7 Favorite Prayers for Depression


Prayer has always been a foundation in my recovery from depression. I often read the The Psalms to reassure me that God is with me in my struggle. Here are seven other favorite prayers.

What are yours?

The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.

Prayer by Thomas Merton

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this
you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

The Third Step Prayer

God, I offer myself to Thee …
to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help
of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!

The Memorare

Remember O Most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help,
or sought your intercession
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my mother.
To you I come;
before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in your mercy, hear and answer me.

Prayer by John Henry Newman

Dear Jesus,
Help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me,
but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others;
the light, O Jesus will be all from You;
none of it will be mine;
it will be you, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You the way You love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching,
not by words but by my example,
by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.

St. Teresa of Avila’s “Bookmark”

Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing.
God alone is changeless
He who has patience wants for nothing
He who has God has all things.
God alone suffices.

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek?to be consoled as to console;?to be understood as to understand;?to be loved as to love.?For it is in giving that we receive;?it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;?and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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16 Responses
  1. I am Jo Ellen Layne, author of the novel, Dr. Darla, published by Koehler Books. It portrays a Christian psychiatrist who treats her patients using psychotherapy, psychotropic medications, and Christian principles. The psychiatrist and one of her patients suffer from depression. I worked as a social worker in a VA state-operated mental facility for 37 years. I am seeking your endorsement for Dr. Darla. If you would send me your e-mail address, I will forward you the novel for your review. Thank you for considering my request.

  2. Anne Lampe

    Thanks Teresa for your website and the prayers. I just came across your website a few weeks ago. I am supporting my 51 year old daughter as she deals with anxiety and depression. It has been especially difficult the last 2 months. Finally she’s on some meds that are working and those that were prescribed 8 weeks ago may be working, too. With all the drugs she’s on its hard to know what is and isn’t working. She also had Ketamine infusions, have you tried that?
    I have always like the Memorare prayer.
    God bless,

  3. Lois K.

    I believe your prayers are intended to help people. Please consider that not all of your readers are Christian and therefore do not believe in J.C. I feel uncomfortable and excluded with your assumption,

    1. Leslie

      Dear Lois,
      I totally get what you’re saying. I’m Buddhist but was raised Catholic. There are lots of good “Eastern Wisdom quotes” (for lack of a better term) as well as Christian prayers. I’m sure that every tradition (different religions, spiritual practices, agnosticism and atheism) has wise words that we may find meaningful to ponder or to recite like a mantra. For me, one of the challenges I face when I’m in the “darkest depths” is that I am unable to connect with the same words which mean so much to me when I’m back amongst the living. I try to meditate, pray, etc. but seem unable. Anyone else share this awful experience?

  4. Anne Marie Ortenzi

    Thank you Therese..I found your prayers very helpful.
    The Memorare has been a great comfort to me in times of trouble..

  5. Lisa Hillman

    Thank you for providing all of these prayers in one place.
    Very comforting to know I can reach out to find them.
    I’ve shared with my family for their ready “use” as well.
    Thank you Therese!

  6. PixilDot

    St. Francis of Assisi did not write the “Peace Prayer”, that was debunked decades ago. It is in a style he used, and he probably would have liked it, but he didn’t write it.

  7. Jeanie

    Thank you Therese for posting some of your favorite prayers………..I cry out to God in many ways…hoping he will release me from the deepest depression I have ever experienced.
    When he doesn’t I go back to the scriptures and realize he only promised that he would be with me through my trials not that he would release me. Sometimes I just don’t understand.

  8. Barry Holland

    Wow Three Of My Favorite Prayers Are On There And It Was Funny As I Was Reading The Third Step I Was Thinking How I Was Going To Tell You Of My Love Of St. Francis, His Life And His Prayer Then BAM I Seen It. I Love The Prayer Of St. Francis The Most For The Reason Of Wanting To Love Others And Understand People. An Employer Of Life’s Author Is My Hearts Desire, Living In His Instruction.

  9. Stephanie Clark

    This was written by Ted Loder, in his book, Guerrillas of Grace: I hope that it is a comfort to persons of any faith or of none:
    Gracious and Holy One, creator of all things and of emptiness, I come to you full of much that clutters and distracts, stifles and burdens me, and makes me a burden to others. Empty me now of gnawing dissatisfactions, of anxious imaginings, of fretful preoccupations, of nagging prejudices, of old scores to settle, and of the arrogance of being right. Empty me of the ways I unthinkingly think of myself as powerless, as a victim, as determined by sex, age, race, as being less than I am, or as other than yours. Empty me of the disguises and lies in which I hide myself from other people and from my responsibility for my neighbors and for the world. Hollow out in me a space in which I will find myself, find peace and a whole heart, a forgiving spirit and holiness, the springs of laughter, and the will to reach boldly for abundant life for myself and the whole human family.\

  10. rizky

    thanks Theresa for sharing this, it was really helpful & relieving when i try to pray and set aside
    however i have read some article that they still cant figure it out what is this kind of illness just like hiccup..

    here is some of the article, what do you think? http://bit.ly/2oNWnAs

    we just want to calm down and feel safe, to be supported and accepted, maybe if you have any advice you could share it more like this one..

    thank you so much Theresa, have a good day