One of my childhood friends served in the military for 5 years. Sadly, his time there left him with a bad case of PTSD, and he asked me to recommend some scriptures to help him cope.
Having studied theology for years, I thought I could find some encouraging psalms for him to read whenever he feels overwhelmed. I talked to my pastor, and we came up with a list of ideal psalms to read for PTSD.
After sharing this information with my friend, I thought it was sensible to write this article to help others struggling with the same issue.
7 Psalms to read for PTSD
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.”
This encouraging Psalm lets you know that your pain is real and you are not alone. Just like David, you can present your troubles to God through prayer, and He will help you work them out.
Reading this Psalm will restore your hope as you try to overcome PTSD.
“Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends— those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.”
In this honest Psalm, David describes the negative impact of constantly battling with his enemies. He pours his heart out to God, telling him about all the problems in his life.
You can read this to remind yourself to lean on God when the burdens psychological burden of PTSD becomes too heavy.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
This encouraging Psalm assures us that God is there to guide and protect us, the same way shepherded leads his flock. Despite the problems we face in the world, this scripture says that God’s grace will make it better.
You can read this Psalm to revive your hope in life.
“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.”
This Psalm is a cry for help from a distressed person. David says that he calls out to God when his heart becomes weak. If you have PTSD, this Psalm can help you present your needs to the creator of the universe.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Going through mental health issues such as PTSD can be scary and isolating. This Psalm lets you know that you can trust God when you are in that headspace.
Reading this Psalm will boost your courage as you grapple with the harsh realities of living with PTSD.
“Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”
This hope-filled Psalm reminds us that God is our shield. It assures you that God will help you when you call Him. You can read his Psalm to assure yourself that no matter how hard it gets, God will give you the strength to push through.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'”
This reassuring Psalms proves that God will be there to heal our diseases and take away our afflictions. It encourages us to trust in His unfailing love.
This entire Psalm is an excellent read for people who have suffered lots of traumas.
What does the book of Psalms say about PTSD?
David was one of the greatest fighters of his time. He spent a lot of time in battle, and that must have taken a toll on him. Though He won many times, David admits that his soul is in distress.
He is filled with sorrow that weakens his body. He compares this feeling to soul-crushing grief.
In this Psalm, David vividly explains how this trauma has affected his health and his social life. Often, when soldiers rejoin society with issues such as PTSD, they tend to face stigma.
This is an excellent reminder that even the great men of the Bible wrestled with mental health challenges. That said, David reminds us to trust God because his love will never fail us.
How to use Psalms to pray to deal with PTSD
Today, you can download and read the Bible on your phone or iPad. If you experience PTSD in public, you should take your device and read Psalms 42:1-5 for a word of encouragement.
Reading these Psalms before bed can also help you sleep better and relieve the PTSD symptoms. Additionally, starting your day with an encouraging scripture like Psalms 23 goes a long way toward preparing you for the day’s challenges.
Can you pray these Psalms for someone else?
Yes, the best part about the book of Psalms is that you can use the scriptures to create powerful prayers. For example, you can use the words in Psalms 23 to pray for God’s guidance on behalf of your loved one.
This Psalm contains words that dispel fear from our hearts. Using this scripture, you can pray for the Holy Spirit to help a loved one understand that trusting God invites limitless blessings and peace into their life.
As a Christian, I have always been passionate about sharing God’s word with young people. This inspired me to pursue a Certificate in Christian Education, an Undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, and a Graduate degree in Theology. My knowledge in school and experience from dealing with the youth made me an expert at discussing Christian-related topics. I feel privileged working as the Coordinator of the Christian Youth Ministry at Christian Faith Guide. You can read more about me on the about us page.