Let me be clear, right up front, that I’m not writing about legitimate, chemical imbalances that people have and that cause them to be depressed. These are serious and real for many people.
I am writing about depression that is spiritual. A spirit of heaviness characterizes it. It is an oppressive and demonic spirit that causes people to be downcast in their soul and depressed in their spirit. It’s a formidable stronghold that needs to be pulled down. Martyn Lloyd-Jones makes the point, “There is no end to the ways in which the devil produces spiritual depression. The devil’s one object is so to depress God’s people that he can go to the man of the world and say: There are God’s people. Do you want to be like that? [Italics mine]”[i]
Depression not only comes from rejection, it comes from satanic lies: God doesn’t love you. Look at your situation. Nothing is going to change. There’s no hope for you! You’re done! It’s over! He keeps whispering those things into your ear, they trickle down to your heart and depression sets in.
Depression can come from a generational mindset. Your family and you now own words spoken to your great-grandfather. It says, “We’re losers; we’re victims; we’re poor and needy; nothing is going to change for us; we’ll never get out of here; we have no hope; we can never be better than what we are today; we’re stuck in this circumstance.”
Depression can come from human wounding. It can come from abuse—verbal, physical and sexual. It can come from withholding emotional affirmation and love. Depression can come from neglect.
Many things can cause people to be depressed. This spirit of heaviness will become a stronghold of depression when it’s given more attention, more justification, and more power in your life than God’s ability to change it, bring hope and healing.
David wrote in Psalm 27:13,14, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
For me personally, I would have lost heart; I would have quit; I would have given up; I’d be in bed; I’d be in the hospital. I would have lost heart if I didn’t believe that I would see the goodness of God in the land of the living. I would have lost heart if I hadn’t given myself to meditate day and night on the goodness of God even in the midst of debilitating pain. I would have lost heart if I didn’t know that the sun was going to come up tomorrow, that I wouldn’t see the mighty hand of God before me in the midst of my adversity.
David (and I) say to you who are in that depressed place where you would have lost heart, I want you to wait. “Waiting” here is remaining with a hopeful expectation of something good coming your way. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart. When the stronghold of depression comes our way, we need to wait with hopeful expectation on the blessing of God being returned to our life.
When we don’t wait on the Lord we sometimes find ourselves stuck in the “why.” That’s a dangerous place to be. We can certainly ask “why?” but we can’t camp out there. Jesus asked why at the cross, but He didn’t stay there—He didn’t focus on it.
Instead of the “why” we need to move into trust. We need to move into the “what” of the hopeful expectation that God keeps all of His promises. We must move into the “what” that God, in His timing, cause something good to happen.
The source of pulling down this stronghold comes from God’s Word and prayer. Below is a PreScripture Prayer for Depression. As the other ones in this series, you can say this every day, five times a day or whatever it takes to help you pull down the debilitating stronghold of spiritual depression.
Depression PreScripture Prayer
Father, I thank and praise You that You comfort me when I mourn, that You give me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. (Isaiah 61:3)
Thank you for turning my mourning into dancing and removing my sackcloth and clothing me with gladness. (Psalm 30:11)
Jesus, I love how You turn my sorrow to joy. (John 16:20)
I’m grateful that Your joy is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
I praise You that through hearing and believing Your Word, Your joy can remain in me. (John 15:11)
Thank You that You desire for me to have joy that is full. (John 16:24)
I know that joy is part of Your Kingdom and available to me. (Romans 14:17)
And, that joy is one of the fruits of Your Spirit at work within me. (Galatians 5:22)
I’m thankful that You fill me with Your joy. (Acts 13:52)
And, in Your Presence is the fullness of joy. (Psalm 16:11)
Lord, I choose to be thankful for all things. (Ephesians 5:20)
And, in the midst of all things. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
I choose to rejoice always because this is Your will for me. (1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18)
I can do this because You make all things work together for my good. (Romans 8:28)
And, because I can do all things through Jesus who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
Jesus, I believe that the abundant life You came to give everyone is mine, now. (John 10:10)
Father, I repent of negative thinking that has stolen my joy, I choose to meditate on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of a good report, things that are virtuous and praise worthy.
God of hope, as I hear and believe Your truth fill me with all joy and peace, I want to abound with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus Name. (Romans 15:13)