Lifting Each Other Up in Prayer

I felt the power of prayer wrapping around me, easing my stress.

By Brigitte Weeks

As appeared in

The apostles often met together and prayed with a single purpose in mind… Acts 1:14 (CEV)

Depression is a fierce enemy, making it a struggle just to stand up, get dressed and walk around. In living with it, the name of the game is to look and act ordinary. So while I was waiting for my treatment, I decided to go to church.

St. Bartholomew’s Church on New York City’s Park Avenue is a beautiful building, always full of life, children, music and people from every corner of a great city. The opening hymn, “O Sacred Head Sore Wounded,” about Jesus’ Crucifixion, made me feel ashamed to feel so wretched, to be suffering while clothed, fed, and surrounded by loving family and friends. Phrases from my down-to-earth English childhood came back to me: “Snap out of it, dear. Pull yourself together.”

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I am trying, Lord, I would say to myself.

And then the service moved on to the Prayers of the People, asking for help for the hungry, poor and oppressed of the world, the sick and suffering, “and those we name now.” And the names rolled out, none familiar to me, but each carrying a hidden history. And then, “Brigitte Weeks,” said the lay minister.

They are praying for me. All those strangers, row upon row, are praying for me.

We hear so much about the power of prayer. Now I felt it wrapping around me, easing the stress in my shoulders, unclenching my hands. The depression wasn’t gone–there was no miracle cure–but a day that before had been cold and gray was now soft and warm.

Thank You, Lord, for that caring congregation that lifted my spirit with their prayers.

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Thank you for sharing, Brigitte. It is so unfortunate that people who never lived with depression cannot understand the inner struggle one is going through just to keep up a happy face, and also the amount of effort required to keep up the energy in order to function as "normal" while the heart is crying. God bless you and keep you healthy, Brigitte.