Prayer: A Helpful Aid in Recovery from Depression

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    “Depression,” Encyclopedia Britannica Online, s. v., http://www.britannica.com.ezproxy.drew.edu/EBchecked/topic/158349/depression. (Accessed April 21, 2014).

  2. 2.

    Knabb, Joshua. “Centering Prayer as an Alternative to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression Relapse Prevention.” Journal of Religion & Health 51, no. 3 (September 2012), 908.

  3. 3.

    Boelens, Peter A., Roy R. Reeves, William H. Replogle, and Harold G. Koenig. “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, no. 1 (2012), 86.

  4. 4.

    “What are the signs and symptoms of depression?” National Institute of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml (Accessed April 21, 2014).

  5. 5.

    Raedt, Rudi., et al. “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 & Research 36, no. 6 (December 2012), 612.

  6. 6.

    What are different forms of depression?” National Institute of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml (Accessed April 22, 2014).

  7. 7.

    Ibid.

  8. 8.

    Altshuler LL, Hendrich V, Cohen LS. “Course of mood and anxiety disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum period.” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 1998; 59: 29.

  9. 9.

    “What are different forms of depression?” National Institute of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml (Accessed April 22, 2014).

  10. 10.

    Cassano P, Fava M. “Depression and public health, an overview.” Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 2002; 53, 849–857.

  11. 11.

    Conway KP, ComptonW, Stinson FS, Grant BF. “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, 2006 Feb; 67(2), 247–257.

  12. 12.

    Shalev AY, Freedman S, Perry T, Brandes D, Sahar T, Orr SP, Pitman RK. “Prospective study of posttraumatic stress disorder and depression following trauma.” American Journal of Psychiatry, 1998; 155(5), 632.

  13. 13.

    Whittington, Brandon L., and Steven J. Scher. “Prayer and subjective well-being: An examination of six different types of prayer.” International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 20, no. 1 (2010), 59.

  14. 14.

    Poloma, Margaret M., and Brian F. Pendleton. “Exploring types of prayer and quality of life: A research note.” Review of Religious Research (1989), 48.

  15. 15.

    Poloma and Pendleton., 60.

  16. 16.

    Knabb, Joshua. “Centering Prayer as an Alternative to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression Relapse Prevention.” Journal of Religion & Health 51, no. 3 (September 2012), 913.

  17. 17.

    Ibid., 914.

  18. 18.

    Knabb., 914.

  19. 19.

    Ibid., 915.

  20. 20.

    Ibid., 917.

  21. 21.

    Krucoff, Mitchell W, et al. "Music, imagery, touch, and prayer as adjuncts to interventional cardiac care: the Monitoring and Actualisation of Noetic Trainings (MANTRA) II randomised study." Lancet 366, no. 9481 (July 16, 2005), 211–217.

  22. 22.

    Herbert Benson, M. D., and Miriam Z. Klipper. The relaxation response. Harper Collins, New York, 1992, 236.

  23. 23.

    Ibid., 239.

  24. 24.

    Ibid., 240.

  25. 25.

    Benson., 250.

  26. 26.

    Knabb., 910.

  27. 27.

    Knabb., 910–911.

  28. 28.

    Ibid., 910.

  29. 29.

    Knabb., 911.

  30. 30.

    “Religion: Buddhism” Central Intelligence Agency: The World Fact Book. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2122.html (Accessed April 26, 2014).

  31. 31.

    Ibid.

  32. 32.

    See footnote 30.

  33. 33.

    See footnote 31.

  34. 34.

    Knabb., 918.

  35. 35.

    Ibid., 919.

  36. 36.

    Michalak, Johannes, Nikolaus F. Troje, and Thomas Heidenrenreich. “THE EFFECTS OF MINDFULNESS-BASED COGNITIVE THERAPY ON DEPRESSIVE GAIT PATTERNS.” Journal of Cognitive & Behavioral Psychotherapies 11, no. 1 (March 2011), 13.

  37. 37.

    See footnote 31.

  38. 38.

    Chiesa, Alberto, Laura Mandelli, and Alessandro Serretti. “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 & Complementary Medicine 18, no. 8 (August 2012), 756.

  39. 39.

    Soleimaninanadegani, Mohammadreza, and Nayereh Shahmohammadi. “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 (2013), 542–548.

  40. 40.

    See Simpson, Robert, Jo Booth, Maggie Lawrence, Sharon Byrne, Frances Mair, and Stewart Mercer. “Mindfulness based interventions in multiple sclerosis-a systematic review.” BMC Neurology 14, no. 1 (2014), 15.

  41. 41.

    Boelens, Peter A., Roy R. Reeves, William H. Replogle, and Harold G. Koenig. “A randomized trial of the effect of prayer on depression and anxiety.” The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 39, no. 4 (2009), 383.

  42. 42.

    Boelens, Peter A., Roy R. Reeves, William H. Replogle, and Harold G. Koenig. “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, no. 1 (2012), 90.

  43. 43.

    Chiesa, Alberto, et al. “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy vs. psycho-education for patients with major depression who did not achieve remission following antidepressant treatment.” Psychiatry Research 226, no. 2/3 (April 30, 2015): 474–483.

  44. 44.

    Chiesa, Alberto, Laura Mandelli, and Alessandro Serretti. “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 & Complementary Medicine 18, no. 8 (August 2012), 759.

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Correspondence to Kirk A. Johnson.

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Johnson, K.A. Prayer: A Helpful Aid in Recovery from Depression. J Relig Health 57, 2290–2300 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-018-0564-8

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Keywords

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