Becoming Depressed When Praying

Hi All,

So I have this strange problem that comes up every time I try to deepen my prayer life. I go through periods where I lose interest in prayer, and my relationship with God falls to the wayside. Failure is normal for any beginner on the spiritual path. The problem that keeps coming up, is that each time I reinsert myself back into a committed prayer prayer life, it's great while I'm praying and I feel my relationship with God deepening, but soon after, say as soon as the next day, I become almost depressed. Life lacks color, flavor, sensation. I lose energy, and I stop wanting to go out with friends and simply enjoy life. What's the problem here? What causes me to feel like that. I feel great during prayer, but as soon as I leave there's an emptiness and a sadness that pervades my whole being. What's the deal with that?

Thank you all in advance.

Do you have diagnosed depression? Because that can definitely heighten those feelings you describe. Prayer may be your healing mechanism, the way exercise relieves depression in other people.

Dear Ivan,

I think that I can relate to what you are going through. I can’t specifically pin point what is going on, but you may suffer from a form of depression. Maybe you just notice it more because prayer is giving you joy that you don’t ordinarily feel. I think that you deserve to be joyful and if you need a counselor to help you with the feelings of depression, seek one immediately. You can try searching for one at a website such as catholictherapists.com or wellcatholic.com. If you have insurance, call your insurance plan and make sure that whoever you choose from the websites above are participating providers in your plan.

Also, I suggest you to talk to a pastor or priest in addition to a counselor, because there may be a spiritual cause to the way you feel. I would talk with a counselor and a pastor, not either or. Seek some support now so that the feelings of depression don’t linger and become worse. It’s better to get support now than later. Pray for guidance, ask the Lord to help you to find the counselor and priest which He knows will best support you. Make sure you don’t keep these feelings to yourself.

I’m not a counselor or priest, but maybe try to do things that make you happy every day. Listen to your favorite music, see friends and talk to friends often, get out and take a walk or visit a store, eat some healthy comfort food, take a class, be involved in hobbies which bring you happiness, and keep praying. Keep praying no matter how you feel. Don’t isolate yourself, because that is a temptation and is not from God – I cannot stress that enough! Even if you don’t feel like socializing with friends, socialize! We were made for communion with others, and when we isolate ourselves we can be depressed. Even if you can’t see your friends or talk with them every day, get out and be with people! It does help. :slight_smile:

St. Paul said to pray without ceasing, so in this way we do small prayers throughout each day and it is not isolated just to our longer moments of prayer. There can be an emptiness due to being used to attachments when there is renunciation. The emptiness can be filled with joy, helped by remembering that one is with Christ in spirit (He said he will be with each one of us faithful – Matt 28:20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”)

1 Thessalonians 5

16 Rejoice always.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
20 Do not despise prophetic utterances.
21 Test everything; retain what is good.
22 Refrain from every kind of evil.

There have been some great suggestions given. I would add one last thing. Do not underestimate Satan. Many times when I seem to be getting closer to God, weird or odd things happen. I believe it’s Satan trying to distract me.

God Bless You.

What kind of friends do you have and what activities do you do with them?

If these friends support your faith, then yes perhaps you are depressed.

However, if these friends DON"T support your faith of course it would be depressing to be with them

When you experience the depressed feelings after having committed yourself to a regular routine of prayer do you continue to pray daily anyway or do you stop due to the depressed feelings?

If you stop every time this happens the devil may have found a very effective way of preventing you from growing closer to God.

Try ignoring the feelings as much as possible and continuing to maintain your commitment to daily prayer. If this is a spiritual attack it will likely go away fairly soon, like within several days or a week. If it persists longer than that, as others have said, perhaps you suffer from some form of depression. We are not allowed or qualified to diagnose medical issues on CAF, but what you describe really sounds to me like a spiritual attack.

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