This morning I prayed a prayer that God has already answered. This sounds a bit daft so let me explain, here is the prayer:
Produce in me self-despair that will
make Jesus precious to me,
delightful in all his offices,
pleasurable in all his ways,
and may I love his commands
as well as his promises
(The Valley of Vision, p333)
This is part of a longer prayer which I was reading when the words “produce in me self-despair” arrested me — I know self-despair well, why would anyone ask God for it?
The rest of the line explains: to make Jesus precious to me.
I have been praying the same in reverse — I have self-despair, please give me hope in Christ.
Reading what some Puritan wrote hundreds of years ago opened my eyes to meaning within my depression. I have given up hope in myself, in the most desperate times all that remains is a plea to God. Jesus says, ask and I will give you eternal life (see John 4:10 & 14).
While I hate depression and do what I can to avoid the despair, this prayer gives me a glimpse of what may be God’s perspective on it. Despairing of hope from within, I seek Christ to be all for me.
The love of my children.
Fear and uncertainty holding me back from stupid choices.
My family who loves and needs me as I am.
The desire to write, even if I don’t know what.
Happy memories to cling to.
Encouragement from friends.
A few days off.