Prayer Doesn’t Cure Mental Illness – Stop Telling Me to Pray

Prayer Doesn’t Cure Mental Illness – Stop Telling Me to Pray

I am not a religious person nor a prayer person and I believe that prayer does not cure mental illness and those that tell you to “pray more” because “it works” are invalidating the experience that is having a mental illness. Generally, I’m not in the business of telling people what doesn’t work because everyone is different, but this is one area that drives me nutty. Prayer doesn’t cure mental illness.

Fixing Mental Illness Through a God

Let me ask you a question, if you’re praying, who are you praying to? Is it some form of god? I suspect so. Would this be the same god that gave you the mental illness in the first place? I suspect so.

So why, on all that is logical, would you pray to the one that made you sick in the first place? If anything I would like to swear and yell at such a being if, indeed, I thought such a thing existed.

Why Telling People to “Pray More” Doesn’t Cure Mental Illness

Some say prayer cures mental illness - I say prayer has nothing to do with mental illness and people should stop telling me to pray. Prayer does not cure mental illness.However, let’s take prayer out of that quagmire for a moment. How about simply understanding this: no amount of talking to anyone will fix a mental illness. This includes your version of god or talking to yourself. The best thing you can do is talk to a therapist because at least they have a hope in helping you learn some coping skills that will teach you how to deal with your mental illness symptoms more effectively.

Telling me to “pray” or “pray more” is, honestly, just insulting. It suggests that:

  1. I am religious. I am not.
  2. I believe in such things (or should), which I do not, nor is it a requirement for getting better.
  3. Talking to yourself/a deity actually does something, which it does not (certainly true for me).

Don’t get me wrong, if you like to pray and that’s your thing, you should feel free to go right ahead and do it, but don’t think prayer is going to cure your mental illness. Payer might make you momentarily feel better psychologically (I don’t know) but prayer doesn’t cure mental illness. You will still be as psychotic after prayer as you were before.

I get that some people are religious and I get that prayer is part of some religions, but I also get that prayer does nothing for mental illness. You can disagree with me on that, if you wish, but I stand pretty firm on that one.

Prayer Does Not Cure Mental Illness

And I must admit, in my darkest of times I have pleaded to a god I don’t believe in to take away the pain I feel. I have begged and gotten down on my knees and promised anything and everything if even just a bit of relief was offered. Of course, none came. Talking to the sky is like that.

All prayer does is get your hopes up that an unseen force will actually do something useful for you. You what is useful? Actual science and treatment.

Now, I know, saying things like prayer doesn’t cure mental illness enrages some people. I’m sorry about that. I really am. I am just saying this so that people understand that prayer is not the answer and that they should not go around telling people to “pray more.” That is nonsense. If you like to pray, go for it, but I will not be joining you nor will I suggest that others do either.

Header image by Leila Darwish.

Inset image by NekoBlast.


About Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Media inquiries can be emailed here.



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