Depression can have a great impact on our prayer life. When we’re feeling depressed, we tend to have less energy, decreased motivation, negative moods, negative thoughts, and feelings of apathy. This can make it incredibly difficult to even show up to prayer. Here’s some guidance for how to pray when you’re feeling depressed:
- Show up. This is no small task when you’re feeling depressed. Making that act of just showing up to prayer speaks volumes in itself. Even if it’s just putting yourself in the presence of God for five minutes or sitting in your room in the quiet and letting God be with you, these acts keep us in relationship with God. This give us the opportunity to let ourselves be loved.
- Be real. Honest prayer means bringing our whole self to God, which includes our feelings. Depression usually stems from repressing feelings. Showing up honestly in prayer means that I have to bring those feelings with me that I’m trying to avoid. This can be very challenging and even scary. Our mind in all its brilliance is trying to avoid the feelings for a reason. There’s usually pain there or something our mind doesn’t think we’re capable of handling. But the truth is that pain is always finite. Whatever lies behind that door we don’t want to open will not be too much for us. The feelings will pass. Moving through depression means opening that door to see what’s hiding behind it. Bringing these feelings to God is powerful. There we can find security and peace in a Father that loves us. We can let ourselves feel and be seen, which is exactly what these feelings need.
- Let God love you. When we show up to prayer and bring our feelings and struggles to God, we are entering into a relationship. How we see God in this relationship is incredibly important. If we imagine Him responding to us with anything other than compassion and love, we are missing something. Our wounds can shape the way we see God. Imagining God coming to meet you right where you are in the midst of your depression and loving you completely can be a powerful, healing experience.
- Celebrate. Depression is hard. It is very difficult to make good choices and engage in mental activities when we are feeling depressed. We also tend to think very negatively when we’re depressed and focus on what’s going wrong, what we’re messing up, or all the good things we’re not doing. There is so much good in taking time to celebrate our victories and express gratitude for what we are able to accomplish.
God is close to the broken hearted. He was human, too, and knows exactly what it’s like to feel what you’re feeling. He sees you right where you are. He sees your offering of prayer, whether it’s hours of deep consoling prayer or one minute of just showing up. He delights in you, and whatever you have to give him in prayer is more than enough.