“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 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.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” Phil. 4:4-8
Encountering God in prayer can bring us emotional peace. Having a lifestyle that includes a spiritual “rule of life” can help us deal with depression. The practice of the presence of God can greatly help our depression. Spirituality can give us a safe place to release our dark emotions, place them in a larger context, and find new hope. Believing that there is a all powerful and all loving eternal Spirit upon who we can cast our cares because this infinite Spirit cares for us can be a huge help in releasing anxiety and fears that we feel are simply bigger and heavier than we can carry.
One critical practice that we need to have in our lives is the preaching of the gospel to ourselves. To focus on what is ultimately true. The gospel is that God so loved us that HE committed HIMSELF to us unconditionally and totally in the person of Christ Jesus and in a massive sacrifice paid for all our moral mistakes and errors in his suffering and death on the cross. He proved that this payment made us free of moral debt by being raised from the dead.
Christ provided the basis of God totally accepting us and forgiving us. In Christ, God is on our side and nothing can separate us from the Divine Love. This good news can help us put our lives into a different perspective.
Our pain does matter to God and cannot separate us from his great compassion, care, and purpose. God is good, great, full of grace, is with us in this difficult and painful world working even our most painful moments out for ultimate good. This grand “God story” focused on the person of Christ Jesus can help us to put our fear and despair into perspective. Focusing on this truth and verbally saying it out loud to ourselves, can help the feelings of depression weaken.
There is also a prayer of release that has historically helped people get in touch with a sense of calmness that comes from God. Take the following steps to practice this discipline of prayer.
The first step is to place your palms of your hands down towards the ground and make fists. Then imagine your depression and all the reasons for the depression moving out of your heart into your hands. You can name your depression and the things concerning you before God. For example, “Lord, you know that I am worried about my children and their future” or “Lord I have great fear about losing everything”.
The second step is to release your concerns to Christ Jesus. You continue to pour your concerns into your closed hands till you feel you are carrying all you can and then lift your hands up and open them with palms up and say “Lord I release to you the worry I have for my children. Lord I release to you the fear I have of losing everything.” The key here is to just imagine that your depression and concerns are being taken out of your hands and being given to Christ Jesus to carry for you.
The final step is to imagine that into your open and empty hands the Lord Jesus is now pouring HIS peace that goes beyond understanding. Pray, “Lord give me your peace.” See the peace of God in your imagination moving from your hands, down your arms and into your heart. Just be still before God with upraised hands receiving HIS peace into your heart.
End your time of prayer with a thanking the Lord for taking your burdens and giving you peace.
This is just one of several aspects of living spirituality that can help us to deal with our depression. The use of other methods such as medication, exercise, and counseling does not by the way demonstrate a lack of faith. God gives us many different ways to help us deal with the darkness of depression. We should use all the tools and not limit ourselves to only one. Next to come will be how can we develop a lifestyle of which will help our soul over come depression.