Pray for someone.

Pray for someone today whom you know struggles with depression. ~ Terry Powell


I pleaded with him …. to no avail, as it turned out.

Ronnie * (not his real name) and I were on the patio behind my house. He was a 31-year-old divorcee with two young girls who adored him. Chronically depressed, he had tried to take his own life a couple of times.

“Next time you think of suicide,” I said, “please consider the consequences. Think of your girls and how your death would cause them grief. Don’t just think of how to end your own pain and despair. If you love them—and I know you do—don’t take the easy way out, for their sake.”

I wasn’t glib in telling him that. Though I’ve never tried to take my own life, I’ve yearned for death many times during episodes of depression. I’ve even prayed for God to take my life while I slept.



“What keeps me from following through on suicidal thoughts, other than the grace of God directly, is not only the pain I would cause my loved ones but what I would be modeling for them about how to handle despair,”  I told Ronnie. “You see, when my grown sons or only grandchild face future difficulty—a tragic loss, career setback, or severance of a special relationship—I don’t want my past suicide to increase the likelihood that they will choose that alternative. I don’t want them to think, ‘Dad (or Papaw) avoided more pain by killing himself. Maybe that’s a good option for me.’”

“I’ll go through hell inside instead of making that tragic choice easier for them,” I assured Ronnie.


Two years later, his next attempt succeeded. I can’t begin to grasp the depth of his angst, but oh, how I’ve lamented his rash decision to take those pills after an argument with a girlfriend. Though I’ve shed my share of tears over Ronnie, my primary memory right before the funeral is seeing the tears of his daughters, ages 14 and 11.

May God give those girls grace if they are ever tempted to handle their pain the same way.

This life isn’t about me or what would comfort me or end my pain. It’s about God and His call for me to serve Him. Since I’m His property, He (not me) must decide when my life should end, and this life is also about those brave few who really love me.

I will admit following this counsel is easier said than done, even for me. Please pray for someone today who struggles with deep depression or suicidal thoughts, so that they may sense the unconditional love of Christ.


*Originally published, February, 2015

Happy Bubbles
Dr. Terry Powell

Dr. Terry Powell

Author and Professor

Terry is a Faculty Emeritus and an adjunct professor in Church Ministries at Columbia International University. He and his wife, Dolly, have been married for 50 years and share two sons, a daughter-in-law, and a grandson. Terry writes about faith and depression at Penetrating the Darkness. Oh God, I’m Dying! How God Redeems Pain for Our Good and His Glory tells of God's sustaining grace in the life of co-author Dr. Mark Smith, who is an effective Christian university president despite suffering daily pain from a near-fatal accident.

Hold Onto Possibility Everyday - Ask. Listen. Love. Prevent Suicide One Precious Life at a Time.


Hold Onto Possibility Everyday

Are you thinking about ending your life? Reach out for support. Are you concerned about a friend or loved one ending their life? Ask. Listen. Love. Pray.


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