Discipleship Journal, October, 1996, quoted in Lifeline, Summer, 1997
When a believer is depressed it is difficult for them to sense God's presence. A loving and listening friend can be a tangible representation of the Comforter.
1. Encourage them to talk and cry. Verbalizing helps to organize thoughts and put them into perspective.
2. Be a good listener. Wait until they are done talking. Tell them simply that you care.
3. Give answers sparingly. The depressed person often lacks the ability to absorb or act on good advice. Well-intended counsel can be twisted into insult in the confused mind.
4. Pray daily for God's plan to be played out. God knows, and He is in control.
5. Pray for right to prevail over evil. The enemy will take advantage of the vulnerable.
6. Call or visit frequently. Offer your help.
7. Offer social invitations. The tendency to withdraw only deepens the loneliness.
8. Your friend's spouse may be confused by her mate's changed temperament. Pray for the spouse, too.
9. Mail Scripture verses that declare God's faithfulness and love.
10. The lie of despair is that no one can understand. Wait until you are asked, then assure your friend that there are people who can help. Accumulate referrals to professional resources.