When You Love Someone Who Has Depression: Pray Together

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She told him she would never, ever pray with him again. Not until he asked—maybe even begged—her to. They’d been praying together every evening for months, but during the holiday season when she’d planned special devotional time as a family, he resisted. Organized religion had not been kind to him and he was wary of such things. She was hurt and angry. How dare he set this example for the children? Did he not respect her at all? She acted out of offense instead of compassion.

So she told him to forget it. They didn’t need him there distracting from the lesson. She said a few other things too. Like she would never pray with him again.

She waited for him to close the space between them. She wanted him to want this as much as she did. But days turned into weeks and weeks into months. Before she knew it, a year had gone by and they hadn’t prayed together one time.

It became easy to forget. He had never been comfortable with it anyway. Did it really matter all that much? She prayed fervently. For him. For them. For their life together. She supposed he prayed too. About what, she didn’t know, but surely he prayed for the same things    she did.

When the depression came again, the space between them became a great, yawning chasm. Not only did she not know how to bridge that gap, there were days when she didn’t want to.

Then, one day, she was on a hike with a friend. This friend told her about how he and his wife prayed together in the mornings. And though they had been married for a while, this was new for them. He told how it was awakening in him a different kind of tenderness for his wife, making their love new in unexpected ways.

As her friend spoke, she felt God gently tugging on her heart. Remember? he asked. Why are you being so prideful? So stubborn?Don’t you know these things create a space all their own? A space so wide the way back to a heart is easily lost.

Suddenly, at the thought of praying with him again, her heart swelled with a new kind of tenderness. She couldn’t wait to see him, to tell him, to start anew.

They began to pray together again. Because she asked him to. And the darkness didn’t feel quite so lonely anymore. Each time she took his hand, their hearts were joined as one. Because when you pray for someone, your heart is tendered toward them. This is why our Lord tells us to pray for our enemies. But when you pray with someone, Jesus comes and stands in the gap between you and joins his heart with both of yours. You become one.
This is how to bridge the gap: Reach out, take his hand in one of yours.

And take the hand of Jesus in the other.

Practice

~Do you pray with your Beloved who has depression? I wonder what would happen to your heart if you did? I wonder what would happen to theirs? It may feel scary, risky, to do this. Do it anyway. And God, who sees your brave heart will be faithful.

~If praying is too hard right now, can you think of another way to join your heart intimately with the Beloved? Look into their eyes, hold hands, wash their feet. Try a new way to be together.

**This Friday series contains reflections on loving someone who has Depression. If you are in this place, or know someone who is, I hope you’ll join me in this journey. These words cannot replace medical or psychological treatment, but I hope they will be a source of encouragement.

Part I: When You Love Someone Who has Depression
Part II: West Virginia Morning: When You Love Someone with Depression, II
Part III: Good Friday
Part IV: Interview with Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Part V: When You Love Someone Who Has Depression: Stigma

Comments

  1. says

    Thank you. I feel like I’ve had a low grade depression most of my life. Thanks for being brave enough to talk about it. Thank your husband too.

  2. says

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

    When Bruce and I got engaged, our premarital counselor encouraged us to pray together out loud every day. He said that couples who prayed together stayed together. — We started doing so immediately. My man was uncomfortable with the practice, but he plowed on through despite his anxiety…. Over the last 6 years of marriage, both of us have struggled with depression, but the daily prayers have continued. We pray on dark days and on light days. We surrender our hearts together, and it has made an incredible difference.

    I think this is excellent advice for every married couple.

  3. says

    These posts have been so powerful, Laura. If we or someone we love hasn’t dealt with depression, then hang on–it’s just a matter of time. Depression touches everybody either directly themselves or indirectly through a friend or family member. Praying with someone does take courage. And humility. My husband and I go through seasons with praying together. It always feels awkward at first, but I’m always glad when we do it. Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. says

    Laura, wonderful post! I am so glad you have been so brave to approach this topic. This here is powerful >> ” Because when you pray for someone, your heart is tendered toward them. This is why our Lord tells us to pray for our enemies. But when you pray with someone, Jesus comes and stands in the gap between you and joins his heart with both of yours. You become one.” Praying for you & your hubby. May God bless him greatly for letting you share so transparently. Blessings!

  5. says

    Laura, another great post. I know in my own life, and in many of my patients, praying together is hard when we are down or embarrassed or feel guilty. But the Lord has kindly shown me that’s because the enemy of our soul doesn’t want us to pray together–that’s waging war against him. God’s word tells us that there is now therefore no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. So that guilt or shame or embarrassment is never from God – it’s a lie from the enemy who seeks to keep us in the pit of depression. Great encouragement you offer today. Praying together is warfare! So proud of you and your vulnerability-Keep it up! Hope Prevails, Dr. Michelle Bengtson (http://www.DrMichelleBengtson.com)

  6. says

    We’ve been praying together for a little more than a year and a half. I’d always resisted it, but good golly, we were desperate. Sometimes it doesn’t look too pretty. Sometimes one of us simply can’t pray. Sometimes something said led to an argument. We’ve kept with it. I don’t know where we’d be now if we hadn’t.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Part I: When You Love Someone Who has Depression Part II: West Virginia Morning: When You Love Someone with Depression, II Part III: Good Friday Part IV: Interview with Dr. Michelle Bengtson Part V: When You Love Someone Who Has Depression: Stigma Part VI: When You Love Someone Who Has Depression: Pray Together […]

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