22 Bible Verses for Anxiety (+ a Prayer)

the word anxiety against a dark blue background with Bible verse text from the article

When anxiety hits, among the places we go for advice and comfort—e.g., family, friends, pastors, spiritual directors, or perhaps even to a counselor or therapist—we must not forget to go to God’s Word to calm our anxious hearts. The Bible repeatedly addresses anxiety and the reasons for it.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than 40 million people struggle with anxiety, and the majority are women. While the numbers are astounding, the majority of people struggling do not get help.

Even the most devout Christian can find it incredibly hard to cope with anxiety. Recognizing that you need help is often the first step. If occasional anxiety turns into daily bouts with shortness of breath, racing thoughts, or feelings that seem out of control, going to the Bible for wisdom alongside asking for help from a trusted friend or pastor is a combination that can provide relief. Reach out to your prayer group, your pastor, or a close Christian friend to ask for prayer is a good way to begin the fight against anxiety. It’s also important to remember that you’re not alone.

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Bible verses for anxiety alongside Christian counseling can help

Finding a Christian counselor who can assist with sound psychological expertise while also pointing you to the truths about God’s love for you in the Bible is a wonderful way to approach your mental health needs. Sometimes, Bible verses for anxiety aren’t enough. But together with mental health resources, trusting the Bible and getting solid care can help.

More and more churches have Christian counseling centers and are devoted to assisting their members and their community at large with careful psychological help alongside good spiritual guidance. They can and should go hand in hand.

Pastors around the country have realized that people need good mental health help and recognize that they are (usually) not adequately trained to be mental health counselors. Because of this, churches throughout the country are adding mental health counseling centers to their churches as a form of care and outreach.

Christians disagree over the role of psychology and even of drugs in addressing anxiety. However, there is much value in trusting the research that says licensed mental health care workers can help people through their anxiety. As Christians, we know that God understands our pain and has wisdom for us in the Bible, God’s authoritative Word. Jesus himself experienced fear and anxiety. You can step into the peace that comes in knowing our Lord has endured the same pain you’re walking through. He’s here right beside you—God never leaves us to fight our battles alone.

Here are twenty-two Bible verses for anxiety (all taken from the New International Version):

The wise and picturesque words of Solomon are both simple and instructive:

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.
—Proverbs 12:25

The words of Jesus are direct and comforting:

So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
—Matthew 6:31–34

Paul, too, is direct; and he provides an alternative to worry:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
—Philippians 4:6–7

What’s causing my anxiety?

The Bible tells us that often our fear, worry, and anxiety are a result of having a troubled heart. Anxiety frequently results from trusting our own abilities and skills more than we trust our loving Father’s. As you ponder the source of your anxiety and stress, ask God to illuminate new ways you can trust him with your cares. Releasing our worries and anxieties, or “casting our cares” on him. While this doesn’t always treat the physical cause of an anxiety disorder, it can be a balm to the aching soul and get us pointed in the right direction for care. It’s a good first step to calming yourself down and getting your heart and mind headed in the right direction for peace.

Peter gives Christians a place to put their anxiety, shoulders to carry it:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
—1 Peter 5:6–7

You’ll want to read more of the context of this verse before using it, but surely it reveals something permanent about the heart of God toward his children:

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
—Isaiah 35:4

The psalmist directs us to name the source of our joy:

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
—Psalm 94:19

The Bible provides language for those who are distraught to use in their prayers when we don’t know what to say:

Hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught.
—Psalm 55:2

Paul writes very emotionally to the Corinthians:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.
—2 Corinthians 4:8

Why do I feel so defeated?

When we’re in dark places of depression and doubt, the enemy often whispers to us that it’s all our fault. It’s hard to hear the voice of God when the monster of shame is breathing down our necks. Once that monster creeps in, anxiety is there too, causing us to fear, doubt, and worry, and even to lash out in anger.

