At Faith in Recovery, we understand that reading scripture and prayer can help people recovering from substance abuse heal from the inside out. A person’s spiritual state should never be neglected in sobriety.
A.W. Tozer famously said, “What comes to your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you.” If you see God as slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness (Exodus 34:6), then you’re more likely to find comfort in prayer for addiction recovery.
While many people underestimate the effects of prayer in our lives, praying can come with several added benefits for someone recovering from a substance use problem. At our Christian drug rehabilitation center, we look at the power of scripture and Christian prayer in recovery to help you through the good times and the bad.
Recovery from addiction can be a trying time. There may be days when you feel like giving up and caving into your cravings, but one of the benefits of praying in addiction recovery is that it can give you hope. When you are feeling weak or struggling, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Praying can also remind you that you are never alone in your recovery journey and give you hope for a better future.
Drugs and alcohol can have a major impact on a person’s mental health. Fortunately, prayer also addresses these issues. Some research suggests that regularly praying can lead to mental health benefits. In some cases, prayer has been found to reduce anger, feelings of aggression, anxiety, and depression. 1,2 Prayer can offer some relief for someone in early recovery who may be experiencing these emotions frequently as they adjust to a new lifestyle.
Another advantage of prayer for addiction recovery is its promotion of daily self-reflection. We see this often in clients who recently completed one of our faith-based addiction recovery programs and are new to recovery. These individuals are often still trying to figure out how to navigate their sobriety.
Life can be overwhelming, drug triggers can be everywhere, and there are both good and bad days. However, prayer in recovery allows people to properly manage these distractions and get through difficult moments. As it says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” This moment of pause can help individuals in recovery better recognize their emotions and responses to distractions, as well as learn how to react better in the future.
Many people in recovery benefit from having a set routine in place. In fact, this is something we recommend to all patients in our Christian-based recovery programs. A schedule keeps them going when they may otherwise get complacent with their sobriety. It also leaves less room for boredom.
One of the many benefits of praying every day in recovery is that it helps keep a routine. Whether you pray when you first wake up or right before bed, these few minutes of prayer can help you get back into your routine when you may have otherwise started to stay away from the healthy routine you originally created.
There may also be some physical health benefits of prayer for sobriety. Research has found correlations between positive religious coping, like praying, among hospitalized patients with improvements in physical health.3 For people in recovery whose bodies are still healing from the damaging effects of drugs and alcohol, praying may help them remain patient, hopeful, and consistent through this process.
One of the most important benefits of prayer for addiction recovery is its association with better self-control.4 Studies have found that people assigned to pray on a daily basis were found to have better self-control over their drinking habits and drink considerably less than the control group.5 This increased sense of self-control can further reduce the risk of relapse.
While most substance abuse treatment programs address the physical damage of drug or alcohol abuse, the person’s spiritual state may be put on the back burner. At our residential Christian-based rehab, we believe that prayer is an important part of the recovery journey.
Below are some prayers and Bible verses for addiction recovery that may offer you or a loved one some much-needed support.
The Serenity Prayer is as follows: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This prayer focuses on releasing your need for control and leaving things in God’s hands. It emphasizes the importance of humility, courage, and wisdom, which are great things to keep in mind during recovery.
What better prayer to use than a bible verse? In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul wrote, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” This prayer is often linked to addiction recovery because it reminds us that regardless of the temptation we succumb to, God will always provide us with a way out. However, you must decide to recover and stay sober.
Another well-known Bible verse that can be used as a recovery prayer is 1 Corinthians 6:12, which reads, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say--but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ -- but I will not be mastered by anything.” Simply put, this prayer emphasizes that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. You may have access to drugs and alcohol, but that doesn’t mean substance abuse is beneficial. The verse also warns against allowing something to take hold of you, as addiction does to so many.
“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me, and I will be saved, for You are the one I praise.” This verse can be very helpful for individuals in recovery who are looking for the strength to continue working to get clean. It can be seen as a prayer for addicts. It also complements the 12 steps of recovery.
“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” Anything having to do with addiction can be terrifying, especially if an overdose has occurred. It can also be a scary time for parents, spouses, and siblings who have witnessed a loved one struggle with drug or alcohol abuse. This verse can offer comfort to both.