With my voice I cry out to the Lord;
with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I tell my trouble before Him.
When my spirit faints within me,
You know my way!
Psalm 142:1-3 (ESV)
Depression. Sometimes we can be so overwhelmed with the discouragements of life that we use this word to describe our outlook. Sometimes we are so sad and grieved by circumstances that we apply this label to ourselves and our feelings and our emotions. And sometimes there are those of us who suffer clinical depression, where it is an uncontrolled chemical imbalance in our brains and bodies that weighs us down regardless of circumstances or happy blessings. Sometimes these “types” or “definitions” of depression even overlap and collide and combine with one another. I have personally experienced each of these three broad categories of depression that I have just briefly described for you—each one is extremely painful, and can be absolutely suffocating. I have been so depressed at times that I could not get out of bed, could not stop crying, could not face seeing any people, could not cope, could not recognize joys, could not even pray outside of basic juvenile attempts to simply cry help, God!
So today I am kneeling in the quiet of my own room, asking for my Father to hear the cries—no matter how muffled, how simple, how tear-choked, how even unspoken—of my sisters who are struggling with depression, anywhere along the spectrum of this particular suffering. Especially because in the Christian realm, there is a stigma about depression that makes it almost impossible to talk about with any sort of honesty or vulnerable integrity. My heart aches for you, and my hands are lifted up to our Father, and you are represented on my palms before His throne. Come with me now, and let us pray together.
O Father, You are in heaven, high and lifted up. You are holy and all-powerful, yet I confidently come to You with these open hands, lifting broken and downtrodden hearts to you. You know the needs before I utter them, You discern the pains of these suffering saints far more intimately than I can begin to understand. So through Your Holy Spirit and by the intercession of Christ my High Priest, would You please accept these prayers and bend low to lift up these faces, lighten these paths, and restore the souls here who are in desperate need of Your encouragement? Lord, hear my prayers.
You go before us and You are with us; please help us to know that You will not leave or forsake us, regardless of the inner turmoil we may fight. Please grant us Your grace so that we do not fear, and keep us from dismay. (Deuteronomy 31:8) The anxiety in our hearts weigh us down and build heavy walls of depression within us, but good words gladden us (Proverbs 12:25), so please Father, surround us with words to restore joy to our hearts, and specifically use Your Word and words from Your people to encourage us with wisdom and truth.
Father, depression is a stormy sea—O, Father, You know!—so please send from Your high place, and snatch us out, drawing us out of these waters. Rescue us from the strong enemy of depression, it is too mighty for us on our own. Depression is a continual confrontation for some of us, and Lord, it brings so many calamities. Lord, be our support! Bring us out into a broad place by Your hand of rescue. Show us Your delight in us! You show us Your mercy and fill us with the righteousness of Christ because we are His—so cleanse our hands and grant us rewards from Your grace. Even in depression, Lord, we do not depart from You. We keep Your ways, we fall at Your feet. (2 Samuel 22:17-22) Enable us to serve You in new ways, even while we are in the darkness and ride on the stormy seas. Remind us that You are our Savior. Remind us that You are our support. Remind us that depression itself can never separate us from You. Make us conquerors by Your love, even as You remind us of Your surety and continual companionship—that in addition to what Paul lists for us, no more can anxiety or depression or doubt separate us from Your love when we are in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
When we languish, be gracious—when we are troubled all the way through our bones, heal us—oh! Lord, how long will You allow this great trouble of soul to persist? (Psalm 6:2-3) Lighten this darkness! You are our lamp, O Lord, so disperse the dark veil of depression in front of us! (2 Samuel 22:29) In this oppression, in this trouble—Lord, be Thou our one and only faithful stronghold. (Psalm 9:9)
Even now as we cry aloud to You, we are confident that You hear us. Yet why do our souls refuse to be comforted?! In this trouble, we seek You, Lord, and we stretch our hands to You, remembering You and calling to You and meditating on Your Word. I moan! My spirit faints! The trouble can be so overwhelming—the depression so thick that our words will not come, even speaking feels too hard—You alone can keep our eyelids open when they just want to shut tight and let the darkness of this suffering suffocate and drown us. (Psalm 77:1-4) We know You are near. We know You save. We know You deliver. O Lord, fix these broken hearts, heal these crushed spirits, relieve these afflicted ones who wear Christ’s righteousness. (Psalm 34:18-19) You see this affliction, and You know this distress (Psalm 31:7), so be the shield we need to fight the strong enemy of depression and be our glory as the One who lifts up our heads! (Psalm 3:3) You can make our steps firm and grant us renewed delight in You! We might be stumbling around in this darkness, but O Lord, when You uphold us with Your hand, we can not fall! (Psalm 37:23-24)
So why are we downcast? Why are our souls tumultuous? Where is our hope? Where is our praise? Where is our salvation? God, where are You?! (Psalm 43:5) Even in the midst of depression’s darkness, our only hope is from You—for You, O God, help our souls to wait in silence. (Psalm 62:5) Be gracious to us, O Lord, for we are in distress (Psalm 31:9), and by Your Spirit, please help us in this weakness. Sometimes in our depression, we can hardly lift our hands our coin our words—the darkness and the anxiety and the walking round in circles just causes our bodies and minds to nearly shut down—so when we do not know how or for what we ought to pray, please by Your Spirit intercede for us through wordless groans. (Romans 8:26)
Our spirits faint inside of us as they are pressed on every side by depression; our hearts are appalled at the dark abyss they feel inside. And so we stretch out our hands to You; our souls thirst for You like a parched land. Preserve our lives—body, mind, soul, spirit, strength—for the sake of Your name, O Lord! In Your righteousness bring our souls out of this trouble! (Psalm 143:4, 6, 11) Please, O Lord, do not hide Your face from us—You have told us to seek Your face, so please hear us now as our hearts cry out! Lord, we do seek Your face! (Psalm 27:8-9) And so, Father, here we are—we will look to You, Lord. Pull back the blinders of depression and lift the veil of darkness all around. We will wait for the God of our salvation. You are our God, and You will hear us! Oh, enemy of depression that brings me sinking low, by the power of God, I will not let you rejoice over me. When I fall, I shall rise—yes, Lord! When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me—and amen! (Micah 7:7-8)
We call to You, O God of our righteousness—please answer. Give us relief from our distress, by Your grace, and hear our prayer. Please grant us peace so that we can rest—body and soul—because You are the only One, our Lord, who can fill us with the respite of safe haven. (Psalm 4:1, 8) You are our God, and so we continue to seek You earnestly. We thirst for You! We faint for You! In this dry and weary land of depression where we have no sustenance of food or water but for Your sustaining grace, lift us up and fill us, heal us and give us hope. We will bless You for as long as we live, and in Your name we lift up our hands, carrying our burdens and our depression and our suffering sisters in our prayers before You. (Psalm 4:1, 4)
Thank You for hearing the cries of our souls. Please send Your mercy into this darkness, and be our great Light. Amen.