I’ve been a chaplain for 9 years and I’ve been married for just as long to my wife, the Rev. Jessica Shields. We have two vibrant, engaging daughters: Abigail, 6 and Morgan, 3. I enjoy my life, my vocation, and I still live with depression.
My depression first surfaced for me in high school, the year my older sister went away to college and my best friend moved away to another school. At that time, my only understanding of mental health treatment was the “padded room” I saw in my elementary school, to keep children with special needs and some with mental conditions from hurting themselves. I thought, “I don’t need a padded room; I just don’t care if I wake up the morning.”
Fortunately, my parents were paying close attention to my behavioral changes and sought help from family, friends and our pastor. Thanks to our pastor’s recommendation, I began a medication and therapy regimen with a psychiatrist to help me manage what was diagnosed as acute depression.
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While in college, I believed that God did not desire for people to have depression and that God would heal me, so I stopped taking my medications and receiving treatment. I strongly discourage this behavior. After a significant life event in 2009, I could no longer deny that I still lived with depression. I sought out a new psychiatrist, psychologist and medication regimen, and have been managing my depression with my team ever since.
I still don’t believe God desires us to have depression; God wants us to have life and life more abundantly! But as a chaplain, I also know “God’s grace is sufficient.” Getting treatment doesn’t mean I am depression free, nor do I long for God to “take it away,” or try to speed through depressive episodes anymore. Like Paul, I am learning to be content in all things; I accept that I live with depression and try to see what God wants to teach me through each experience.
One of the ways I accept depression in my life is by praying. When I feel a heavy gray cloud hovering above me, I begin to pray for myself, for my wife, my children, and all others who live with depression. Here are a few of my prayers. –Rev. Brian A. Shields
My heart goes out to anyone who is suffering from depression short-term or long-term. It is overpowering at times and can even incapacitate you. It is such a strong force that takes a huge toll on the body. It makes you not want to get out of bed. It makes you incapable of doing normal activities. It is a heavy burden for the mind. I want you to know that if you are suffering from depression that God loves you. He knows what you are going through. I know that I still suffer from this myself when I have to give my kids to my ex-wife. I never wanted the divorce I was handed and I know my kids certainly didn’t either. I hope and pray that these prayers on depression can be a source of strength for you. I can honestly say I know how it feels and if you have any prayer requests, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I will pray for each and every single one of you that needs it.
Table of contents
Anticipating the Hurt
I can’t stop thinking about the fact that I only have a couple hours left before I give my kids back to their mommy. This is devastating me, Lord. I can feel depression trying to take its hold on me. Father I hate feeling like this! I wish I had my children every day. Lord, I know that when they leave I am going to cry. I always get sad, Father. Please wrap your arms around me and hold me through the heartache that is coming. I am so down right now. Lord, you have the power to lift this depression off of me and I pray that if it is your will that you would. If not, I know that every trial has a purpose and I want to learn from this if it lingers on. You are sovereign and I trust You completely with my own well-being. I love You, Father. Amen
Those That Go Before Us
Oh Lord in Heaven,
My heart is grieving! I was not ready for my dad to leave Earth yet. I know that You are not surprised by his passing and I also know that my dad is with You right now. I miss him, Father. He talked with me about your Holy Word. He showed me things that men should learn. He walked beside me when I was struggling. He showcased a father’s love that was molded after Your precepts. My dad’s passing is taking its toll on me, Lord. Please walk beside me as I continue to grieve, Father. I am excited that he is with You, but I do miss him dearly now that he is not with me. Give me strength to get out of bed every morning and do the things that I am called to do. I am relying completely on Your strength right now because I have none. I love You, Lord. Amen
I Feel Like Job
