How Does Prayer Help Lower Anxiety?

People in the Abide community regularly send us powerful stories about changes in their lives from prayer. One of the most frequent ones we hear is that prayer brings a renewed peace. It has lowered daily stress, relieved panic attacks, and helped heal chronic anxiety.

I recently saw this message from Sarah:

“In times of great anxiety and uncertainty, I find peace, hope, perseverance and healing through your prayers.”

I decided to look deeper into the data- analyzing surveys, research, and millions of prayer sessions on the Abide app. I wanted to see what signs we have that prayer lowers anxiety. Some findings are striking:

  • Anxiety is the #1 search term on the Abide app.
  • Abide's topic on anxiety and worry is streamed 3 times more than any other topic.
  • In a blind study with hundreds of people praying guided prayers, 4 of the top descriptions they used were calming, comforting, soothing, and peaceful.

As many of our Abide members face anxiety, here is Biblical evidence on how prayer and scripture can help.

4 Ways Prayer Can Help Reduce Anxiety

1. Prayer helps us trust God.

We may know that God is faithful yet still be weighed down by our concerns. A lot of us are like Kimberly, one beloved Abide prayer warrior. She committed her life to Christ years ago, and she becomes swamped and stressed by things like caring for her aging mother.

We asked her to try focusing with a guided prayer for 5 minutes each day for one week. She did a simple practice of naming her fears before God and releasing control of them to Christ and found the exercises so impactful. She's now regularly naming and releasing her worries to Jesus whenever she feels overwhelmed.

2. Prayer can focus us on things that matter.

Praying doesn’t mean that everything will go our way. Everything will go God’s way, and that should be extremely comforting.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33 to “seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be given to you too.”

For Kimberly, praying and reflecting on the attributes of God was very freeing. Knowing and reflecting God’s character through His Spirit gives us confidence to live boldly and in peace.

3. In prayer, we realize that God cares for every part of our lives.

When Kimberly first tried to name her worries to God, she got tripped up because she didn't think that God cared about the details of her life.

Kimberly told us

“At first I thought, what I’m saying to God is stupid, but then I realized it wasn’t. I thought that the small things I worry about are too small for God, but they weren’t.”

1 Peter 5:7 tells us, “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you.”

It doesn’t tell us to cast just the really important things on God and keep the rest to yourself. We’re told to give every part of who we are- the good, the bad and the stressed.

4. God’s Spirit gives us peace.

There is a beautiful, mysterious and awesome peace in God’s presence.

"Peace I leave with you," Jesus says in John 14:27. "Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.'

If that’s true, why would we let our hearts be troubled and afraid?

If you would like a moment of peace, practice casting your cares on Jesus with the below prayer.