Prayer is certainly important, especially in the life of the church. However, despite the amount of time we have spent looking at prayer and even practically applying it, prayer is often hard at the best of times. But it is hardest during anxious or depressed times. During these times, most of us find it hard to concentrate, we feel God is far away, and we feel hopelessness concerning God hearing or helping us. Still, prayer can be easier and more encouraging to us in such dark and disturbing times. Therefore we need to be aware of how we can approach the Lord in these times, as we seek comfort:
Acknowledging the Lord is to be our primary approach as depression and anxiety can make us self-centered and sometimes self-obsessed. We focus on all our lacks and hurts. This would be considered a time of adoration as we pray.
But when we turn to prayer, it helps us to put God at the center of our lives. Therefore, we to start prayer with worshipping God for who He is, and what God has done. We praise Him by calling to mind His attributes and character. This gives us a God-centered view of our world and ourselves.
After turning to who God is, we can then admit who and what we are and are not. This is considered confession. Confession is simply telling God honestly who we are and where we are.
We should firstly be comforted to know that God already knows all things about us, but He still asks us to pour out our hearts to Him. This is also therapeutic for us, to hear ourselves describe ourselves in the presence of the God who understands our weaknesses and who forgives our sins. Depression and anxiety bring guilt, which crushes our spirits and closes our lips. Yet, when we confess and live in transparency before the Lord, when begin notice the load is off of our shoulders and on to Christ’s.
Build up your trust in the Lord through prayer. Examples such as Psalm 42, 43, 37, and 73 demonstrate expressions of trust build. The approach is to express our confidence in God, for the Lord is honoured when we are faithful in this regard.
Come expressing your need! Murray says, ‘God can supply all our needs in the blink of an eye without our asking.’ However, God asks us to ask and to look to Him for everything we need. Therefore we need bring Him our physical needs, emotional needs, mental needs, spiritual needs, social needs, and even occupational needs.
Then finally, give thanks! As expressed earlier, depression and anxiety can take our attention to what we lack, and so it’s important to take time to remember all God has given to us and has done for us. Ask the Lord to help you see what you often are blind to or just take for granted. Start with the basics right in front of you. Consider what & who He has brought to you; family, friends, church, etc.
And so prayer is rarely easy, even in our seasons of prosperity. However, when we consider the 5 characteristics to our approach, it may make things easier in times of depression and anxiety. Therefore, may the Lord be your joy and peace. Confess your sins and faith. Express your thanks, and rest in His grace!
For more helpful resources, check out:
David Murray – Christians Get Depressed Too & Why Am I Feeling Like This