The power of prayer in addiction recovery
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
Struggling with a substance abuse addiction takes its toll not only physically and emotionally, but spiritually as well. That’s why Christian drug and alcohol treatment centers strongly believe in treating the person as a whole; mind, body and spirit. How does prayer work in recovery? The power of prayer in recovery builds hope and provides the motivation and strength to fight the good fight against addiction.
Finding or restoring a relationship with God during rehab provides a powerful Helper while on the journey to life-long recovery. Strengthening a relationship with God through group and personal Bible studies, and fellowship with others through prayer groups, provides an unexplainable sense of peace and boundless hope. In its essence, faith in recovery needs to be accompanied by actions.
“Jesus stopped and called them. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked. ‘Lord,’ they answered, ‘we want our sight.’ Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.” -Matthew 20:32-34
The healing power of prayer is a proven fact that scientific and medical research equally support. There are documented studies that prayer has healed many serious diseases much to the puzzlement of medical practitioners. The power of prayer is a mighty God-given gift that can heal addiction too.
No one is without weakness; no one. How we react to that weakness, however, makes all the difference in the world. Turning to drugs or alcohol is the easy way out and not the reaction God desires. God offers unlimited strength to those who turn to Him in prayer; releasing control and allowing Him to take charge of that weakness – that addiction – will extinguish its power and hold on an addict’s life.
There are many more benefits gained through genuine faith and prayer:
- You will never be alone in the battle
- Relief from fear and anxiety
- Balance of mind, body and spirit
- Experiencing pure joy which increases the effectiveness of treatment during rehab
- Inspiration to do the work necessary to achieve a new life free of addiction
- Greater mental focus
- Diminished stress levels
- Strength against addiction triggers
- Reduced rate of relapse
- An increase of dopamine levels in the brain generating the serenity once manufactured by drug use
- Absence of depression
- A 24/7 Helper to guide you to making the right choices while accepting what cannot be changed
How to Pray
“I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1-2
Think of prayer as a conversation between you and God. Talk to Him as if you were talking with a friend. Prayer does not have to be a script; filled with ‘thee’ and ‘thou.’ God wants to hear from you – personally.
A good guideline is to:
- Start with some praise, tell Him how you care for Him and trust in Him alone
- Thank Him for the blessings in your life; big and small
- Ask Him for healing from your addiction and share the desires of your heart with Him
- Ask for forgiveness
- Ask for strength and protection against the evil powers of addiction
The 12-Step Recovery and Prayer
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference” – Reinhold Niebuhr
A.A. and N.A. believe deeply in utilizing the power of prayer for recovery and healing. A countless number of addicts have achieved successful long-term recovery with the strength gained through praying to God.
Each of the twelve steps is complemented by a prayer which can be incorporated into personal prayer time. Reciting the Prayer of Serenity during A.A. meetings is customary and a good prayer to find strength on a daily basis during life-long recovery (what the Serenity Prayer means).
Believe in the Power of Prayer for Recovery
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” –John 10:10
Drugs and alcohol are not your friends. They are the enemy – the thief – that is intent on destroying lives and families. God promises unconditional love, protection from your enemies, a Helper to guide you and strength to carry you through. All you have to do is believe.
Photo credit: Leila Darwish