Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses, affecting many people in different ways.
Christians who suffer with anxiety may do so even though they have faith in the Lord – anxiety is not something someone can simply pray about in the hope that it vanishes the next day.
So how can we help those who suffer from anxiety?
Anxiety in the Bible[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” size=”18″]Those who are suffering need to continually turn to God for help.[/perfectpullquote]
Feelings of pressure and anxiety are acknowledged in the Bible, as Paul shared his feelings with the Corinthians, saying: ‘Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me for concern for all churches.’ (2 Cor. 11:28) Paul also encouraged those he preached to that they should share each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2) by listening and remembering that if one suffers then others too should share in this. (1 Cor. 12:26)
This includes caring for other Christians who are suffering from anxiety, through talking with them, listening to them, having an understanding heart, and sharing scriptures.
Following the Lord’s Example
‘The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ (Psalm 34:18)
In the Bible, Jesus did not judge or look down on any person, but treated each one with care and respect. He gave whatever help was needed, like when he healed the woman suffering from illness in Luke 8:43-48. As Christians, we should observe and replicate Jesus’ actions and show compassion, care and comfort towards anyone suffering from anxiety.
Simple things – such as letting someone know that they are not alone through offering to help with practical things like household chores – can mean a lot, as does keeping in touch with someone if you’re too far away to visit.
Healing through Prayer
The Lord is always near and he hears our prayers, so if you aren’t comfortable talking about things, another way in which you can express your care for those with mental illness, without them even knowing, is through prayer. ‘Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.’ (James 5:16 NIV)
[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”Psalm 34:18″ size=”16″]‘The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’[/perfectpullquote]
Finally, we can encourage those who are anxious with verses from the Bible. For example, 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to ‘Cast all your anxieties on him for he cares for you.’
Those who are suffering need to continually turn to God for help. He listens. He answers. The answer might not come immediately, but God does not forsake those who seek him. (Psalm 9:10)