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Are We Listening?

June 14, 2013


“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.  Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,…”  Ephesians 6: 18-19

Since I gave out my telephone number in a blog several days ago my phone has been ringing off the hook.  I just knew there were folks out there who struggle with depression and other mental health issues like myself.  The calls were 50-50 between those needing encouragement and prayer, and the other half calling to encourage and pray for me.

Most all of those calling for help have experienced apathy and rejection from the “church” because of their issues.  They had been told by “church leaders” that they needed to pray more and sin less.  The majority of “Christians” out there have no clue of how to address, treat, or pray for those with mental issues, and what they don’t understand they tend to label as demonic activity.  When those who suffer reached out to the “church” for help, prayer and encouragement; what they got was rejection and judgement.

This is why most people who struggle with mental and emotional issues never ask for help.  Because when they have in the past they were totally misunderstood and then treated like some sort of leper.  Many who ask for help are then labeled “less than” and then ignored for the most part.  This is what the “church” does when they don’t understand the person or the problem.  I am certain there are some “churches” out there who do help and understand, but for the most part this is not true.  And it is not just the “churches” that don’t understand, it is society in general.  

So how can we help the suffering?  Mostly by listening and allowing people to tell their own whole story.  If they can get what is bothering them off their chest it helps immensely.  If you are a totally engaged listener you are more likely to be trusted than those who only listen in part because they feel they need to supply immediate feedback and an antidote.  We need to show love and appropriate concern, but the truth is that this does not take a whole lot of words on our behalf and surely not in the beginning.  After we have heard their story and prayed about it, we can then give them comforting words and support.  Remember Proverbs where it says, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is the timely spoken word.”

This is a HUGE topic and I am not an expert by any means, but I hope what I have shared here helps some.  When you pray for someone it is vitally important that we only pray as the Spirit leads us.  In most cases I am not equipped to give expert advice.  So I hold back on what I think I want to say and instead hopefully say only what God desires me too.  Thanks to all those who called to encourage me, I really appreciate it.  Let me stress this one more time….NEVER underestimate the value of listening.  To both God and those you serve.

Love and….

Kirk Out !

p.s.  Sometimes folks need more than prayer or wise counsel.  At times they may need medication and medical support.  Pray about it and don’t play doctor.  If you feel they may need professional help, call and help them make an appointment.  If possible drive them there yourself.  It is important to be there for them before, during, and after the healing process.  Sometimes a friend is just exactly what they needed all along.  






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One Comment
  1. Chris, Wonderful post! Love and acceptance is what we all need, no matter the issue. Traditional Church is the very last place people find that. More and more people are hearing the call to simply be the loving, family of God -church not needed.

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