Prayer: A Helpful Aid in Recovery from Depression

Psychological Exploration


Depression is a growing issue within the field of medicine. It negatively impacts individuals’ lives and the people they are most connected to. For decades, medical professionals have been searching for solutions to assist those who are suffering from this illness. The use of drugs has not been a sufficient means of treatment to alleviate depression and its symptoms. There is a dire need to expand therapeutic interventions that can attribute meaningful recovery for victims of depression. One means of positive treatment is the use of prayer. Prayer, one of the most ancient forms of meditation, aligns and relaxes the mental state of the mind. The uses of drugs are limited by physiological focus, but prayer is a mechanism that brings human beings into a unique state of oneness. Oneness comprises the holistic nature of a human being and asserts the triad of well-being: mind, body, and spirit. As the emergence of humanities and holism continues in medicine, centering/meditative prayer and similar practices like mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can be useful therapeutic interventions specifically for major depressed patients.


Prayer Depression Prayer and depression Mindfulness MBCT Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy Buddhism and prayer Meditation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


  1. Altshuler, L. L., Hendrich, V., & Cohen, L. S. (1998). Course of mood and anxiety disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 59, 29.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Boelens, P. A., Reeves, R. R., Replogle, W. H., & Koenig, H. G. (2009). A randomized trial of the effect of prayer on depression and anxiety. The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 39(4), 377–392.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Boelens, P. A., Reeves, R. R., Replogle, W. H., & Koenig, H. G. (2012). The effect of prayer on depression and anxiety: Maintenance of positive influence one year after prayer intervention. The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 43(1), 85–98.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Cassano, P., & Fava, M. (2002). Depression and public health: An overview. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 53, 849–857.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Chiesa, A., Mandelli, L., & Serretti, A. (2012). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy versus psycho-education for patients with major depression who did not achieve remission following antidepressant treatment: A preliminary analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 18(8), 756–760.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Conway, K. P., Compton, W., Stinson, F. S., & Grant, B. F. (2006). Lifetime comorbidity of DSM-IV mood and anxiety disorders and specific drug use disorders: Results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 67(2), 247–257.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Herbert Benson, M. D., & Klipper, M. Z. (1992). The relaxation response. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  8. Knabb, J. (2012). Centering prayer as an alternative to mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression relapse prevention. Journal of Religion and Health, 51(3), 908–924.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Krucoff, M. W., et al. (2005). Music, imagery, touch, and prayer as adjuncts to interventional cardiac care: The Monitoring and Actualisation of Noetic Trainings (MANTRA) II randomised study. Lancet, 366(9481), 211–217.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Michalak, J., Troje, N. F., & Heidenrenreich, T. (2011). The effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on depressive gait patterns. Journal of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies, 11(1), 13–27.Google Scholar
  11. Poloma, M. M., & Pendleton, B. F. (1989). Exploring types of prayer and quality of life: A research note. Review of Religious Research, 31, 46–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Raedt, R., et al. (2012). Changes in attentional processing of emotional information following mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in people with a history of depression: Towards an open attention for all emotional experiences. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(6), 612–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Shalev, A. Y., Freedman, S., Perry, T., Brandes, D., Sahar, T., Orr, S. P., et al. (1998). Prospective study of posttraumatic stress disorder and depression following trauma. American Journal of Psychiatry, 155(5), 630–637.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Simpson, R., Booth, J., Lawrence, M., Byrne, S., Mair, F., & Mercer, S. (2014). Mindfulness based interventions in multiple sclerosis-a systematic review. BMC Neurology, 14(1), 15.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Soleimaninanadegani, M., & Shahmohammadi, N. (2013). The impact of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on anthropometric indices balance in high-school obese girls’ students in Iran. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 84, 542–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Whittington, B. L., & Scher, S. J. (2010). Prayer and subjective well-being: An examination of six different types of prayer. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 20(1), 59–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical HumanitiesDrew UniversityMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations