If you have never had any sadness, heartbreak or have felt unaccepted in your lifetime do not continue to reading.  You will be wasting your time! For those of you who have had these struggles in your life there is a cure. If you continue to read this paper you will find that your sadness will transform into joy, that your broken heart will be healed and be stronger than ever, that your feeling of any unhappiness will wash away into something truly beautiful. Before I begin to clarify and expound, please know that you will still have struggles in your life. This is not a magical paper that will make all of your problems disappear, but it will give you the tool needed to obtain joy and happiness using one of our most powerful weapons - prayer.

There is a disease that contains all the ramifications of sadness; this disease is called depression. This monster of a disease is unlike any other disease in the world, because every case is different; one person may have family problems, while another may have social issues. No two cases are exactly the same. This uniqueness of every person’s situation makes it very difficult for doctors to prescribe medication. Surprisingly depression is one of the most common diseases in the world. Studies show that one out of five people will experience depression in their lifetime! This pandemic of depression hits its victims hard and has tremendous effects on all aspects of their lives. God has not abandoned these victims for dead.

The Bible contains many cases of depression. Elijah one of the most spiritual men in the Bible suffered from depression at a point in his life. Looking at Elijah’s life there is transformation in personality in a short period of time from a proud man to a depressed and even a suicidal man. In 1 Kings 18, Elijah stands up to Ahab by himself. What courage this took to stand up to a man who has been hunting him down. Soon after Elijah challenges the 450 prophets of Baal to a test of whose God is real. What trust in the Lord this must have taken to put your faith on the line like this, we even  see Elijah taunting the prophets saying “Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling” ( 1 Kings 18:27). What nerves he must have had to done this when he was out numbered 450 to one! But in 1 Kings 19 Elijah has a very different personality, Jezebel who at the time was trying to kill Elijah sent word to him saying “may the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them (the 450 prophets of Baal that Elijah had slaughtered).” Elijah becomes afraid and runs for his life; what has happened to the man we say a couple of days before standing before Ahab with courage and strength? Elijah runs over 100 miles to escape Jezebel. (That’s over four marathons!) Elijah was mentally and physically exhausted (1 Kings 18:42). Elijah in this exhaustion prayed: “I have had enough, Lord take my life; I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:4). If this isn’t depression I don’t know what is!  Elijah has come to the point that he has asked God to take his own life.

When we are weak as Elijah was Satan attacks us. Satan knows to attack us when we are most vulnerable. Imagine that you have had the worst day of your life at work and on the way home your car breaks down on the side of the road you have to walk home ten miles. When you get home your spouse asks you a question that can determine the outcome of your home and future. How well are you going to be able to make this decision after a day like that? Elijah is in a similar situation; his weakness allowed Satan to attack and Elijah becomes depressed. The Lord knew Elijah’s state of mind and weakness and sent an angel to give him food and water  - three times restoring his strength. Although this gave Elijah his strength back, he was not cured of his depression … yet. He traveled 40 days and nights to the mountain of God. You may be looking at this and thinking, why is this important, but this is actually very important. Elijah was looking for God’s help; he knew that he was depressed and felt abandoned. The Lord came to Elijah, and Elijah said “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (1 Kings 19:10) Elijah then repeats the exact same thing to the Lord, has Elijah forgotten what Obadiah has told him there are 100 prophets that Obadiah has hidden? God tells Elijah to go back to where he has come from and Elijah does and his depression has been defeated. Elijah met with the Lord on the mountain of God and his depression is healed.

This is the key for us to defeat this disease. When we meet with the Lord we need to be totally honest with him. Tell God exactly how you feel; ask him to help and deliver you from your depression; ask the Lord to fill you with joy and to heal your broken heart. When we meet truly meet with the Lord our prayers will be answered. God will free us from the chains that bind us and give us the joy that comes from our salvation in him.

Meeting with the Lord is the key for us to receive healing from depression, but this does not mean that we don’t have to work at getting out of this depression as well. We have to work at defeating depression, using prayer and taking baby steps. Taking baby steps means that we must take small steps towards healing one day at a time. We cannot defeat depression in one day; there is no magic word that will cure you forever. A baby step that we can take is reading our Bibles daily. Many depressed Christians stop reading their Bibles as they have no motivation left to read, while other Christians attempt to read too much of their Bible in an attempt to regain the feeling of being with the Lord. To read your Bible, set a time in the day where you spend devoted to reading and understanding what the Scripture says, as well as making the reading manageable. Don’t try to spend three hours reading the Bible. Try reading for a half an hour a day and work your way up from there. For depressed Christians, I suggest the book of Psalm, which can treat depression better than many modern day medications. Another baby step that we can take is to carry around an inspirational Bible verse. The Lord does not leave us without encouragement. I personally get encouragement from Romans 15:13.

These baby steps that have been discussed are important, but there is one baby step that rises above the others; this would be prayer. Prayer is our lifeline to God. What is so great about prayer is that we will never be put on hold; we will never disconnected; we have someone that we can talk to 24/7. Many depressed Christians often put God on the hold or give him a busy signal. This is counterintuitive to our healing. We cannot fix ourselves; trust me I have tried and it certainly doesn’t work. It drives you into a deeper depression and steals all hope from within. Through prayer we can regain this lost hope and turn it into joy. Praying for healing from depression takes repetition; it is not a onetime prayer and your healed, it takes time.

There are many different ways that we can pray for healing, I will list three different ways that you can use to use prayer. Pray using Scripture. This works very well in curing depression. Look through the book of Psalms to find certain verses that speak to you. Then pray out to God quoting the Scripture and telling Him how you honestly feel. A few verses that I have found helpful are Psalm 62:5, “Find rest O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” Psalm 126:5 those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy, and Psalm 147:3; “He hears the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” These are three of the many verses that show that our brokenness will be healed, that our tears will turn into joyous songs that we don’t have to put ourselves but we can put our hope in God.

Another technique that we can use for prayer is to pray for others. You may have read that last sentence and be confused. How can praying for someone else heal us from our depression? It heals us because it takes the focus off of our problems and ourselves. As humans we are selfish and primarily think about ourselves, furthermore when we are depressed we tend to spend time focusing on how bad our lives seem.  We make every little bad thing that happens turn into “the end of the world.” Praying for others allows us to forget about our problems and focus on the problems of someone else, who may be less fortunate than us. When we begin to worry about others, it allows God to take control of our lives without us even knowing it.

One of the most effective prayers, but also most challenging prayers, you can speak to God is prayers of thankfulness for what you have. When depressed we feel that we have absolutely nothing good in our lives. Spend time thinking about what you are thankful for, whether it is a roof over your head, a loving family, food, water or friends. It doesn’t matter what you are thankful for, but it does accomplish something very important. Praying this way halts us from expanding the smallest problems in our life into huge ones. It helps shrinks our problems back into reality proportions. When we become grateful our depression slowly lifts away and we can obtain the abundant joy in Christ that we were meant to live out.

We were not meant to live indefinitely in depression.  While we don’t have the power to change ourselves, we know the One who give us His power through simple baby steps in prayer.  There is no use in trying to cure ourselves, because all we will to do is dig ourselves into a deeper hole. Just like Elijah we can get out of this depression, but the only way that we can get out of this whole is to give everything to God, allowing his hope to flow thorough us, obtain healing and joy through the Word of the Lord, by meeting with the Him and using our most powerful communication with the Lord - PRAYER!