Prayer Note #30 — On Depression

[from my prayer journal, January 9, 2009]

Heinz Chapel on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh; photo by GAC

I’m very tired this morning, Lord.  I have been for most of the week.  I’ve been back to swimming for exercise after a bit of a lay-off.  So, I suppose the physical tiredness that I feel is partly to do with that.  But, Lord, my tiredness seems to go deeper than merely tired muscles.  What I feel might better be called weariness.  I have much more trouble than usual keeping on task or getting on task in the first place.  And forcing myself out into the company of other people.

It sounds, of course, as if I’m depressed.  Maybe I am.  It’s mid-winter — dark and cold.  We’ve just come out of the Christmas holidays.  So, I doubt I would be the only person around wrestling with depression.  But I suppose, Lord, depression means more in my case than just mid-winter, post-holiday blues.  My acquaintance with depression runs a lot deeper than that.  And it has taken me to much deeper, darker places than post-holiday blues.

Even as I write these words before you, Lord, I feel some sort of relief, as though the mere act of putting the thought down on paper and before you depletes it of some of its power to frighten me.

Yet, Lord, I don’t want to simply drop the matter now and trudge on as if there is nothing more to be prayed, thought, said, or done in relation to this cold, dark, tenacious enemy. . . . “Enemy”?  Is that the right word?  Somehow it doesn’t quite resonate with me as right.  It’s almost more like a cold, dark swampy place or inner state of affairs.  Calling depression an “enemy” is in a sense to personify it.  And, Lord, I don’t experience depression as a personality but rather a sort of negation of personality.  Depression is, for me, a personality-less state of affairs.  In some sense, it seems to drain me of my personhood without seeming to acquire personhood itself.

And so, even as I write these words, Lord, I find myself understanding more clearly just how very evil and degrading depression is by its very nature.  In a way that is easily overlooked, depression is very pointedly a contradiction of your aspiration for us human creatures of yours.

I do experience depression more as a place or an environment of the soul than as an active opponent.  But, Lord, that makes depression all the more difficult to fight.  There is no specific enemy against whom I can direct my defense.  There is not really any focused source of opposition or assault against which I can aim a counter-attack.  It is, instead, as if I’ve fallen into a vacuum, a life-depleting environment which by its very nature deprives me of the ability — strength, commitment, understanding, motivation,

Tangled Branches in the Night; photo by GAC

energy — by which I might manage to escape.

Only in you, Lord Jesus.
Only through you, Lord Jesus.
Only by you, Lord Jesus.
Only for you, Lord Jesus.

6 thoughts on “Prayer Note #30 — On Depression

  1. So, I am thinking that when we find our self in a state of depression, if we go to God in prayer and ask Him to come into that “place or an environment of the soul ” where we are feeling trapped and lost – He will go there with us, and then if He is there it is bearable, we are not lost or alone, and He will lift us out and fill that place with light, warmth, and energy. There is no need to go there alone when we have a friend like Jesus.


  2. What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
    O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

    Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

    Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

    Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
    May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
    Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
    Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.


  3. Gary, I am sorry you have been in that place before. I have found myself there as well. It can be a place of despair, void of hope, a place from which you want to break free, but there seems to be no escape. The next time I’m there, I am going to take in a deep breath of the renewing Holy Spirit and ask the Lord to fill me with Hope until I am again Hope-filled and overflowing with the message of Hope and living through the Breath of Life. \o/ Remind us, Lord that You are always with us.


  4. I certainly think that our brokenness as human beings is very complicated, both biological and circumstantial. I believe that taking the right medication available is the responsible thing to do, and is another one of the “crucial aids” that one needs. Healing… I know that God wants us to be whole and live an abundant life. I really don’t like the idea of being “comfortably numb”. I’m going to pray big to our Big God for complete wholeness and healing in every way He would want for us.


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