depression (4)

PTAP: Mental Health in Arabia

Pray for individuals currently receiving treatment for mental health conditions.  Pray for freedom from their illness, and for their hearts to feel heard and loved.  Pray for their safety and for cultural acceptance despite acknowledgement of their need for help, especially at this time where many of the Gulf countries are under quarantine.
Pray that God would heal the stigma that exists around mental health in the Arabian Gulf culture.  Pray for families to come around those with mental health challenges instead of push them away.
Pray for a particular local teenager, we will call her Sarah.  Pray that Jesus would completely heal her from the depression she has faced for the last several years.  Pray that suicidal thoughts would cease completely.  Pray for her to have dreams and visions of the Healer while she is receiving inpatient care.  

Pray for professionals working in the mental health arena in the Arabian Gulf.  Ask for wisdom, cultural insight, and innovation as they seek to provide care.  Ask for people with influence to be emboldened to share facts, to quash lies/taboos, and to point people to places they can receive treatment from these professionals. 
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A religious leader who is becoming more and more uncomfortable with his own religion is asking questions to a believer and reading the Book. Ask that he will be given clear understanding and will find the peace that he is seeking. May many others who are under his care join him in his journey.
A new believer struggles with depression. Please pray that she will find much joy in her new relationship with Jesus, that this joy will be noticed by her friends and family so that it brings much glory to the Father and draws others into relationship with Him.
Pray that individual local believers will find each other and become His church in a way that will multiply in their cultural context. Agree that no plan of the enemy will hinder the progress of His Kingdom.
Give praise for the Father's work in the lives of those He is drawing to Himself, and for His faithful patience and sovereign timing. Ask that believers will also have faithfulness and patience in sharing, sensitivity and responsiveness to opportunities, and bear fruit as they abide in Him.
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Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you....1 Peter 5:6-7

PRAYER: (Against Anxiety, Day 1)

Oh Heavenly Father, the Ancient of Days and Lord of the Universe, thank You that You are our Defender, our Shield and Buckler, our Help in Ages past and Hope for those stormy days, yet to come. It is more than humbling that You, Commander of all the legions of armies of angels in Heaven, the God of Eternity, would know not just our individual names, but when the smallest bird falls out of the sky. You name the stars and they bow to You. You command the snow and stop the rain. You cut a highway through the flat bottom of the Red Sea and millions cross on dry land and You roll back the flooding Jordan so the same thing can happen forty years later.
What manner of God is this, that He should do mighty things and powerful things and defeat ungodly giants with a smooth stone yet send the Good Shepherd to pick up a lost lamb and carry it to safety. The knowledge of the Holy is truly humbling and amazing. We tremble at the Power of Your Name, oh Holy One of Israel. Sovereign God we bow this very moment before Your Throne of Power, Love and Gentle Grace which sometimes seems like a frowning Face, but behind it remains a smiling countenance.
So Father, starting now, we refused to participate in the manic mulling of the circumstances of this world with its fears, cares and tears and ditch our anxiety in favor of Your mercy and grace. We know You cared so much for us that You sent the Creator to become like one of His Created so He can minister back to the Throne on our behalf.  Because of that Truth, He knows our loneliness in times where evil seems victorious. He knows our fears for an uncertain future for our families and especially our own grandchildren, made that way by people who misled to get into office so they could then fulfill the plans of the evil one, instead of the people who trusted them to lead.  
He knows our horror at the Word of God trampled by unbelievers, the Will of God thwarted by the prideful and the sinful and the Wonder of God spat upon by the current temporary keepers of culture and society. He knows our deepest longings to belong, not to each other, but to the Source Who created us yet sometimes doubt and even lose hope that You are even listening. He knows that we lack the courage sometimes to take the strong leap of Faith and let God be God and every man a liar. We lack the courage to let You have all that trouble, depress, weigh and oppress and bring us down. We lack, let's face it, oh God, the faith to let You do what You said You would do - Be a Mighty Fortress for us, a Bulwark never failing. Lord, we know, from past victories and triumphs over adversity, evil and improbability that Your Promises are true, but our memories are short and our nature is weak. Lord we believe, help our unbelief. 
Starting right now, most Gracious Heavenly Father, we therefore surrender our weakness to You. This Scripture, Holy-Spirit inspired, clearly states in its original translation that You have more than an interest in us, but at the proper time of Your Choosing, which we know as God's Timing, You will take the course which is most beneficial for us, and raise us out of the pit of despair and fear! That is truly mind-boggling to let sink into our very consciousness and what a Savior! What an incredible  and loving God You are that this is so! So we rest our anxiety of this day on this Truth and this Promise and rest, abide and dwell today in the God given peace, that passes ALL comprehension that as we cast our nets out into Your sea of mercy and loving kindness, we are not simply fishing in unknown waters, but in the vast ocean of certainty of Your Love, through Jesus Christ our King, amen.
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             “If clearness about things produces a fundamental despair, a fundamental despair in turn produces a remarkable clearness or even playfulness about ordinary matters.” (George Santayana, The Background of My Life, 1944)


