It seems everyone I know either struggles with depression, or loves someone who struggles with depression, and sometimes both. Depression can be short-lived and circumstantial or chronic and debilitating. Judging by how much God’s Word says about sorrow, sadness, and despair, we can pretty much say that at least a brush with depression is a near-universal human experience. With that in mind, here are two sets of prayers: one so you can pray for a loved one or friend, and a list of Psalms so that you can pray for yourself.

God of hope, please fill _____ with all joy and peace in believing, that he may abound in hope by the power of Your Spirit. Romans 15:13

Father, I ask that You minister to _____ as You did to Elijah. When Elijah was exhausted, discouraged, and ready to quit, You ministered to him miraculously and restored his zeal for You. When Elijah felt alone and abandoned, You not only gave Elijah Yourself, You gave him fellowship with other believers and a partnership with Elisha. In the same way, You strengthened Jesus in Gethsemane and walked in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I am asking that You do the same for _____. Show her that Your grace is sufficient for her, that Your strength is made perfect in weakness. 1 Kings 19, Matthew 26:36-46, Daniel 3: 25, 2 Corinthians 12:9

Hear my prayer, O Lord. In Your faithfulness, answer me. The enemy has persecuted _____’s soul, crushing his life to the ground and making him dwell in darkness. His spirit is overwhelmed within him, and his heart is distressed. Help _____ meditate on all Your works, because his soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Answer speedily, Lord, do not hide Your face from _____. Cause him to know Your lovingkindess in the morning. Help him to trust You and show _____ the way in which he should walk. Deliver _____ from his enemies, teach him to do Your will, and lead him in uprightness. Revive _____, O Lord, for Your name’s sake! Bring his soul out of trouble. From Psalm 88

Father, _____ feels that she is in a desert land, a wasteland, a howling wilderness. Please encircle her, instruct her, and keep her as the apple of Your eye, for You are near to those who have a broken heart. Deuteronomy 32:10, Psalm 34:17

Father, right now _____ is going through a really difficult time, but don’t let him jump to the conclusion that You aren’t on the job. Help him to see that he is in the very thick of what Christ experienced. Give him patience with this spiritual refining process, and remind him that glory is just around the corner. 1 Peter 4:12-13 MSG

Father of mercies and God of all comfort, _____’s heart is faint within her. Help her to cast all her cares on You, for You care for her. Restore to _____ the joy of her salvation, and turn her darkness into light. 2 Corinthians 1:3, Jeremiah 8:18, 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 51:12, 2 Samuel 22:29

Lord Jesus Christ, my God, and my Father, You love _____. Please give him everlasting consolation and good hope by Your grace. Please, Father, comfort his heart and establish him in every good word and work.  May his soul find rest in You alone. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, Psalm 62:5

Father, _____ feels hard pressed on every side; please do not let her be crushed. She is perplexed; rescue her from despair. Do not let her lose heart, but renew her inward man day by day. Help her to recognize that her affliction is light and momentary, working in her a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Help her not to look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things she cannot see are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4: 8, 16-18

Incline Your ear to _____, O Lord, hear his cry. Bring him out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set his feet upon the rock, Christ! Establish his steps. Put a new song in his mouth, a song of praise to You, so that many hear it and see it and trust in You. Do not withhold Your tender mercies from _____, O Lord. Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve him. _____ is poor and needy, yet I know You think on him. You are his help and his deliverer; do not delay, O my God. From Psalm 40

These are just a few Psalms that might help, along with a verse or two from each. In these we hear the despairing psalmist cry out to God:

Psalm 6: I am weary with my groaning. All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief… v.6-7

Psalm 22: David’s prophetic prayer speaks the feelings of Jesus Himself: I am poured out like water… v. 14

Psalm 25: Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; bring me out of my distresses! v. 16-17

Psalm 31: Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; my eye wastes away with grief, yes, my soul and my body! v. 9

Psalm 38: When my sadness is a result of my sin: My sighing is not hidden from You. My heart pants, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes, it has gone from me. v. 9-10

Psalm 40: He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock. v. 2

Psalm 42: My tears have been my food night and day… Why are you cast down, O my soul? v. 3,5, 11

Psalm 51: again, when sin causes grief: Restore to me the joy of Your salvation. v. 12

Psalm 77: My soul refused to be comforted… I am so troubled I cannot speak. v. 2,4

Psalm 88: My soul is full of troubles… I am like a man who has no strength… why do You hide Your face from me? v. 3,4,14. See also Message translation of this one.

Psalm 143: My spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is distressed. v.4

Psalms that encourage me during dark times (I am sure you have your favorites too):

Psalm 16: Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh will also rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in Sheol (the land of the dead)… v.9-10

Psalm 23: Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me… v.4

Psalm 27: I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. v. 13

Psalm 84: Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the valley of weeping, they make it a spring… they go from strength to strength… v. 5-7

Psalm 103: For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust… but the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. v.14,17

Psalm 107: He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. v. 9

Psalm 116: I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. v.1