You know the turmoil that is going on in my heart, mind and soul right now. My friends are casting me away because of my convictions. They say that I need to be silent when it comes to speaking my mind on “touchy” subjects like abortion. Well, who is going to stand for the unborn? They cannot speak for themselves! My “friends” are uncomfortable with my stance on homosexuality. Lord, You say it is wrong and I am standing with You on this. Lord, where are the men and women of faith? I am so distraught! I need core Christian friendships! I want to have those close bonds like Naomi and Ruth did, or like David and Jonathon did. I feel so alone, like Job did as his “friends” berated and accused him of being a sinner over and over again! Lord, please bring me some real friendships that will last into Glory! I am so thankful for Your Son’s precious blood that was shed for me! I love You! Amen
I am at my wits end with being depressed over the injustice of this world. So many things are wrong with this world. Our brave men and women MIA are either passed away or being tortured every day. People are infecting others with HIV because of hatred. My own children are being bullied in school and the teachers don’t even notice! My employer is finding reasons to lay people off that they don’t like. This list goes on and on! I am not at peace right now, Father. I pray that You will take this overpowering depression off of me, Lord. It is consuming my energy, both physically and mentally. This is a struggle that I cannot win without You, Father. Please carry me through these difficult times. I pray for Your peace that passes all understanding. That is true medicine for depression. I thank You for Your never-ending patience with me, Lord. Be with me as I encounter these dark times daily. May Your will be done in all of this. Amen
Father in Heaven,
I have tried and tried to overcome the past transgressions done to me by people in my past. I thought my step dad loved me, but clearly his love was misguided and my innocence was taken. I can’t move past this! Father, I feel anger raging inside towards him. I want to forgive him, but the scenes keep repeating in my mind. How do I move past this? I am so depressed over my step dad. He took from me what should have been given freely to my spouse on our wedding night. I feel dead inside. I want to feel alive again, Lord! I know You have the power to raise the dead to life physically, and I know You can do the same spiritually. I believe Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I know it is Your desire to be my Father and for me to be Your child. I beg of You, Lord! Please draw me so close to You that the past fades away. “You are beautiful beyond description. Too marvelous for words. Too wonderful for comprehension. Like nothing ever seen or heard. Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom? Who can fathom the depth of Your love?” (I Stand In Awe, Mark Altrogge) I love You, Father! Please take this depression from me. Open my eyes that I may move past this and forgive my step dad. I praise Your name, Lord! Amen
Depression is a heavy burden. The Psalmist writes, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22a) As hard as it is some days, give your burdens to God and let Him deal with them. Trust in His healing hand to mend your broken heart. God is willing and able to do so. Call upon Him no matter how dark the storm is that you are in. You don’t want to travel through it alone. As I said above, if you need prayer for depression, please feel free to respond in the comments and I will pray for each and every one of you. I have experienced depression (and still do sometimes) first hand. You can be sure you have an advocate praying for you at the throne of the Most High God! God bless you as you live a life worthy of the calling!
Take a look at this related article:
Christian Depression Help
Resources – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. YouTube video “I Stand in Awe of You” performed by GTA Praise Band.
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A reader writes:
Please pray for me right now. I’m going through a real time of depression and I can’t seem to get out of it. Please pray for me, if you’d be so kind.
Meanwhile, another reader who has been through hell with PTSD, a head injury, and a broken marriage. Christmas is really hard for him this year. Please pray for him.
Father, hear our prayer for these good men. Lift them out of the mirey clay and set their feet on a rock. Send them light and joy and show them a way forward to hope. Grant them complete healing in body, soul, mind, and spirit and send them friends, family and wise healers who can help them find their way back to joy and hope. Mother Mary, St. Luke, St. Joseph, and St. Dymphna, pray for them! We ask all this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Did you know that Christians can get depressed too? Many people think that if you are saved and serving the Lord it is not possible for you to be depressed.
We would like to examine depression in the bible, give you the warning signs of depression, offer you a test to tell if you are in fact depressed and then give you some biblical solutions to get out of it.
First, let’s look at some of the signs of depression, a yes answer to more than 5 of these would be positive depression symptoms:
- Are you always feeling sad?
- Do you feel hopeless, irritable, anxious, or guilty?
- Have you lost interest in hobbies and activities that you once loved?
- Are you always tired?