                People across America were saddened last week to learn that comedian and actor Robin Williams had died, apparently by suicide. It was also reported that he had suffered from severe depression.He was well known for rapid-fire improvisations and serious dramatic roles. He was also known for his charitable work, kindness, generosity, and entertaining U.S. troops overseas. President Obama called Williams “one of a kind.” Then the president said “he touched every element of the human spirit; he made us laugh, and he made us cry.”


                Williams had problems with drugs and alcohol, but had sought treatment. He’d also had heart surgery in 2009, something that caused him to take a serious look at his personal life. Acknowledgment of his severe depression came as no surprise to many. Ordinary people can identify with his despair; people who “have it made” also can, realizing it is possible to have everything and still feel like dying.


                Though some people talk about depression as a character flaw or sin, followers of Christ are not exempt. And despite simplistic statements that people just need to “pull themselves out of it”, recovery is far more complicated. If we want to reach out to people suffering from recurring depression, we must realize they need more than a push to “get moving”. It we want to help, we must realize the truth of what Plato said—“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”


                To be honest, some sadness and depression are normal in every human life. Moses was in such despair he asked God to take his life (Numbers 11:14-15). Elijah was so deeply depressed he prayed to die (1 Kings 19:4). Psalm 42 is a meditation by a person suffering from depression.


                Difficult circumstances may darken our mood. At other times, we may feel down for no apparent reason. This is part of the pain of being human. But there’s also clinical or chronic depression—a pervasive, persistent despair having nothing to do with our circumstances. This is the dark night of the soul that F. Scott Fitzgerald said made it “always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.” Most people with chronic depression can find help from prescribed medications and counseling.


                The person who wrote Psalm 42 was obviously suffering from depression—perhaps situational, certainly painful. But the psalmist did not give up, believing that God and not depression would have the last word. “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.”


                Plato was right—everyone we meet is fighting a hard battle. Every human being has pain, whether the cause is visible or not. So we should have a heart and empathize with others.

                No matter what we go through, we cannot control what happens to us but we can control how we respond to our experiences. Victor Frankl learned this lesson in a  WWII concentration camp: “the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”  We can choose to respond with humble gratitude for the many blessings from God we have received; with patient trust in God’s faithfulness even when we cannot see the ultimate destination of our difficult journey; with courage to face each day’s challenge as it comes, depending on the power of Christ within our hearts.


                Williams was once asked, “If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?” In response, the comedian told a joke about a concert including Mozart and Elvis, then said he’d like to know that there’s laughter. There is laughter in heaven (Luke 15:7; Revelation 12:10-12). There is also joy in the here and now, as we draw near God (Psalm 16:11).


                “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Therefore I will hope in him!” (Lamentations 3:22-24 NLT)


             Johnny R. Almond

             Christian preacher and writer

             Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity


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