Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

In the Horrible Wake of Teen Suicide… A Miracle of Hope

posted by Mark Herringshaw

An ominous wave of teen suicides swept across Minneapolis and St. Paul last week. My 16 year old son and his friends at Mounds View High School are still reeling. So am I… Because I felt it coming…

20 boys show up on our doorstep late Saturday night. They had made their rounds to 3 or 4 graduation parties stuffing themselves on chips and dips and catered Jimmy Johns sandwiches. They came in late and flopped in the living room. My wife, Jill pulled out a few bags of chip,  some dip and some cookies. They weren’t hungry, but they ate anyway.  We knew why they were there: not one of them wanted to be alone and they were finding consolation and reassurance in each other’s presence. They laughed and jabbed at each other as 16 year olds will. But a noticeable, sedate heaviness held them down.  Of course… It had been a bitter week for all of them, and for me…

One of their schoolmates, a young 15 year old girl, took her life six days before. It stunned everyone. She was popular, and talented, a member of Mounds View High School’s esteemed orchestra and championship track team. No one could have foreseen it, not from her. Now every student in Mounds View is left thinking, “If her, what about me?”

I felt it coming, and I believe I fought the battle with her. Last weekend there were several teen suicides across the Twin Cities… The blight hit like a plague. Stunning. Treacherous. Horrifying. Why here? Why so suddenly? Why so many? There’s some dark mystery behind this, something I don’t understand, some demonic plot.

I fought the same battle, at the same time. Early Saturday morning – around 2:00 AM – I woke in a cold sweat battling an emotional suffocation of fear and despair. I’m not a melancholy soul. I don’t normally struggle with depression or anxiety. I virtually never have thoughts of suicide. But that morning it all swept me under – all those same hopeless thoughts and emotions. I lay awake for the next four hours praying and battling whatever demons were behind this attack. It was one of the darkest, most trying experiences I can every remember. I finally fell into a fitful sleep around 6:00 AM.

When I woke up and stumbled into the kitchen my son met me with his bitter news – his school mate had taken her own life early that morning.  My night time battle made sudden sense, and sudden senselessness! I felt – but didn’t understand – the connection between my battle and hers, and as I learned in the hours that followed, that of several other teens across the Cities. Why had I fought this battle? Why had a succeeded in chasing the terror from my sould and my home but had not chased it from my City? I’m the pastor of a large Church in St. Paul. I have some spiritual jurisdiction in this region. I know and believe this. But had I failed in my intercession? Or only partially succeeded? I don’t know. The matter torments m,e and I’m still processing the battle and the tragedy. Maybe I’ll never know… Probably not, at least not fully.

The world behind what we see is real and dangerous and cloaked from our understanding. But somehow we’re asked to navigate it none-the-less… and we’re ask to wield the “Name of Jesus” as our sword and to do battle in response. That’s all I know, and all that makes sense. In the horrible wake of these tragic deaths the two things I know for certain are that there is an evil force in this world, a force with a will intent on destroying human life, and there is a God who loves us, and has given us a place, a purpose and a power to fight this force and prevail, thoguh at the risk of our own souls. The power is enough, but it is beyond our own capacity, and from and of God himself. Why God has put us on a war zone… I don’t know. But I have to believe, as I’ve seen myself, the battle is winnable with and in the Name of the One… Join me there in that battle, in that Name!

“God, we pray today for the families and friends of those young people who have taken their own lives. We know that evil forces prey on our souls. The Bible says ‘the devil prowls like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.’ We know the world is dangerous. Many young people have become Satan’s prey. God, have mercy… On their souls and on those of us left behind to struggle and grieve and fight same battles ourselves. