When anxiety hits me, few things can reach my heart like prayer. That seems to be the case for two reasons:
- It’s a moment when I get to remind myself of what is eternal because part of anxiety, for me at least, is struggling to grasp a sound mind and being rational.
- The other part is not being able to grasp what is rational even though I may know it in my head because anxiety can be very physical. Breaking through this is only possible when I invite the Lord in.
So getting to pray Scripture as opposed to just reading some affirmations means I’m not only filling my mind with some happy truths but I’m inviting God to do what only He can supernaturally do.
I thought I’d share some of the verses I turn to besides the few we’ve all heard a million times. You know the ones, Philippians 4:6-7, Isaiah 26:3 and 1 Peter 5:6-7. Those are solid verses of course but if you’ve struggled with anxiety and recited them hundreds of times, here are some new ways to pray through your anxiety.
1. PSALM 3:3-4 – But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.
- As I pray this verse, I ask God to put a shield about my mind. Protect me from lies I’m believing and remind me of His truth.
2. PSALM 9:1 – I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
- When I am anxious, taking a moment to remember God’s goodness always reminds me that I am praying to a God who loves me and has walked with me through this before.
3. PSALM 27:7-8 – Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
- This is me committing to seek God instead of keeping my eyes on the molehills I turn into mountains. When I pray this, it encourages me to make this true in my own life if I’ve been keeping my eyes on the things that are actually making me more anxious.
4. PSALM 4:6-7 – There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
- Yikes! How many times do I look around and can’t find the good in my life? When I’m anxious it’s so easy to just see the hard. This verse challenges me to see the good.
5. PSALM 23:1-4 – The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lied down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads. me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
- Part of my anxiety shows up in the form of heart racing. I take some deep breaths to try to help and this verse always helps to slow me down as I imagine the Lord leading me beside still waters.
6. PSALM 20:7 – Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
- To pray this verse, I simply ask God if I am trusting in “chariots” or “horses” instead of Him. It’s easy to feel shaken when something happens in my health or work or with my girls if my trust is in me having it all under control.
7. PSALM 139:23-24 – Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
- Sometimes, I don’t even know why I’m anxious so I invite the Lord to make me aware of what’s making me feel such fear.
8. ROMANS 8:6 – For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
- I mentioned in the beginning, part of anxiety fo me is keeping my mind on temporary things. This verse reminds me that there really isn’t hope of NOT being anxious when my mind is on the flesh.
9. COLOSSIANS 2:6-7 – Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
- I remind myself that Christ lives in me!! I need only walk in Him.
10. ECCLESIASTES 4:6 – Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
- Sometimes the root of my anxiety is a frantic pace. This verse reminds me that God isn’t asking me to move at warp speed and He gives me permission to slow down.
11. PSALM 63:1-5 – O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I ivel in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.
- This is my desperate cry to the Lord. Literally a “Lord, I need you so much! Please rescue me!” And then just like the Psalm moves into stating what’s true, even when it’s hard to see, I move into a heart of worship that is hard to move into on my own when I’m anxious.
12. PSALM 16:11 – You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
- Part of anxiety can easily be depression. After all, if you live with anxiety, it can “darken” so many things when you live expecting life to be filled with more anxiety. This verse reminds me that drawing near to God is where I find joy even when my circumstances don’t get better. I have experienced more times than I can say: seasons of anxiety over a very real problem and then peace before anything is solved only when I devote my time and energy to seeking Him instead of seeking a distraction on my screen.
13. ZEPHANIAH 3:17 – The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
- Again, to be reminded of God’s presence, that He is literally seeing you through the moment you are in is so powerful. I know that He’s not locked behind some prison door wanting to help but unable. He has a purpose for what I’m going through and longs to comfort me through it.
14. PROVERBS 18:10 – The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
- The strong symbolism of a safe tower fills me with comfort and reminds me to keep running to Him!
Lastly, Ephesians 6. Part of anxiety and fear is a feeling of weakness. This passage reminds me I don’t go at it alone and the Lord is with me and strengthening me.
15. EPHESIANS 6:10-18 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
Do you have any particular verses that you turn to when you are feeling anxious? Leave a comment below! It may be the very passage someone else needs to hear today!