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Summary: Depression strikes about 10 million Americans within any six- month period. Some of the most Godly people in the Bible and in Christian history struggled with depression.

Intro: Researchers at Columbia University conducted the study with 199 women at an in vitro fertilization clinic in Korea. Unknown to the patients and their doctors, groups of strangers from the US, Canada, and Australia were asked to pray for their success in getting pregnant.

Pictures of patients in the test group were sent to the people praying when the women began hormone treatment and prayer continued for the next three weeks. No one knew which group was which until the three weeks was up.

The patients in the study were all undergoing in vitro fertilization, an assisted reproduction technique in which a man’s sperm, and a woman’s eggs are combined in a laboratory dish, where fertilization occurs. The resulting embryo is then transferred to the uterus to develop naturally. According to the latest statistics from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the success rate of in vitro fertilization averages 22.8 percent live births per egg retrieval.

To the surprise of the researchers, the women who were prayed for ended up with a significantly higher pregnancy rate than those who were not prayed for. "About 50 percent got pregnant in the prayer group and about 26 percent in the non-prayer group," the lead author of the report, Dr. Roger A. Lobo, Columbia’s chairman of obstetrics and gynecology said on Good Morning America. The study appears in the current Journal of Reproductive Medicine.

Dr. Elizabeth Targ, a psychiatrist at the Pacific College of Medicine in San Francisco, has also tested out prayer on critically ill AIDS patients. All 20 patients in the study got pretty much the same medical treatment, but only half of them were prayed for by spiritual healers. Ultimately, 10 of the prayed-for patients lived, while four who had not been prayed for died.

In a larger follow-up study, Targ found that the people who received prayer and remote healing had six times fewer hospitalizations and those hospitalizations were significantly shorter than the people who received no prayer and distant healing.

"I was sort of shocked," says Targ. "In a way it’s like witnessing a miracle. There was no way to understand this from my experience and from my basic understanding of science." Abcnews.com; “Can Prayer Heal”

Depression: A hopelessness that’s not consistent with reality. A temporary condition emotional state with exaggerated feelings of sadness. More than discouragement that makes negative circumstances overwhelms a person’s life.

Symptoms of depression:

1. Weight loss or weight gain.

2. Loss of sleep and energy.

3. Lose interest in most or all pleasurable activities.

4. Reduced ability to concentrate.

5. Overcome with feelings of hopelessness or uselessness.

One of England’s finest preachers was C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892). Frequently during his ministry he was plunged into severe depression, due in part to gout but also for other reasons. Sometimes he would be out of the pulpit for two to three months at a time. In a biography of the "prince of preachers", Arnold Dallimore wrote, "What he suffered in those times of darkness we may not know...even his desperate calling on God brought no relief. ’There are dungeons’, he said, ’beneath the castles of despair.’"

Arnold Dallimore.

Many years ago a young midwestern lawyer suffered from such deep depression that his friends thought it best to keep all knives and razors out of his reach. He questioned his life’s calling and the prudence of even attempting to follow it through. During this time he wrote, "I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully forebode I shall not." But somehow, from somewhere, Abraham Lincoln received the encouragement he needed, and the achievements of his life thoroughly vindicated his bout with discouragement.

Today in the Word, MBI, December, 1989, p. 20, Swindoll, You and Your Problems Transformed by Thorns, p. 58.

There is a character in Scripture that experienced sever depression. Elijah was one of the greatest men in all scripture. Elijah saw God do some of the most powerful miracles and revivals in the Bible. God dropped Elijah in Israel’s history when Ahab was leading the nation as far away from God. Jezebel made Elijah look like a choirboy in comparison of wickedness.

Depression is something that nearly everyone battles with in life. According to Psychiatrists Frank Minrith & Paul Meier, the majority of Americans suffer from a serious, clinical depression at some time during their lives. Most of these people never get help....they just fight this battle on their own.

And....fighting depression can be an incredibly painful thing. In fact recent studies of more than 11,000 individuals found depression to be more physically and socially disabling that arthritis, diabetes, lung disease, chronic back problems, hypertension, and gastrointestinal illnesses. The only more disabling medical problem was advanced coronary heart disease.

In chapter 18 Jezebel was infuriated with Elijah because they have been in a famine that God brought about at the word of Elijah. So here Jezebel is dry in the mouth and unable to find Elijah so she started killing off the prophets. Jezebel can’t get to Elijah so she gets to his buddies.

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Greg Aery

commented on Nov 26, 2006

I enjoyed this sermon very much. I am a huge fan of Elijah and I find it to be very encouraging that this mighty man of God faced the same challenges as do we.

Chris Bennett

commented on Dec 11, 2009

I also found this outline very helpful but the rat illustration could leave the feeling like my life ends up in death by drowning.

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