Many Believe Prayer and Bible Study Can Cure Mental Illness

October 31, 2013 Becky Oberg

One-third of all Americans believe mental illness can be cured by prayer and Bible study alone, but among evangelical Christians, the number jumps to one-half. In the video, More Than Borderline blog author, Becky Oberg, discusses the need for education about the realities of mental illness.

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APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2013, October 31). Many Believe Prayer and Bible Study Can Cure Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 14 from

Author: Becky Oberg

February, 23 2015 at 5:32 pm

Thank you Kathy Boehm for your post.
There is no cure for mental illness, as of yet, any more than there is for so many other illnesses that exist today
There are however many tools in my toolbox, prayer and meditation is just one of them. I am keenly aware that many people have been hurt by organized religion but that doesn't stop me from believing in God. Good (represented by God) and evil (represented by the devil) will always exist in this world.
That being said, I did catch a few minutes of a religious program on TV the other day. The guy said if you spell the word LIVE backwards you get the word EVIL (tack D onto that and you get Devil). The basic message this guy was trying to relay is that it is not good to live your life (backward) stuck in the past if you expect to grow as a person
I believe we all have our crosses to bear and that we are all here on this planet to learn something from each other. We each come to class with our own unique set of experiences and life circumstances, be they good or bad
12 step groups also use GOD as a acryonm for Good Orderly Direction and that is how I intend to move though this life, in a good orderly direction one step at a time, one day at a time, accepting the things I can't change and changing the things I can

Paul Kuzma
December, 21 2013 at 6:05 pm

Legina, I don't think anyone here is saying that God can't heal alone. I hear you saying that you believe God can use medicine and that mental illness needs to be less of a stigma in the church. I hear everyone else as well as the article saying that churches and pastors that are NOT open to being educated and appropriately referring people to mental health services, as well as accepting those who struggle with mental illness do more harm than good. As a pastor myself, I am excited about what you are doing as God gives you open doors! Thank you!!

November, 10 2013 at 12:52 am

Nothing could be more ridiculous!

Judy H.
November, 9 2013 at 7:30 pm

Oh Connie, my story mirrors yours in every way. I just want to say, "God has given me this cross and has shown me the ways He has provided to keep me from falling. A major part of that is with medical treatment. I have not asked Him, "why?", I've pressed on in all of His ways."

Judy H.
November, 9 2013 at 7:23 pm

This whole concept is a joke right? I can't even believe I'm commenting on something so absolutely absurd. If I prayed more.... If you'd LEARN what you're talking about...

November, 9 2013 at 8:13 am

I had a pastor who refused to even shake my hand after I was hospitalized, and diagnosed with mental illness. His ignorance made me feel like a leper, and filled me with even more shame. Others have rolled their eyes, patted my hand, and admonished me to "just give it all to Jesus," and you will be healed. Those with closed minds and open mouths add insult to injury with their preconceived notions about the true nature of mental illness. Thankfully, I have now recovered from the injuries of these ignorant behaviors, and that is why I think it is so important to discuss this issue. Medical treatment has played a major role in my recovery process, but my faith in God has provided the emotional comfort and reassurance that I needed during every step of that long, frightening journey. I am continually pressing onward, in good faith AND with good medicine.

November, 9 2013 at 7:43 am

I am sorry to be the lone voice, but God can heal with prayer alone. Nobody, at least none that I have personally worked with, said now stop taking your medicine and stop going to therapy. I realize now that there are some churches that will base your faith on your healing. But, I don't want it said that God can't heal alone. God can do whatever He will do. Then why don't you see a complete healing? Well, some do. We can't say God didn't heal them. But why God choses who, for what, isn't really a question we can answer. Does that mean God doesn't love us? Why that doesn't say that at all. I have prayed with others and myself for my healing. Do I believe God can do it on His own? Why, yes I do. But until then..I walk in the healing I have received and I share my testimony of my life with others. And I talk to churches about what mental illness is and what is does, so they can better service their congregations. Maybe God just isn't ready to release me from the ministry He has for me now. Don't count God out!

Kathy Boehm
November, 9 2013 at 7:42 am

I attend a church where one of the ministers is open about his struggles with depression. I thanked him personally for being so open because it helps alleviate stigma. On the other hand, he would never tell me not to take medication or go to the doctor. Prayer and faith help me, but they don't constitute a cure on their own. Additionally, my doctor is a person of faith, and that is part of the reason I chose him.
Ultimately, we are all different and have had different experiences; I understand why some people's experience with "church people" turn them off from formal religion.
I would have a serious disagreement with any person who told me that faith alone could cure my bipolar disorder. That's just an unintelligent, indefensible, meddlesome position for a person to take. It's none of their business how I manage my chronic illness.

cindy Costanzo
November, 9 2013 at 5:06 am

I just ran across this and although I understand the power of prayer, we need to educate people on the brain and the problems that can happen when it is starving for micronutrients. I am a Christian and a suicide survivor and lived with bi-polar symptoms all my life that escalated to an almost life ending episode. After unsuccessful treatment with many pharmaceutical cocktails I am symptom free with a healthly balanced brain thanks to EmPowerplus. I would be more than happy to share my success for anybody that wants to know about it.

November, 7 2013 at 1:07 pm

Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church's Mission by Amy Simpson addresses this subject openly and honestly. I highly recommend it, and not only because it shares our story and the real stories of other Christians who've dealt with mental illness.
The author's own mother deals with schizophrenia, and insight and compassion are abundant in her writing. It is a great and much-needed challenge to the church.…

November, 6 2013 at 3:00 am

Thank you Becky for this well stated article. I lost my youngest son (21) to mental illness and then suicide last Nov.(2012). We are believers and found it very confusing to function in our faith through those dark times. He never completed medical help although he started several times. Thank you again for a job well done on bringing this topic to light. I only wish I had found this site 3 yrs. ago. Maybe it would have made a difference.
A Beth Weber PG-3 Ministry responded to your article about a ministy start up. I would like to get information about: what they are doing, materials they are using, etc. I hope she checks back and see's this. If you do Beth my email is: I would sure appreciate the information.... maybe I could bring it to churches in my area!

kate blair
November, 5 2013 at 5:02 am

Mental illness is like you say an illness usually caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. It effects 1 in 4 people in total. (more than the church does?) I find the level of ignorance and stigma re mental health issues & conditions very concerning. To cast somebody out of a church due to mental illness is hardly Christian nor is telling that person that because they do not believe enough their illness is not cured. I would call such behaviour bigoted and deeming not Christian.

Sandy M
November, 5 2013 at 4:57 am

I'm sorry to say that there are people who believe all it takes is God. My nephew had an immune deficiency and I was amazed at the people who pushed their beliefs on my sister. Leave it to God. Pray, and then when he passed away, "He's in a better place". None of these things helped. I've had people close to me with different types and degrees of mental illness and if prayer and divine intervention was all it took, they would have been "normal". Besides, in the past, they would have been condemned as being possessed by demons.

Beth Weber PG-3 Ministry
October, 31 2013 at 3:07 pm

YES! PG-3 Ministry is being launched this month. Our mission is to encourage the honest expression of emotional struggles and mental disorders so people can experience the power of God's help, hope and healing by dispelling mental health myths with biblical truth and medical perspectives.
We want to break the silence in the church and reach those who are living needlessly in the shadows of shame. Thanks for speaking out, Becky!

Tom Cloyd, MS, MA
October, 31 2013 at 9:01 am

Yes! This is a misapplication of religion. Would they use the same approach with their car, if it didn't start in the morning? Or if their roof blew off in a storm?
Excellent topic!

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