Depression is real, and if you are fighting it you are not alone. Depression seems to have been the bane of many of life’s great leaders. In the Bible, Moses, Elijah, David, and Job all had to deal with it. In the secular world, Sir Winston Churchill used to call depression his ‘black dog’, and Ernest Hemingway referred to it as ‘the artist’s reward’.
President Abraham Lincoln battled depression and suicide all his adult life. There were times when for his own safety Lincoln would not allow himself to carry a knife, for fear that he would hurt himself, or worse. Read about Lincoln turning to the Bible to relieve his depression. Let the Scriptures help you just like they have helped so many of us. Sometimes depression can be a purely spiritual thing, read this – Depression Is a Spirit – It Must Be Fought with the Word of God.
Depression is the physical and emotional result of hopelessness – the ‘feeling‘ of hopelessness. We live in a world devoid of hope, and depression is the emotional product of that reality. The only thing that will actually change one’s life sufficiently as to destroy the cause, mechanics, and effects of depression is God’s hope and His word of hope. The answer is to get God’s hope back inside of you.
Hope will let you again see the ‘future positive possibility’ of your life. Without seeing it you will have no motivation or strength. The good Word of God, and the good word of others to you, can change the outlook and condition of your heart. Fight for God’s outlook with all you have. Fight it with the Word of God. (Also, confess the scriptures on Hopelessness.) Anyone who is among the living has hope.
God’s hope encourages, motivates, and keeps you on the road to faith, peace, and victory. And if you suffer from deep ongoing depression, get help. And please read this – Helping Others Is God’s Prescription for Depression. Send me a comment, we love you and we want to help you. You are important and you have value. You are not alone. With God’s help, you will climb out of this hole.
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down (depression), but a good word cheers it up. Proverbs 12:25 Holman Christian Standard Bible
These scriptures on depression will give you hope and will build your faith. Confess and meditate on them to win the fight against depression. The key is not losing Hope. Allow the hope of God to seep back into you. Remember, there is a real Person (God) behind each and every one of these promises. He promised them to you for a reason – to help you.
Deuteronomy 31:8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 33:27 – The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
2 Samuel 22:17-22 – He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters; (18) He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me. (19) They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. (20) He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me. (21) The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. (22) For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
2 Samuel 22:29 – You are my lamp O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.
Ecclesiastes 9:4 – Anyone who is among the living has hope.
Psalms 9:9 – The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 27:14 – Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Psalm 31:22,24 – You heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help… Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
Psalm 34:18, 19 – The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (19) A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.
Psalm 37:23-24 – If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumbles, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
Psalm 43:5 – Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God.
Psalm 55:22 – Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Psalm 62:5 – Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
Psalm 126:5 – Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
Psalm 143:7-8 – Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I’ll lift up my soul.
Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 145:14 – The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
Proverbs 12:25 – Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down (depression), but a good word cheers it up.
Isaiah 26:3-4, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusts in Thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength. (Perfect means complete. If I keep my part of the promise by staying steadfastly focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, He will keep His promise to give me His perfect peace. See also Philippians 4:6-7 below)
Isaiah 35:10 – And the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away
Isaiah 40:31, But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 53:4 – Surely he took up our sicknesses and carried our sorrows.
Mark 9:23 – Everything is possible for him who believes.
Romans 4:18-22 – Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, so shall they seed be. (19) And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: (20) He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. (21) And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform. (22) And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
II Corinthians 7:6-7 – Nevertheless, God, that comforts, those that are depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; (7) And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
Philippians 4:6-7 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
James 4:8 – Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James 4:10 – Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
2 Peter 2:9 – The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials.
1 Peter 4:12 – Dear Friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
1 Peter 4:13 – But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed
1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Read how Lincoln Turned to the Bible to Manage His Depression and other articles: Scriptures Against Hopelessness – Scriptures Against Worry – New Testament Scriptures on Faith & Believing – Do God’s Promises Cover What You Want?
A Prayer against Depression
By John Barnett
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
If you’ve ever felt trapped, imprisoned, or helplessly caught by life, then you share the emotions of David in the midst of life in the Cave of Adullam.
Things had gotten so bad that David makes a confession that is packed with meaning to us today. In the form of an urgent prayer offered to God, and captured for us on paper, David explains that his soul is in prison. The setting is so graphic, look at it with me in I Samuel 22.
David is in the midst of his life on the run, under immense stress in verses 1-4:
“David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him. Then David went from there to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother come here with you, till I know what God will do for me.” So he brought them before the king of Moab, and they dwelt with him all the time that David was in the stronghold.”
David describes this time as when he felt trapped, with nowhere to escape in Psalm 142. Here in this Psalm written from a cave, David reflects on the circumstances all around him that made him have.
When we get depressed, life really does feel like an endless pursuit of nothingness. Such daily struggles are a far cry from the expectations of those who heard this type promise before they became a Christian: “Just get saved and everything will be great from then on!” But that’s not always true, is it?
Even saved people can go through emotionally imprisoning cave times like David experienced. Trigger that can start a slide downward emotionally are: family conflicts; losing a job; losing a home; moving to a new location under duress; working with a tough crowd; being betrayed by friends; being wronged in a business deal; suffering the sudden loss of a family member, friend, or finances, and so forth.
Suffering from depression is a very common malady. In fact, although most of the Bible is in the major key (saints fearlessly witnessing as churches valiantly serve against all odds), side-by-side with all those wonderful testimonies is the minor key where God’s Word contains true glimpses into the weaknesses and frailties of some of His greatest saints.
“Heavenly Father, please strengthen our hearts, and remind us to encourage one another when the troubles of life start to overwhelm us. Please guard our hearts from depression. Give us the strength up to rise up each day and fight against the struggles which seek to weigh us down.”
Editor’s Note: The following is an abridge version David’s Life in the Minor Key: Is Depression Sin? by John Barnett. To read the full devotion, follow this link.
One might wonder why a Catholic prayer against depression even exists, since Catholics have every reason to have joy. Jesus himself said:
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled.” John 15:11. /otw_shortcode_quote]
If this is so, why is there depression in our midst?
It is because we are human, and as humans we have both low and high points.
Although depression, especially clinical depression, is very complex, as Catholics we understand that along with any physical or mental components, there is usually a spiritual component. It is not one or the other.
The first remedy should be the spiritual life, including prayer, confession & spiritual direction. This addresses the spiritual component. In addition, one can consult a doctor and a therapist if care is needed for the body or the mind.
Table of contents
What the Catholic Prayer Against Depression Affirms
This prayer reminds us of some very important facts.
- Darkness is real. Life is not all perfume and roses.
- God is always present, although we don’t always feel his presence.
- We are weak without God, and therefore, we can find strength in God.
- We have nothing to fear.
- God’s plans for our life may be murky, but one day it will become clear.
- In the end, we should pray for God’s will in all.
Pray this prayer if you’re feeling particularly depressed or just discouraged.
St Ignatius of Loyola Prayer Against Depression
When all is darkness And we feel our weakness and helplessness, Give us the sense of Your Presence, Your Love and Your Strength. Help us to have perfect trust In Your protecting love And strengthening power, So that nothing may frighten or worry us, For, living close to You, We shall see Your Hand, Your Purpose, Your Will, through all things.
By St. Ignatius of Loyola
Catholic Guide to Depression
Prayer to St Dymphna for Nervous Disorders & Mental Illness
Love Traditional Catholic prayers? Check out the Pieta Prayer Book
Prayer background music composed by St Hildegard Von Bingen: Canticles of Ecstasy
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