The Dry Bones of Depression

“The hand of the Lord came upon me…and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones…and they were very dry. He said to me, ‘Mortal, can these bones live?’ I answered, ‘O Lord God, you know.'” – Ezekiel 37:1-14

A woman sits at her kitchen table after the children have left for school. She was barely able to muster a goodbye smile, and now that there is no one else to perform for, she gives into the absolute loss of energy that sweeps her every morning. There are dishes to do and errands to run, but it will be an accomplishment if she spends the school day awake, and does not give into the overwhelming temptation to get back into bed.

Can these dry bones live?

A boy’s thoughts turn to the end of his life. Would anybody miss him if he were gone? The anguish inside him seems so great that death appears to be the only relief. He perseverates on the way it might happen.

Can these dry bones live?

Her husband sits in front of the television for hour after hour. They have not spoken more than a few words to one another in days. She remembers when they were dating; they could spend hours at a coffee shop, discussing big ideas. Now, he rarely has an expression on his face. His eyes have been drained of joy, and he stares blankly at the screen.

Can these dry bones live?

For people who live with depression… for people who love people with depression… these scenes are all too easy to imagine. But God called the prophet Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones, and promised that by God’s healing power, flesh would appear and those dry bones would live again.


On this day, hear my prayer for those who suffer from depression, whose bones seem dry and lifeless. Be also with their loved ones, the doctors, the therapists, the researchers, the scientists and the healers, so that once again those bones might live. Grant us understanding of the complexities of the human mind, because God, we trust that you do know how to make dry bones live again, and that you want this healing to be available for all your children. Amen.

16177.jpg About the Author
Lillian Daniel, author of When “Spiritual But Not Religious” is Not Enough, has a chapter in the anthology, What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most. Follow her on twitter @lillianfdaniel.