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5 Psalms for Praying Through Depression

These healing words of Scripture can sustain you throughout the day.

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Depression. It can come on as quite a shock. Often with no rhyme or reason. “What’s wrong with me?” I’ll ask. “Why do I feel so blue?” It can linger, too. Not like a cold or a sore throat that you get over in a matter of days. What to do?

Working with a therapist can be very helpful. Although I’ve never had to take medication, I understand that it can offer relief. But for me, prayer is essential. Praying through the depression with the help of Scripture.

Every morning as I eat my oatmeal, I read a few Psalms. I can hold on to a verse and feed on its healing words throughout the day, as nutritious as the oatmeal. Here are a few I’ve prayed over the years.

1)  I waited patiently for the Lord: he inclined to me and heard my cry. (Psalm 40:1) Waiting. So much of life is waiting. When you’re feeling blue you want God—somebody—to flick a switch and bring the light back into your life. Now, now, now. But there’s power in the mere waiting. Give yourself time. Put yourself in a prayerful place where God can find you.

2)  I lift up my eyes to the hillsfrom where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2) I remember visiting an elderly woman, the widow of my pastor. All she had was a small studio apartment with a view of the mountains. She gestured to view and said, “I lift up eyes to the hills…” What a poignant reminder. Healing comes from on high.

3)  The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18) Nobody knows better how we feel than God. The Lord has a special calling for the brokenhearted, for us when we feel crushed in spirit. What you can’t explain to a loved one, or struggle for words to tell a talk therapist, you can share with God. No need to hide anything. The Lord is right there with us, all the more so when we’re suffering.

4)  But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head. (Psalm 3:3) Don’t get all caught up in the distractions that fill our days—our phones, emails, the news on TV or our computers. Wherever I look around at a crowd, everybody’s staring down at their phones, heads and shoulders slumped over. The Lord is there to shield us from the worst. God lifts up our heads. Look up.

5)  You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. (Psalm 30:11) Sometimes we forget to mourn. In Biblical times mourning was rigorously practiced. Feeling the excruciating pain of a loss. Feeding it. Sackcloth was a rough, coarse cloth people wore to mark their humility, their suffering. Lowering ourselves, dropping down, asking for God’s mercy, can be exactly what allows us to step back into the dance of life. Allowing ourselves to be clothed with joy.

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