I am a Christian who suffers from mental health problems and chronic pain. At times I’ve found myself feelings lost and questioning both the strength of my faith and my own worthiness. It was something I felt alone with, but it turned out many others have felt downhearted themselves too and turned to me with words of warmth and encouragement.
I know not everyone believes in God or prayer but for those of us who do, prayer is such a beautiful blessing. It has helped me to keep going – faith that there is someone to help me, someone with love and grace bigger than I can even fathom to cherish me despite my downfalls. Faith can encourage us through the darkest of times and through terrible trials, it may even offer strength to keep going in the midst of suicidal ideation.
Personally, I have found that heartfelt prayer has been a comfort for me in my mental health recovery and life in general for the following reasons:
It reminds me that I’m never alone.
Prayer helps me draw closer to my heavenly Father, and gives me a sense of warmth and family. I have never had a big loving family, knowing that God loves me and listens to me talk to him gives me comfort and helps when I am lonely. With God, I am never alone.
He listens to my pain and reads my heart.
Pouring my heart out in prayer to my dear Father in heaven helps me to feel heard. Even when I can’t talk out aloud to another human, the pain can flow from my heart in prayer – he takes my burdens and lightens the load I am carrying.
Finding inner peace.
Asking God for the peace that only he can provide is a constant in my prayers. And it does help, I’ve felt that peace many times in my darkest moments.
It reminds me to think of others.
Jesus instructed us to pray for others, doing this helps me to remember that no matter how bad I am feeling there are others who are suffering too and need my thoughts and love. This helps me to not become self-focused even in the hardest of times. It also helps me to be forgiving if others have hurt my feelings with insensitivity.
Helps me to maintain a grateful heart.
Imagine if we woke tomorrow with only the things we thanked God for today? It can be so hard to be thankful when we are deeply depressed or in a great deal of pain, but prayer reminds me to find the things I’m grateful for and thank God for them each day.
It is true that prayer alone may not cure mental or physical illnesses. God helps those who help themselves – seeking medical advice and treatment is often needed to assist our healing.
Prayer is a gift that needs to be used not only when facing trials or hardships but when times are good. It allows us to express our deepest heartfelt feelings and know that they are being heard and understood. Prayer will not remove the trial or hardship but it will allow for us to have the strength to continue.