Do you need a prayer for anxiety?
Maybe you’re here wondering: how do I give my anxiety to God?
I remember asking that question often. Never out loud, but the question swirled around in my head for days, weeks, and months on end. If you’ve ever dealt with anxiety, you can probably relate.
You want to get rid of it.
You hate feeling trapped in it.
But you can’t seem to find a way out of it. Can you relate?
In this article, I’m sharing what I’ve learned about using prayer to overcome anxiety. Even as a Christian, I’ve been there. I’ve dealt with anxiety, but I’ve also found freedom from it. That’s something I want you and I to have in common.
There is no shame in receiving help from doctors or counselors. There’s definitely a time and place for that form of help. But what I don’t want you to miss is this simple fact – If you’re dealing with anxiety and your “battle plan” doesn’t include your relationship with God, your plan is incomplete. God needs to be a part of this!
One simple way to make sure we’re not dealing with anxiety in our own strength is to make sure we’re praying with God about it.
I will be answering questions such as:
- How does praying calm anxiety?
- What does God say about anxiety?
- What is the 3-3-3 rule for anxiety?
- What are some go-to prayers for anxiety?
We’ll cover all that and more in the remainder of this article.
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How Do I Give My Anxiety to God?
There are some people that God miraculously touches and from that point on anxiety isn’t a part of their life.
That’s not my story, but I know it happens. My story is one of persistence; a trait most spiritual victories requires. And it involved a lot of prayers.
Does praying calm anxiety?
More important than just calming anxiety, prayer also can increase our confidence in God, especially when we’re praying in agreement with the Bible and not just praying on a whim.
When we pray in agreement with the Bible our minds are drawn back to 3 foundational truths:
- Who God is.
- Who we are in Christ.
- The hope we have because of God’s love and the gospel.
When we focus our prayer and thoughts on these things – anxiety has no choice but to melt away.
We’ll talk more about how to put this principle to use outside of prayer in just a moment. Before we dig into that let’s dig into the Bible to learn what God has to say about anxiety and the perspective we should have when working through it.
What Does God Say About Anxiety?
God never intended for you to know anxiety. It was never supposed to be a part of our lives. When sin entered the world, anxiety came with it.
One of the trademarks of anxiety is that it disrupts our peace of mind and confidence in Christ. It propels us into worry overwhelm and takes our mind off of everything that Jesus gave His life to assure us of.
Anxiety says life is too heavy for you. God says “my grace is sufficient enough for you” (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
Anxiety says, you can’t escape this confusion. God says, “I haven’t given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Anxiety says you won’t find the answer. God says, ask me for wisdom and I’ll give it to you. (see James 1:5)
Anxiety says you’ll never find peace. God says His peace “…which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds…” (see Philippians 4:4-7).
Anxiety says you’re defeated. God says, “…take heart. I have overcome the world” (see John 16:33).
For every doubt that the devil tries to plant in our mind, God has a clap back.
He knew every lie that would proceed out of the devil and his cohorts and He made sure we would have truth to stand on while we fight back.
Now that you know what God says about anxiety, let’s look at some practical (and biblical) steps we can take to answer the question, How can I calm my anxiety down fast?
Believe it or not, God equips us for battles like these. We’re going to put a twist on one of the world’s most popular strategies for overcoming anxiety. It’s called the 3-3-3 rule.
What Is the 3-3-3 Rule for Anxiety?
Which exercise is best for anxiety and working through it? One strategy that gets a lot of attention is the 3-3-3 rule for anxiety.
What’s the 333 rule for anxiety? It works like this. Any time your brain starts to race or you begin to feel anxiety creeping up on you, follow these three steps:
- Look around and name three things you see.
- Name three sounds you hear.
- Move three parts of your body.
The idea is that these three actions will bring you back to the present moment instead of allowing anxiety to drag us into moments and scenarios that presently, don’t exist.
Here’s the thing though. Sometimes being in the moment isn’t enough. In fact, most times it’s not.
Our days are fleeting. If our confidence is in a moment our confidence will fail us every time. Our confidence needs to be in something stronger.
What better place for our confidence to be than in the hands of the God who created you?
