Monday, August 17, 2009

Worship, and singing to fight depression.

ACTS 16:6Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." 18She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her.
 19When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."
 22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
 25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"
 29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
 31They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household."

When I was a bible study leader in University, I was advised by our Anglican Bible study coordinator that  - singing hymns was not only a waste of time, but it was an activity reserved for drunks in Australia. He seriously believed the Christian meetings should revolve mainly on the study of God's word and all else was absolutely unimportant.

I tried arguing with my fellow brother in Christ. But he had high distinctions from Melbourne Uni and was an ordained minister so it was like talking to the wall.

Anyways, I find that when depression overwhelms me, and when dark thought cloud my mind, when I can't fix anything, I sing.

I like to sing the Gospel songs composed by the American African slaves. I sing, laugh, and ( weep occasionally). I think of what other Christians had to endure - persecutions, famine, man made disasters and natural calamities. And I think of Paul and Silas who after getting imprisoned for a false crime, were whipped and threatened with death.

They must have been feeling pretty crap. I mean, who wouldn't?

They could have whined about it and got totally emo about their situation. They could have been screaming their heads off. But instead they prayed and praised.

Its a funny thing. I actually do find that when I'm feeling absolutely shit and when things seem fcuking hopeless, praying and praise actually does seem to work. Its like there's a secret ingredient to prayer. Maybe its despair, maybe its depression, maybe its that overwhelming desire to put my trust in the almighty (or putting a bullet in my/your brain), maybe its all these things which make praying, singing praises to God all that more real.

Perhaps its that human flaw inside of us - when things are great like in the Garden of Eden - when we've got everything - we don't feel grateful to God or feel very compelled to pray earnestly to Him.

It especially seems to work, well, for me anyhow, when I pray for relatives who have hurt me,  said nasty things about me or treated me with contempt. In moments when its easier and sooooo much more fitting to hurl a curse word or think of the worse possible thoughts of malice and rage - doing the opposite- praying and praising and lifting the matter to God seems to help.

Its not a wonderful hallelujah feeling tho. Its more a feeling closer to having a taste of lukewarm milo when you've shivering cold.

I'm feeling pretty depressed now actually. There are times when I pray, sing, and the problem still remains. I can't believe how some people can be so stubborn and proud. People tell me to give up. But if I do, who else will continue to stand in the defence?

Anyways, if anyone is reading this now and want to help. Maybe you can help pray that I get my act together and finish my company's paper work and accounting - which has gone undone for too long. Pray for order and discipline in my life. And pray that God can show me a way out of the current family predicament that my family is facing.

I pray against the spirit of pride, bitterness, depression, and destruction that has taken such a deep influence in my family, possibly for generations. I pray against it in Jesus' name.

Now I need to walk away from this house for awhile. There's a video editing session in church I'm suppose to join in today. I was thinking of calling in sick. But I've got a sickening feeling of hopelessness inside of me. I need to disconnect. Might as well go.

But first let me sing this song. I sing it without joy or peace. I sing it by faith.

Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray
Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray.
Upon the mountain my Lord spoke
Out of His mouth came fire and smoke
Looked all around me, it looked so fine
Till I asked my Lord if all was mine.
Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray
Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray.
Jordan river, is chilly an' cold
It chills the body but not the soul
There ain't but one train, upon this track
It runs to heaven, an' right back.
Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray
Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray.
Down in the valley, when I feel weak
It's when the devil, use'ly speaks
Because he's crafty, and full of lies
I need the Spirit to keep me wise.
Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray
Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart, I will pray.

Moving in my heart, moving in my heart
Moving in my heart, moving in my heart
Upon the mountain, I will pray.

(I wrote this back in August 2009 - prayer seems to be slowly like a snail)

No comments: