“I know I just sent in a prayer request but I am scared. I am not afraid to die. I am afraid to live!” According to recent estimates, over thirty-four thousand people a year in America commit suicide. Actually it gets worse because suicides are often falsely or mistakenly reported as automobile wrecks, household accidents and homicides. Also, for every death by suicide there are many more attempts made.

What should we do? How can we help? What should we say?

There was a suicide in my family so I thought I knew how to help her. I was wrong! My mistake was in relying on my experience instead of God. I said a prayer for Janice but I neglected the most important part of all — listening for God’s answer.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.” (Phil. 4:6-7)

If I really wanted to help Janice, I needed to spend more time listening to God’s response and less time worrying about my own. So I began to pray — and listen. During those quiet peaceful moments I finally realized God’s answer. Share Janice’s story and allow a community of faith to pray and be used by God to reach out to her.

Copies of Janice’s letter were forwarded over the Internet to hundreds of people who promised to pray for anyone in need. The response was rapid and incredible. Many began to pray immediately. Soon, Janice received dozens of emails from people who shared their own struggle with pain and depression and how God guided their recovery. For example:

• After my brother gave up his own life, I wondered if I should do the same, I even stared at my gas oven for a while. However, I know that GOD HAS A PLAN for my life (and yours), and that we are here for a reason. I am not a professional counselor, but I have been praying for you… that we would seek God’s wisdom and allow His spirit to work in your life and mine.

• I remember VIVIDLY what my struggle was like. I encourage you to hang on. God has heard the cries of your heart. You are important! You are unique. You are deeply loved, fully forgiven, and completely accepted. You might want to repeat those words. I had a “tape” running in my head, “It’s hopeless, why keep trying?” We need a new message of hope. Remember John 3:16. “For God so loved the world…” Well, the world includes you and me.

• I was touched by Janice’s story and felt the need to give her my phone number. She called once and we talked for several hours … I don’t know if I helped her or not but I did feel the need to reach out to her. Please let me know how she is doing.

• I felt compelled to respond and send encouragement. I’m only 18 years old, but I’ve struggled with depression before. Everything was wrong with me, nothing was right. Someone told me…”When you are sad, Jesus is sad too. When you cry, so does He.” They told of God’s amazing love for me, how NOTHING can separate me from His love (Romans 8:38-39). It was what I needed to hear. Here’s my prayer for you…. Father, I come today with a special person on my heart. I pray your love will surround and fill her heart. I pray that her hurts, sadness, feelings of unworthiness be taken away. May Your blessings be poured upon her and may her heart be touched with grace and mercy. Amen. You are special…don’t ever forget it.

Janice felt alone and abandoned. At first, I responded… alone. In many ways, Janice and I needed to hear the same message from God: You are important but you are never alone. You are a unique and vital part of a vibrant community of faith. Learn to replace your worries with prayer and you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.

Later, Janice wrote: “I wish I could say your prayers are a success and I have won this battle. I wish I could tell you I feel joy and hope again. But I just can’t, so I continue to pray for God to help me and He does by keeping me alive another day: one minute at a time. Thank you for your support and prayers.”

Love to all… Janice

Suicide is a serious problem that impacts nearly everyone at one time or another. How can we find ways to address the issue openly? One way is to be willing to share our stories. If you have a story to share, write me at LarryDavies@PrayWithYou.orgg.

Are you considering suicide? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1 (800) 273-8255. They are open 24 hours, 7 days a week. On the web: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Do you need prayer? Go to our website: www.SowingSeedsofFaith.com. Your prayer requests will be distributed to prayer partners all over the world. You can also become a prayer partner and pray for others.