Vincent Van Gogh, 1890, “Old Man in Sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity)”
Psalm 143.7-11 (NLT)
7 Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
for my depression deepens.
Don’t turn away from me,
or I will die.
8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I run to you to hide me.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.
11 For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.
Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.
Susan Paloschi, “Concentration”
I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you
with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
O Holy Spirit,
descend plentifully into my heart.
Enlighten the dark corners
of this neglected dwelling
and scatter there
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5
Most gracious and kindhearted Father, my heart goes out and my prayers reach up today on behalf of those who struggle with various degrees of depression. There are people I deeply care about who live all along the axis of mild seasonal melancholy to the relentless pangs of suicidal depression.
Father of mercies and God of all comfort, lead me in my praying and my caring for this wide range of friends. Thank you for rescuing me from a way too simplistic view of depression by which I used to judge those who experience darkness and despair of soul. It saddens me to realize the pressure I put on people to get better… to “get over it”… and just to be happy.
But David asked the right question, Father—the question I want to ask as I seek to love well. What are the various reasons for a downcast disturbed soul, and what does hoping in you look like for each?
Father, for my friends who are depressed for no other reason than living with a grace-less gospel-less heart… keep them miserable until they rest in the finished work of your Son, Jesus. May they despair of their own unrighteousness and their wanna-be-righteousness, until they are driven to the righteousness that comes from faith in Jesus.
Father, for my friends who suffer from depression generated by anatomical anomalies, lead them to the right kind of medical care. And help us in the community of faith be patient and understanding of the complexities involved in their care. The risk of abusing “meds” is always there… give us wisdom together.
Father, for my friends who suffer from demonic induced depression… I really need humility and wisdom about this one. A part of me doesn’t even want to acknowledge this is a viable issue, but how can I read your Word and dismiss the demonic so lightly? I know his condemning… blaming and shaming voice is enough to generate the deepest forms of despair. But teach me more about the “schemes of the enemy,” and how to care for those under the spell and sway of the “defeated-yet-fury-filled” one, who knows “his time is short.” (Revelation 12:12)
Pastor Scotty Smith
Whose power is infinite and wisdom infallible, order things that they may neither hinder,
nor discourage me,
nor prove obstacles to the progress of Thy cause.
Stand between me and all strife, that no evil befall, no sin corrupt my gifts, zeal, attainments.
May I follow duty and not any foolish device of my own.
Permit me not to labour at work which Thou wilt not bless,
that I may serve thee without disgrace or debt.
Let me dwell in Thy most secret place under thy shadow,
where is safe impenetrable protection from the arrow that flieth by day,
the pestilence that walketh in darkness,
the strife of tongues,
the malice of ill-will,
the hurt of unkind talk,
the snares of company,
the perils of youth,
the moumings of old age,
the fear of death.
I am entirely dependent upon Thee for support, counsel, consolation.
Uphold me by Thy free Spirit,
and may I not think it enough to be preserved from falling,
but may I always go forward, always abounding in the work Thou givest me to do.
Strengthen me by Thy Spirit in my inner self for every purpose of my Christian life.
All my jewels I give to the shadow of the safety that is in Thee—
my name anew in Christ,
my body, soul, talents, character,
my success, wife[husband], children, friends, work,
my present, my future, my end.
Take them, they are Thine, and I am thine, now and for ever.
From “The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions” ed. by Arthur Bennett