and anxious, or weary and worried, please know that God wants to meet you through prayer. Prayer isn’t meant to be the be-all and end-all. It’s meant to bring us close to the One who holds it all.
May these eight prayers encourage your heart no matter what mental health struggles and illnesses you may be facing.
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1. Prayer for Abundant Life
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Lord, you give life and life abundantly. I don’t always experience the goodness you have to give. I don’t even know how good your goodness is. But I want it, Lord.
Sometimes what I think should happen isn’t actually good. My limitations, my inabilities, my refusals, my attempts to get things my way make it hard to receive what you want for me. I’ve struggled and pain is all too familiar. The enemy wants to destroy me, and he has taken much.
I ask for more of what you have to give, Lord. Help me experience the power of your life at work in me, and your beautiful life flowing through me. Replenish what’s been stolen or lost. Fill me to overflowing with what comes from you. When I feel troubled and unable to do simple things, I choose to receive new strength. You are fully alive and renew my life. Thank you.
When abundant life seems impossible, and my thoughts take me down with reminders of all I lack, renew me with glimpses of your love in this life. Remind me of what I have because of you. Help me see there is more to enjoy than what I know now. You have more to give and more for me to embrace with you. Amen.
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2. Prayer for Compassion
They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Lord, thank you for being a God of compassion. When I feel hungry or beat down by the heat of this world, you offer refreshment. With you there is nourishment for dry and hurting places. May I see where you provide for me, because sometimes I don’t notice it. Sometimes I reject it. But Lord, I admit that I need your refilling often.
When I feel shaken, you are not. You never cease to offer love and compassion for those who are weary. When I can’t figure out what to do and it feels like everything I do is wrong, your arms remain open to receive me. I can’t understand your acceptance and love, but you offer it. Help me accept it.
Have compassion for my doubts, fears, actions, thoughts, and the wrestling that happens in me. Show me new ways, Lord. Help me see your care and kindness, especially when I feel empty and alone.
Lord, I need compassion from others. I need compassion for myself too. Help me notice and embrace compassion offered to me. Help me extend compassion to myself and others, especially when it’s hard to do. Amen.
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3. Prayer for Relief from Loneliness
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
In my struggles, Lord, I often feel alone. You say you are with me, but I can’t always feel it. Sometimes, I can be with people and still feel alone. Others don’t understand what I’m going through and it’s hard for them to know what to do. When this happens, I feel even more alone.
You created us because you love us and want to be with us. You designed us to need you and others. Help me receive your loving presence. Help me see when you are moving on my behalf, whether it’s through other people, through hard steps I’ve taken, through your created beauty in nature, or through some way I would never expect. I need reminders, and I need revelations of your presence with me.
Help me reach out to others when I need help, encouragement, and fun. Give me courage to ask for what I need and the courage to offer the same for others.
Heal my heart and mind in all the areas that keep me closed off, isolated, withdrawn, or defensive in relationships. I ask for your wisdom and spiritual discernment so I can see when you and your creation provide relief from loneliness. Amen.
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4. Prayer for Courage Amid Fear
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Lord, all around me and swirling within me there are things that are scary, hard, and painful. When I feel afraid and too small to do the hard things I need or want to do, give me courage.
Like you did with Peter, and so many others, show me where you are and where you want to take me. When you call me out of my places of self-protection, help me trust you fully.
Give me courage to focus on you and not the fear I feel. I am reminded that you will not sink. You will not fall. You love me even when I doubt and am afraid. You offer courage to move ahead anyway. I need to see you reaching out for me and know your solid foundation under me.
In the middle of my stormy fears, show me you are near, and you hear. Amen.
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5. Prayer for Courage to Take the Next Step
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
God, sometimes I tremble and shake from not knowing what to do. Sometimes, it seems as if I’m frozen in time. There are times when it feels as if I’ve tried everything. I’m at a loss for what may be next.
When I cannot see beyond what I see now, remind me that you see more. Give me vision for the things you have for me. Give me willingness to trying something new. If I need to try again something I’ve tried before, give me courage to do so. Help me to rely on you and trust that you will be with me even if I get it wrong.
When the next step feels tremendously big, or far too small, help me take it anyway. If I need assistance to take that step, show me where I can find it.
Sometimes I feel like I cannot move forward. Sometimes I try to take action on my own when I need to rest. Help me to discern what is your best in this moment. If I get it wrong, you will not leave me.
God, I need your guidance. Amen.
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6. Prayer for Healing
Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.
Lord, I am struggling. Sickness is not your design. Where my mind and body struggle to function the way they’re designed to do, I ask for healing. May you bring health to every cell. I don’t know if I’ll ever live fully well while on this earth, but I ask for wholeness in every way possible.
When my mind spirals and my thoughts are filled with negative things, nudge me towards you and what you have for me instead. Strengthen my mind.
Give me guidance to know where to turn for help when I need it. Give me strength to endure difficult processes that lead to greater freedom and healing in body and soul. I ask for your powerful healing touch in my body. Help me trust you whether healing comes the way I want it or not. Amen.
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7. Prayer of Responsiveness to God’s Voice
1 Samuel 3:8-9
A third time the Lord called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
Lord, you call to me often.
I’m not always able to hear you. Sometimes, I ignore you. Sometimes, I don’t know it’s you. Help me to hear your voice and be ready to listen whenever you call to me. Help me to remember that you see more than I do and desire to help me through whatever I’m going through or is ahead of me.
When I’ve grown expectant that you will do things my way, help me to respond to your way instead. Help me to recognize when the voices I listen to aren’t from you. May I hear your voice above all others and be willing to turn towards you. Amen.
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8. Prayer of Grace
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.
Lord, you give what we need as we need it. Your grace is not something we can make happen, and like the manna in the dessert, it’s available on time, for me, every single day.
Sometimes I forget to give grace to myself. I struggle to receive the grace you give me. You give me time and space to feel the hard things and rest when needed. Help me to recognize when I need to receive your grace.
In all the challenges I face, your grace never departs. May I know this more fully. Amen.
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