So we’re going to put a little twist on this 3-3-3 rule so that instead of drawing our attention to a fleeting moment, we set our attention on the everlasting God; in agreement with Colossians 3:1,
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
So here’s the 3-3-3 rule with A Prayer for Anxiety twist:
- Instead of focusing on what’s around you, Take a breath and name three character traits of God.
- Instead of opening your ears to every sound or voice, Close your eyes, and say a breath prayer, a short prayer for anxiety.
- In place of simply moving three body parts, use these movements to position yourself for worship. Lift your head, lift your hands, lift your voice.
Why this approach? This is what we see modeled in the Bible time and time again by god-fearing people; even Jesus Himself. When faced with anxiety they turned their attention to God, stood on His sovereignty, cried out to Him in prayer, and resolved to worship Him through it all.
Not buying it? Try reading just a couple of chapters of the Psalms. You’ll notice a pattern. David, a man after God’s own heart dealt with anxiety. He expressed it often. But He never left it at expression. He always transitioned to freedom.
It took effort.
It took being intentional.
It took God; being the anchor of His hope and the foundation of His faith.
To maintain his freedom, He stayed in that three-step rhythm.
We can find peace and freedom by doing the same.
And listen, if trusting God is hard for, know this – you’re not alone. A lot of people struggle in this area. But you CAN build unshakeable faith even in a storm-tossed world. This Trusting & Waiting Bible Study can help you learn how.
Praying Against Anxiety: Breath Prayers
I mentioned breath prayers – breath prayers are short prayers that help us meditate on God and the truth of His promises. My favorite breath prayers are ones that are drawn from the Bible.
The fact that a breath prayer is short and memorable makes it a good go-to prayer for anxiety attacks. Here are a couple of different examples of a short prayer for anxiety. The first part of the prayer you say on the inhale, the second you pray on the exhale.
Be still… and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
For God has not given you a spirit of fear… But of power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Your rod and Your staff… they comfort me. (see Psalm 23:4)
Be strong in the Lord… and in the strength of His might. (see Ephesians 6:10).
See how that works?
Of course, that’s not the only type of prayer for anxiety you can pray. Sometimes when you don’t have the words to pray it helps to find companionship and courage through the prayers of someone who has faced the same struggle. For example, Psalm 91 is a passage many people use as a prayer for anxiety and depression. These words are prayed by David.
Philippians 4:6-8 is another great passage to use as a prayer for anxiety. It is part of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Philippi.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 4:8 is used as a prayer for anxiety and sleep.
“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Isaiah 54:13 (along with Philippians 4:6-8) is a verse I’ve used to pray for anxiety in a child.
All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
And great shall be the peace of your children.
Though I’m not Catholic, I love this portion of a catholic prayer for anxiety. It’s a perfect prayer for anxiety at work, at home, or in conflicts and relationships. It reminds me to view people as God sees them and life through a lens of eternity.
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
there is hatred, let me bring love. When there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned…”
Prayer is the most effective way to give our anxiety to God. It is the first step towards acting on what we know versus acting on what we feel. Abiding in truth vs. abiding in emotions. For more tips on overcoming anxiety read this article.
Other Prayers for Anxiety
We have included a few short prayers that you can easily pray for the peace of mind whenever you are in the spirit of fear.
Whether you suffer from an anxiety disorder or feel generally anxious from time to time, we want to provide help with the best way to feel God’s perfect peace: prayer. We tried to make these simple prayers because we know that when we have anxiety, simple is better.
Dear God, I ask you to help me feel the Holy Spirit anytime I have anxious thoughts. Have the Holy Spirit be greater than my fear. In the name of Christ Jesus, Amen.
Dear Heavenly Father, please preserve my mental health and quiet my anxious heart so that I can continue to share your everlasting love with all, Amen.
Dear Father, help me to stop working in my own power and allow me to find my clarity of mind through you alone, Amen.
God, I know that all great things come from you. Anxiety doesn’t. Help me to let go of the things of this world and to share the light of God through my anxiety and your healing power, Amen.
Almighty God, relieve my panic attacks in the name of Jesus. I want to see the mighty hand of God move so that it can be a testimony for all, Amen!
Father God, I know that the power of prayer can help my troubled heart. When I am in the darkest valley, let me use my testimony to show your light. Amen.
I love God. I trust God. I fear no evil.
Dear Lord Jesus, you are the best thing, even in hard times. Amen.