- Are you having trouble concentrating and remembering details?
- Do you have insomnia ? Or you over sleep most of the time?
- Have you had a drastic change in your weight due to overeating or not eating at all?
- Do you harbor suicidal thoughts or think about death and going to heaven a lot?
- Does your body ache, do you have headaches, digestive problems or cramps?.
If you would like to do an online depression test click here
In the bible several great men and women of God also battled bouts of depression. Here is a Psalm written by King David that describes what he felt as he was going through his depression.
Psalm 42 (NLT)
1 As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.2 I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?3 Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?”
4 My heart is breaking
as I remember how it used to be:I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God,singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration!
5 Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and 6 my God!
Now I am deeply discouraged,
but I will remember you—even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar.7 I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.8 But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.
9 “O God my rock,” I cry,
“Why have you forgotten me?Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?”10 Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”
11 Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!
We see that David was broken hearted, deeply discouraged, his body ached, he was crying and sad. We also see his solution to his depression which was to praise God. Worshiping God brought him out of his depression. We know that while you are going through the depression you may not feel like worshiping God but if the bible offers it as a solution I think it is something we should do!
Another great man of God who suffered from depression is Elijah. He had just come out of the major victory of calling down fire on the false prophets and now Jezebel was after him. What we learn from this is that after a great victory, or even sometimes going into a great victory, you may face depression.
1 Kings 19:4-5 (NLT)
4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”
5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!”
We see that Elijah was suicidal and the solution to Elijah getting out of his depression was basically for him to eat something. We are not saying that it will be this simple for everyone because each person’s process is different but we are saying that there is a solution for you and God can show you what it is.
We see in this following verse the Apostle Paul’s discouragement and that God sent Titus to encourage him and his joy returned.
2 Corinthians 7:5-7 (NLT)
5 When we arrived in Macedonia, there was no rest for us. We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside. 6 But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus. 7 His presence was a joy, but so was the news he brought of the encouragement he received from you. When he told us how much you long to see me, and how sorry you are for what happened, and how loyal you are to me, I was filled with joy!
Know that in the midst of your depression, God’s word offers hope and insight on how to get out of it. Put your hope and trust in God. Praise Him. Worship Him. Put on some worship music and sing to God, ask Him to deliver you from that spirit of depression and know that He will do it. If He did it for the great men of the bible, He will do it for you as well.
Say what you will about Joel Osteen, you would have to be blind to not see that he has the gift of encouragement. Regardless of your denominational affiliation, watching one or two of his sermons if you feel depressed will surely lift you out of it! That is his spiritual gift at work in the body of Christ and at times when you feel like you need it getting a word of encouragement from him will help. Here are some of Joel Osteen’s sermons
Here are some scriptures for you to meditate on to help you out of the depression:
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT)
8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Psalm 3:3 (NKJV)
3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
Psalm 34:18 (NLT)
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Prayer for Depression
Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NLT)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen.
John 16:33 (NLT)
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT)
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
Psalm 118:17 (NLT)
I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done.
Here is a Prayer for Depression:
Holy Spirit you are the Comforter and I ask you to comfort my heart at this time. Fill my mind with your wisdom and enlightenment to see a way out of this state of depression. I ask that you would send forth your warring angels to bind the spirit of depression and evil around me. Close every door that I have left open to this spirit. Send your ministering angels to speak life, truth and hope to me. Guide me on a path of revival and renewal. Refresh my spirit and fill me anew with your joy. May the joy of the Lord be my strength. I repent for not trusting and putting my hope in you. I pray that your grace will fill me and that I will have a renewed hope in Your word and Your promises. Give me the gift of discerning spirits so that will see where and when this spirit of depression comes in and bind it up before it attacks. No weapons that are ever formed against me shall prosper and I know that I shall live and not die to declare the salvation of the Lord. Fill me from the top of my head to the tip of my toes with your Holy Spirit, with Your peace and Your presence, in Jesus name. Amen
Here are some other prayers for you. And some other spiritual warfare prayers.