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Michael wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Do you have any suggestions for prayers to deal with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and struggles with temptation?

Some help on this would be appreciated. I want to have these handy for a rainy day.

Spontaneous prayer is useful but so are recited prayers uttered in faith.

Regards,

Michael

  { Do you have any prayer ideas to deal with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and temptations? }

John replied:

Hi, Michael —

I might recommend a few Scriptures.

First, the entire Epistle to the Philippians, as it is called the Epistle of Joy.

Psalm 139 is particularly good when dealing with issues of self-esteem but even the notion of self-esteem is not what our focus should be. Rather it should be God esteem. Allow me to explain:

In Psalm 139, David writes, or starts out fairly melancholic (and I'll paraphrase)

He says, even if my soul is in the depths of Sheol, you are there Lord . . . but then he goes on . . .

You created my inner most being, you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I will praise you God for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

  • See what I mean?

It's not self-image, or self-worth, or self-esteem, rather it is understanding the God made us which is what makes us valuable. God never took the time make a nobody. God doesn't make junk!!

Let's take a natural example. The Mona Lisa is one of the most valuable paintings in world.

Now someone could copy it and it could look exactly the same but it wouldn't be worth as much.

Why?

  • It's paint on a canvas.
  • Both are equally beautiful. In fact, the reproduction, might be more expensive and have better paint!
  • So what makes the original worth more?

What gives that paint on canvas value is the signature: Leonardo Da Vinci, the one who painted it.

So we need to get our focus off ourselves and on to our Creator. God thought us up. God doesn't have bad ideas. He doesn't have a great idea one day and the next day, because He's not feeling so creative, He thinks up something or someone that's not so swift. In that respect, you and I are the best idea God ever had . . . but it's God's idea.

Depression can come from many things. Obviously, sometimes it's chemical issue and it needs to be dealt with medically but really, depression is rooted in pain, worries, and concerns — all things that make us focus on ourselves rather than on God and others.

Being made in the Image of God, we are called to be and or become God-like. Well, God is self-giving by His nature. He loves, so we too are called to that self-giving love ourselves. As we focus on Him, and get our eyes off ourselves, we allow Him to work in and through us, and then we begin to embrace and operate in the gifts of Faith, Hope, and Love (Charity) and therein comes our Joy.

So we need to change our stinking thinking. We need to get God's Word inside of us so that it comes out of us. The Scriptures / the Bible is God's Written Word. We are called to read it daily and meditate on it, not to learn stuff but to get to know God. That is where our Joy comes from. That's where our Hope comes from. We need to start believing what God says about us, as Christians, and as believers. We are more than conquerors through the blood of Christ. We can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13) In Him we live, and move, and have our being. (Acts 17:28) Greater is He who is in us than is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

St Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 do not be conformed by the world but transformed by the renewing of the mind.

  • What does that mean?

Well, the world tells us we are inadequate.

  • We're not pretty enough
  • we're not sexy enough
  • we're not in shape enough
  • we don't have the right clothes
  • we don't have the right car
  • we're too short
  • we're too fat
  • we're to tall
  • we're too skinny
  • we need cosmetic surgery
  • we need make up
  • blah, blah, blah

and we can be shaped by these external forces. Our thinking can be shaped by the insults, the hurts, the teasing, and the bullying that we endure all throughout life and it can get to the point, that even when someone is trying to encourage us, we take it as a knock, then soon enough, we start believing the lie of satan: that God is doing these things to us for whatever reason!!

So as Christians, we need to resist these external forces and allow God to transform us. We do that by getting our eyes off of ourselves and our situation and look up and get our eyes on God. Read and believe what God thinks about you. He made you to spend time with you. He not only loves you but He likes you. He's got nothing better to do than to spend time with you!!

I'm assuming your Catholic. If so:

  • live the sacramental life, and
  • go to Confession regularly — get your shortcomings and sins off your chest.

When the priest absolves you, know that you clean. That's it. Forgiven! Act like it. Hold your head up high. Receive the Eucharist and, when possible, spend time in Adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament. If your parish doesn't have Adoration just spend some time in front of the Tabernacle.

If you're not Catholic, you can't receive the sacraments, but you can spend time in front of the Eucharist or Tabernacle. Put all your stuff at Jesus's feet and leave it there.

During the offertory of the Mass (the collection) I make a habit of not just putting my money in the basket but I mentally put all my troubles, my sins, and myself in that basket to be brought to the altar and given to Him then I ask Him for the strength and wisdom to leave it there.

So in summary, get you're eyes off of yourself and on Him. Let Him point out where you need to grow but just enjoy being with Him. Read the Bible, in particularly, for now, Philippians and Psalm 139. If you're Catholic, take advantage of the sacraments and consider a spiritual director.

On a more secular side, don't be afraid to see a good counselor and, if really needed, consider a psychiatrist as [he or she] may find it necessary to treat you with medicine.

God Bless and stay in touch.

John

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