Depression has a constant companion: anger. But if the anger is hidden under some protective cloak, how are we to see its real face? How do we get in touch with what or with whom we are angry?
Prayer and praying become essential elements here, especially the prayer of the other. For it is in dialogue, in communication, in trustful sharing with another that successive layers of blindness are scraped off, thus giving us the courage, power, and vision to see what is going on inside us.
The key element here is trust, and we will never grasp that element if we don’t venture out, risk, become vulnerable and honest. How can we dare do this, however, if others do not prove themselves to be trustworthy? Such a process will unfold only with the prayer of the other.
Healing happens not so much as the result of a technique or formula, but within an atmosphere of loving communion. Within such an atmosphere we learn that we are OK, that we have something to say that others will find worthwhile. In a trusting, loving atmosphere we learn that we can do things….What holds us back? Perhaps we are afraid that our own creative goodness is not there, that it isn’t really “good” or creative, or that we will be laughed at.
There are countless indications that the prayer of others is present and working in our world. Its power is stupendous. In almost every church, or within reach of every church, we can find a prayer group, charismatic or otherwise. These groups are made up of people who strive mightily in the Lord to create an atmosphere of openness and trust. In their midst, we need not be afraid. Their motive is not to find fault or to compete; rather, honesty rules their actions. In such supportive prayer groups, we learn about who we are and how to live.
Destructive behavior—whether it manifests itself in violence, divorce, alcoholism, drug addiction, apathy, depression, vandalism, or squandered potential—does not happen when the prayer of others is at work. As long as one is embraced in such prayer and the supporting kinds of prayer that accompany it, there is great hope.
From the prayer of the other, we learn trust, and only with trust are we willing to exchange sword for key. Without trust, we would be fools to do so. Until the exchange is made, each of us hides away in a barricaded fortress where the atmosphere, although it feels safe, is not supportive of life.
Excerpted from Overcoming Depressive Living Syndrome by Earnie Larsen
(Liguori Publications 1996)