Life is often filled with stress – whether that comes from our family circumstances, financial struggles, unexpected loss, or other stressors, it is important to find ways to cope with stress. While there are many ways to do this, one way that might not always come to mind first is prayer.
Prayer is a form of communicating and conversing with God directly. He loves us as His children and wants to help us to find peace. Prayer not only strengthens our relationship with God but provides us with spiritual comfort that can alleviate our stress. Yet, we must first have faith that God is there and that He has the power to bless our lives and to work through the stress we feel. God has the power to bring miracles into our lives and spiritual power that can encourage us to keep moving forward.
We can have complete faith in Him and in His ability to help us, and we can show our faith by praying. Here are some ways that can increase your faith in prayer and decrease your stress.
1) Pray regularly.
Don’t wait to pray until things are at their worst. Use prayer on a regular basis. Whether that is in the morning and evenings or during your drive to work, or while you are out going for a walk each day. Set aside time to pray mindfully, so that you are not rushing through the prayer without thinking of the words you are saying. Make it a meaningful time for you to connect with God and to relax yourself. Take a moment before beginning to pray and take a few deep breaths to center yourself and concentrate your mind on what you are doing, being mindful that you are about to communicate with God and want to feel peaceful and focused as you do it.
2) Pray out loud.
Instead of just praying in your mind, try to make it a verbal conversation between you and God. Prayer does not have to solely be for the purpose of asking for the things that you want. You can talk to Him about your worries, your fears, your doubts, and anything that is weighing on your mind. Tell Him how you are feeling and what has been happening in your life. He cares about every detail of your life. Anything that is significant to you is significant to Him. Just the simple act of talking out our feelings and having faith that God is listening relieves stress in a very personal way.
3) Pray WITH others.
While individual time to pray is important, you do not always have to pray alone. There is real strength and calm that can be found in joining others in prayer. You can visit a friend or family member or trusted person in your life and talk to them and ask them to pray with you. You can pray with your spouse and your children. You can pray in your religious congregation with other members. Feeling additional support in prayer can help to decrease stress and allow you to recognize that you are not alone. God is with you and there are many people who support you amid the stress you are experiencing.
4) Pray FOR others.
Nothing helps to alleviate stress that preoccupies our minds than to remember others who are struggling. This can be done within a community or place of worship or done on your own. Taking time to branch outside of our normal prayers to ask for blessings for others who are going through a hard time is healing and can help us to put our own problems into perspective, knowing that we all will experience hardships and challenges at some point in our lives. Extending our sight past our own problems brings blessings not only to our lives, but to the lives of other people.