Christians can use God’s word to fight back, to remind us of who we really are in Christ: people who are not only made in God’s image but are being conformed to the Image of his Son; people who are beloved children of God. Scripture affirms that although we are afflicted and even tormented, we will never be destroyed (1 Cor 4:8). God loves us so much that he sent his Son to die for us—to save us from our sins and to give us everlasting life. He’s there for us through the many ups and downs of this life—even right now.

Jesus says at the beginning:

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.
—John 14:1

Again, he presents himself as a safe place for our burdens:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
—Matthew 11:28–30

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.
—Psalm 73:1–5

How do you deal with struggles in life?

What you do during times of duress says a lot about a person’s character. While it’s commonplace to rely on our character in our flesh during times of difficulty, Scripture reminds us to focus on God’s goodness, God’s love, and God’s care for us. Sometimes anxiety does take hold and can frequently immobilize even the most capable person. Leaning on God’s love together with the humility it takes to ask for help from a trusted family member or friend can provide relief in the worst of times.

Moses said this to God’s chosen people as they stood in greatest danger:

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
—Exodus 14:14

Jesus uses memorable and even humorous words to encourage kingdom citizens not to worry:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
—Matthew 7:7–12

Paul’s words to the Roman Christians were stirring and clear:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
—Romans 8:31–21

Solomon’s wisdom is an antidote to worry:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
—Proverbs 3:5–6

The Lord said to Joshua, Moses’s successor:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
—Joshua 1:9

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How do I surrender my fears to God?

We worry about finances. We worry about our careers. We worry about our kids. We worry about what our friends think about us. The list of worries goes on and on and on. Catching these fears and surrendering them to God is hard, to say the least.

One simple technique to tame your worries is to set a timer each morning for five minutes with a journal and pen in hand. Perhaps combine this with your morning quiet time. Start the timer and quickly list all the worries, fears, and anxieties that keep your mind spinning. When the timer ends, stop your worry time. Take this list to God in prayer and present these requests to God, as we’re told to do in Philippians 4. Don’t just pray through your list; visualize handing over each and every one of these situations on your list to Jesus as though he’s sitting right next to you. He is strong enough to take every burden that weighs down your heart.

Your aim is not to worry aside from these five minutes each day. Build a practice of writing down your fears and concerns, then praying them over to God. Ask him to help you have self- control and not worry outside these few minutes a day.

Even when we don’t know what to pray, we need not worry:

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
—Romans 8:26

The Lord says to Israel,

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
—Isaiah 41:13

Jesus gives amazing words:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
—Matthew 11:28–30

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
—Isaiah 26:3

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
—Deuteronomy 31:8

Is God always there for us?

It can often feel like we’re left alone to tackle the problems of this life. But Scripture says otherwise. The Bible says that God will never leave us, never forsake us. While faith can be a struggle, 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) says that “we live by faith, not by sight.” It’s a leap to trust in a God we cannot see, yet the Bible calls us to go all in—to hand over our dreams, desires, and goals to the living God who created us. We can trust him. We need him. We ask him to carry our burdens and to make our load light, then praise him when the weight lifts.

Anxiety is not to be taken lightly. If you or someone you love is struggling and can’t find relief through prayer and studying the Bible, I encourage you to seek professional help. If you’re feeling hopeless, the 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7.

A prayer for anxiety

Oh Lord,
When I can’t catch my breath,
When my resources are depleted,
Help me rest and breathe in deeply,
taking in your merciful love and peace.

When my thoughts spiral,
holding me captive in my mind,
help release me into your arms,
aware of your tender, calming understanding.

Take these fears that don’t make sense,
turn my face toward your Word.
Lead me to your faithful, peaceful, all-consuming, and all-comforting presence.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

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Written by
Lauren Hunter

Lauren Hunter is a freelance writer, author, and musician who loves exploring the big picture of the journey we are all on together. She is the author of two books: Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ, and, Write Your Journey: A Step-by- Step Guide to Write Your Life Story Fast. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they live in Northern California with their four kids. She can be found online at laurenhunter.net.

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Written by Lauren Hunter
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