In this day and age, stress is something we’re used to in our lives. There’s a popular joke on the internet of a photo showing a huge wave crashing over someone with the caption “This is me trying to excel in my career, maintain a social life, drink enough water, exercise, text everyone back, stay sane, and still be happy.”. While we laugh whenever the photo comes up on our Facebook feed, we can’t help but relate to it. We are used to having to juggle what feels like 10 things in any given day, so much so that at the end of the day it can be hard to unwind enough to fall asleep. When we finally close our eyes, it isn’t peaceful dreamland we escape to right away; it’s usually a rework of what happened that day and preparing a mental list of what needs to get done tomorrow, all with a furrowed brow and tightness in our chest that we are just simply used to by now.
Studies show that 77% of the United States population experience physical stress related symptoms on a regular basis. Additionally, 73% report experiencing stress related psychological symptoms including anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, these aren’t even completely accurate numbers because many people never seek help for their stress issues, considering them to be “normal” side effects of a fast-paced life.
Living under high stress takes a toll on your body, and it’s important for you to understand exactly how. Many health experts believe approximately 80% of the population suffer from some level of adrenal insufficiency, but hardly ever are diagnosed with any problems. The adrenals are two little glands that sit on the top of your kidneys and their primary function is to produce and regulate the stress hormone cortisol. Chronic stress can suppress your adrenal glands and cause them to release insufficient amounts of these necessary hormones. If you’re not taking the time to nurture your body physically, mentally, and spiritually, you’re most likely putting strain on your adrenal glands which leads to symptoms that can affect your everyday life.
Benefits of Prayer
We’re going to explore the benefits of using prayer as a way to avoid adrenal fatigue and the host of symptoms that impact our bodies as a result.
Any relationship needs one important factor in order to thrive: communication. For a Christian, our communication with God happens through prayer. It’s when we’re vulnerable with God, letting him hear our fears and anxieties, that we can start to change our mindset. In fact, good Christian health depends on this key element of the relationship. Here are two effective ways to pray about the stress in your life:
Pray with confidence
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16
We can approach God with confidence, asking for His help in our time of need while already knowing that He’s going to give it to us. Stress can be overwhelming, but when you feel like your life is falling apart know that you serve a God who has done far greater things! God is faithful, He has promised to give us grace in our time of need. We simply just have to ask for it.
“Be still and know that I am God” – Psalm 46:10
By stepping back from our situation, we can stop focusing on what is going on and align our hearts & minds with scripture. Take a moment to sit down wherever you are, close your eyes, feel your muscles relax, your joints loosen, and your heart calm. Breathe in. Breathe out. Focus on the stillness and pray that God would flood your mind with His love and peace.
Claim scripture over your life.
In Romans chapter 8, verse 28, we see that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” – this verse should give us hope for a better tomorrow even in the midst of a pretty stressful today. When you’re praying, claim this scripture over your life by changing the words: “God, I know that You will cause everything to work together for good because You have promised it, and I’m called according to Your purpose for me.”
Philippians 4:6-7 “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.”
Take comfort through scripture, combat the stress-induced symptoms by using God’s Word as your shield. Researchers have found irrefutable proof that having a prayer life greatly improves the everyday life of the average person.
Dr. Harold G. Koenig, author of The Healing Power of Faith, has said that people who pray and go to church have better health.
“In general, they cope with stress better, they experience greater well-being because they have more hope, they’re more optimistic, they experience less depression, less anxiety, and they commit suicide less often,” he said.
Baylor College of Medicine neuroscientist Ramiro Salas studied the possibility of prayer as a treatment for depression and found that after six weeks there were compelling neurological changes that took place in the test subject’s prefrontal area of the brain.
Using prayer to reduce your stress is definitely less tangible than exercising more or changing your diet, but it doesn’t mean it’s any less effective. If stress prompts a fight or flight response from our minds & bodies, then use that as momentum to draw closer to Jesus. The more you feel connected to God, the less solitary you’ll feel during stressful situations, which will leave you with an invaluable peace. That invaluable peace will help you cope with your stressors and ultimately ground you with a deeper sense of fulfillment.