Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Praying Through Depression
When I'm depressed -- and I don't mean just a bit down, blue, having a bad day -- but really depressed, I don't think I have faith. That's a HUGE statement for me, as I normally consider myself a faith-filled person. But the fact is, when I'm depressed, the Word of the Lord just seems like lowercase-w words... not promises, not hope, not God-breathed... just words.
So even though I pray often, I don't actually believe my prayers when I'm depressed. And in fact, I usually say them through clenched teeth.
So it crossed my mind that when I'm good (aka, NOT depressed), I should write or find prayers that speak what I want to say when I AM depressed. Moreover, I should find scriptures that get to the heart of what I want to pray when I'm depressed. Then even if I don't believe them, because of the curtain of depression, at least I'm SAYING what I really want to convey to God when I pray, depressed or not.
Well... it crossed my mind over the weekend that perhaps a website or even a book already exists that meets that need. So I Googled "praying through depression". I found a website that really spoke to me, "The Mechanics of Faith, Hope - Faith - Prayer, Seek - Hear - Obey". The page that come up was titled, "Scriptures Against Depression". Before I even got to the bottom of the page, I clicked on a link about Abraham Lincoln and his bouts of depression. (Let me tell you, the person who wrote that article for The Atlantic, hit on a lot of things that I think and feel.) I also clicked on a link about how Depression Is a Spirit - It Must Be Fought with the Word of God. That's exactly what I want to do!
So I'm doing just what I wanted to do, finding scripture and prayers that I can pray even when I'm depressed that will help me pray through depression.
One thing I read today that really hit a chord was that Lincoln's story was not one of transformation but of integration. He had to integrate his depressive episodes into his life, dealing with them, working WITH them. I have to say, this scares the will right out of me. I don't know if I can do that. Sounds like the beginning of one of those prayers I need to write.
By the way, for those of you keeping score, I haven't had a depressive day since last Tuesday. Praise be!