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"The entrance of thy words giveth light (Psalm 119:130)."

Prayer Can be Harmful

The following was excerpted from How to Win Over Depression Copyright ©1996 by Tim La Haye.

You may find it strange that a high percentage of depressed people pray frequently. Their undesirable habits of self-pity and continual griping have alienated them even from their dearest friends. Their verbalized self-pity wears out the most persistent friendship until it seems that only God will pay any attention to them. The severely depressed or despondent person, of course, is apt to feel that even God has turned him off.

You may also be surprised to learn that all prayer is not good. In fact, much of what people call prayer is downright harmful because it is contrary to the will of God. Most depressed people use their prayer life to nurse their grudges and announce their self-pity. This is not only debilitating but spiritually harmful.

Moses, one of the great Old Testament saints, offered probably the poorest example of a prayer to be found in the Bible. Admittedly very displeased with the children of Israel for their griping, he turned his displeasure upon God and prayed.

Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them on my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? Where can I get meat for all these people? The keep wailing to me, "Give us meat to eat!" I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now—if I have favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin. (Numbers 11:11-15, italics added)

During the course of his prayer, which began in anger and progressed in self-pity, Moses became so depressed that he actually asked God to let him die. Poor Moses! Resenting the clamor of the people and their rebellion to his leadership, he disregarded God's promise to supernaturally supply all of his needs. He turned inward to self-pity. Count the personal pronouns, there are sixteen! Such prayer will always leave a person depressed.


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