The Power of Prayer
"Ask and ye shall receive. Seek and ye shall find.
Knock and the door shall be opened. For everyone who
asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who
knocks, it shall be opened."
Read: My Story of Recovery: Prayer, Community, and Healing - by Douglas Bloch
As far as I know, there are no scientific studies that document the efficacy of prayer in the healing of depression or other forms of mental illness. There do exist, however, documented cases about the success of prayer in physical healing, as shown in Larry Dossey's book, Healing Words.
If prayer can alter physical matter, and the brain is made of material substance, then it seems reasonable that prayer can impact the brain chemistry that creates depression. (I have my own experience to testify to this truth.) Thus, I would encourage anyone with depressive illnesses to combine prayer with the traditional treatment modalities. There are two approaches you can take: 1) pray for your own healing and 2) ask others to pray for you.
The success of prayer does not depend on one's religious persuasion. (As AA puts it, "there are no atheists in foxholes.") If the word "prayer" seems too religious, think of the process as asking people to send you positive thoughts of love and support.
As I learned in my own healing, group energy seems to increase prayer's potency and effectiveness. If you can't get your support people to meet as a single group, you can still ask those in different locations to pray for you (preferably at a specific time of day). In addition, you may place your name on one of the following prayer lists where it will be prayed over for thirty days or more.
1901 NW Blue Parkway
Unity Village, MO 64065
(816) 251-3554 fax
The granddaddy of prayer ministries was founded in 1890 by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore as the "Society of Silent Help." Today, lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When you call, you will speak to a live person who will respond to your request with an affirmative prayer treatment.
Run by the Church of Religious Science, this live 24-hour prayer line functions like that of Silent Unity. When you call, a person will pray with you over your request.
Inspiration for Better Living
24 Hour Ear-to-Ear Prayer Ministry
11901 S. Ashland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60643
Another fine 24-hour prayer line. Someone will speak to you in person and send you a prayer response, including an affirmation.
Christ Church Unity Prayer Ministry
3770 Altadena Avenue
San Diego, CA 92195
Run by the Christ Church Unity in San Diego, this 24-hour telephone prayer line was designed to serve the congregants of the church, but receives requests from the entire Southern California area, as well as the rest of the country.
There is a type of prayer that I was taught in my spiritual studies called " affirmative prayer" or "positive prayer." In this type of prayer, one connects with one's Higher Power, creates an inner picture of wellness, and then affirms its reality, as if it were already happening.
This five-step affirmative prayer is based on a process developed by Ernest Holmes, the founder of a school of philosophy known as Religious Science.
Step One: Recognition (God is)
I recognize the existence of a Power and a Presence greater than myself. This creative intelligence is known by many names: "God", "Higher Power", "Spirit", "Light", "Cosmic Consciousness", "Christ Consciousness", "The Divine", "The Is", " The Universe", "The Force", "I Am", "Higher Self".
Step Two: Unification (I am in God, God is in me)
I surrender myself to this Presence and merge my will with God's will.
Step Three: Realization (Making it real)
I invoke the power of the word for my situation by stating carefully chosen words of truth. I make a statement of this truth, as if it has already happened-e.g., I may say, "I am in perfect health. Every cell in my body is bathed in the Light and Love of God. I am whole and well."
Step Four: Acceptance and Thanksgiving (I have faith that my word has power)
I accept that my words are acted upon by the law of the Divine mind. I forgive myself and all others for thoughts conscious and unconscious, that would interfere with the acceptance of my greater good. I feel a sense of peace, and my heart is filled with gratitude.
Step Five. Release (I let go and let God)
I release this affirmative prayer into the action of the law of creation. I let go, and ask my Higher Power to do its perfect work. I realize that clinging or worrying about the outcome may hold back the healing process. And so I turn the ultimate outcome over to my Higher Power, knowing that it will bring the perfect outcome, for my highest good and the highest good of all concerned.
Affirmative prayer is just one of many forms of prayer-there is no right way to pray. The sincerity of your request and your intention to heal is more important than the outer structure you use. If you bring a pure heart to your inner altar and remain open to the presence of grace, who knows what miracles may occur?
Whatever your spiritual path, worshipping with others in spiritual community is a powerful way to deepen your faith and your prayer. All spiritual traditions have emphasized joining with others as a way to gain assistance in strengthening one's spiritual life. One of the Buddha's main teachings was to "seek the sangha"-i.e., a community of like-minded believers. Similarly, one of the greatest spiritual movements of the 20th century-Alcoholics Anonymous-has made community fellowship the foundation of its healing work. Thus, see if you can find a way to join with like minded spirits in your prayer and spiritual practice. It will make a difference.
Prayer For Going Through A Dark Night of the Soul
This is a combination prayer and affirmation that I composed and read during my repressive episode. I hope that it may be a support to you as well.
- I accept the fact that I am going through a dark night of the soul. I am dying to the me that I have known.
- I embrace my pain fully and accept my present condition. I understand that on some level my soul needs this experience.
- Although I feel alone, I know God is with me.
- I realize that this experience has a purpose and teaching, and I ask spirit to reveal it to me.
- Although I am in pain, I know that my travail will end, and that love, inspiration and direction will reenter my life.
- I ask the universe to give me strength, courage and guidance to see my way to my rebirth.
- I give thanks for my situation just the way it is.
A Prayer Answered
Here is a beautiful poem, sent to me by a visitor to my site, that beautifully describes God's loving response to a prayer for healing.
The darkness engulfed my soul;
My screams of pain deafened me,
Falling further away from reality.
Quieting the din of the storm;
You reached for me gently,
Within Your warmth I began to see.
Your love broke through;
And You patiently awaited,
Until at last the darkness faded.
To my Lord that came for me;
Deep within the darkness,
To suffer not eternally.
More Promises of Deliverance
May these words bring hope and encouragement to those who read them.
Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed,
and the mountains be carried to the midst of the sea."
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
"Though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I will fear no evil;
for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
"The will of God will never take you
where the grace of God will not protect you.
Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle."
"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that
there was within me an invincible summer."
"The Lord is near to them that are brokenhearted,
and He saves those that are humble in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all."
"I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them,
and will make them rejoice from their sorrow."
"Remember, no human condition is ever permanent; then you will not be
overjoyed in good fortune nor too sorrowful in misfortune."
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy
to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us."
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling,
but in rising every time we fall."
"Though he fall he shall not be utterly cast down,
for the Lord upholds him with His hand."
"Although the world is full of suffering,
it is also full of the overcoming of it."
"Enlightenment begins on the other side of despair."
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their faith:
they shall mount up with wings as eagles.
They shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint."
"Sometimes I get discouraged and feel my work’s in vain;
But then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The Light of God surrounds me.
The Love of God enfolds me.
The Power of God protects me.
The Presence of God watches over me.
Wherever I am, God is."
The Prayer of Protection
"Let nothing disturb thee, nothing affright thee.
All things are passing, God never changes.
Patient endurance attaineth to all things.
Who God possesses, in nothing is wanting.
Alone God suffices."
St. Theresa of Avila