My Answer: Prayer can help, but don't ignore medical intervention

Q: Our daughter (who's in her late 20s) seems to be suffering from deep depression, and we don't know what to do. She even talks about ending her life. She says she's a follower of Jesus, and we pray a lot for her, but it doesn't seem to help. Could you ask people to pray for her? — Mrs. N.G.

A: I'm sure many people reading this column will pause to pray for your daughter, for they can sense your deep concern for her as she bears this heavy burden. The Bible commands us to "pray for each other so that you may be healed" (James 5:16).

I strongly urge you to seek the best medical advice you possibly can find for your daughter, if you haven't already done so. Prayer is important, but sometimes God answers our prayers through other people, including those to whom he has given special gifts and abilities. This includes men and women with scientific and medical skills.

One of the Apostle Paul's closest companions was Luke, whom he referred to as "the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14, NKJV).

I'm not a doctor or psychiatrist, of course, but I understand that depression can have many different causes. Some (such as chemical imbalances in the brain) often respond to treatment, and you should do all you can to be sure your daughter is properly diagnosed. Your pastor or family doctor may be able to suggest the best options in your community.

In addition, let your daughter know that you'll always love her, and that God loves her also, whether she "feels" His love or not. May she also find daily strength in the promises of His Word, the Bible. "Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens" (Psalm 68:19).


Q: My children are upset because I've moved in with a widower friend in our retirement village. We're not married, but we enjoy each other's company, and anyway, it's cheaper to share a unit, so what's wrong with that? I got angry and told them to mind their own business, but maybe I shouldn't have done that. — Mrs. S.J.

A: Getting angry with your children wasn't wise, because they love you and have your best interests at heart. And someday you'll probably need their help, so why alienate them? The Bible rightly warns, "Stirring up anger produces strife" (Proverbs 30:33).

But the real issue is your decision to move in with this male friend, and I certainly share your children's concern. I know many today think nothing of living together or ignoring traditional moral values. But God takes such values seriously, and he does so for a very good reason: He loves us and knows what can happen when we turn our backs on his moral standards.

After all, marriage is one of God's greatest gifts to the human race, and we treat it lightly at our peril — no matter how young or old we are.

Have you ever stopped to consider what impact your example may have on others, especially your grandchildren? It would be tragic if they end up taking marriage lightly and blaming you for their attitude.

The Bible says, "Marriage should be honored by all" (Hebrews 13:4).

But your letter concerns me for another reason: It suggests your only concern is for your immediate happiness, without any concern for God and his will. Someday soon, you will enter eternity and stand before him, and you aren't prepared for that day. But you can be, by repenting of your sins and giving your life to Jesus Christ — beginning today.

(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:

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