Depression is common in our world today, and those suffering from depression need our prayers. Almost everyone at one time or another feels depressed. Of course, severe or ongoing depression needs to be taken care of by competent health professionals, but there are things we ourselves can do to help alleviate any type of depression or discouragement. We can always pray a prayer for depression.
In today’s world, it can be very easy to become discouraged as sometimes it feels that all is lost, that nothing good is happening, that it’s impossible to rise above the chaos. But take heart! God has a plan and brings good out of evil.
Praying and other helps for depression
When we are going through difficult times, we can find peace and joy in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace (cf. Isaiah 9:6). We can pray for help in our time of trouble. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament awaits us at our local Catholic parishes; Eucharistic adoration is a great way to reach out to our Eucharistic Lord for help in depression (and every other difficulty imaginable!).
The Lord tells us in Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God” (Psalm 40:1-3).
When we feel depressed, praying the precious Name of Jesus is a beautiful practice! We can make the Sign of the Cross (“In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”). We can pray for the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, who loves us with a motherly love.
St. Philip Neri, known for his constant cheerfulness, used to pray, “Let me get through today, and I shall not fear tomorrow.”
“Refresh yourself with spiritual songs, which have often caused the tempter to cease his wiles; as in the case of Saul, whose evil spirit departed from him when David played upon his harp before the king. It is also useful to be actively employed, and that with as much variety as may be, so as to divert the mind from the cause of its sadness” (St. Francis de Sales).
“Suffering borne in the will quietly and patiently is a continual, very powerful prayer before God” (St. Jane Frances de Chantal).
St. John Paul II offers some practical advice:
“In the spiritual process, reading and meditation on the Psalms, in which the sacred author expresses his joys and anxieties in prayer, can be of great help. The recitation of the Rosary makes it possible to find in Mary a loving Mother who teaches us how to live in Christ.
“Participation in the Eucharist is a source of inner peace, because of the effectiveness of the Word and of the Bread of Life, and because of the integration into the ecclesial community that it achieves. Aware of the effort it costs a depressed person to do something which to others appears simple and spontaneous, one must endeavor to help him with patience and sensitivity, remembering the observation of St Therese of the Child Jesus: Little ones take little steps.”
“Lord, help me to live this day quietly, easily. To lean upon Thy great strength trustfully, restfully. To wait for the unfolding of Thy will patiently, serenely. To meet others peacefully, joyously. To face tomorrow confidently, courageously” (St. Francis of Assisi).
“When we accept what happens to us and make the best of it, we are praising God” (St. Teresa of Avila).
“Why must we suffer? Because here below pure Love cannot exist without suffering. O Jesus, Jesus, I no longer feel my cross when I think of Yours” (St. Bernadette).
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22).
There are several patron saints that you may want to ask for intercession as you seek relief from depression; these include St. Jude, St. Dymphna, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Benedict Joseph Labre, and St. Ignatius of Loyola.
St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote the meaningful prayer below; this can be our go-to prayer when we’re struggling with depression or other similar issues.
Catholic Prayer for Depression (Prayer against Depression)
St. Ignatius of Loyola
O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of Your presence, Your love, and Your strength. Help us to have perfect trust in Your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for, living close to You, we shall see Your hand, Your purpose, Your will through all things. Amen.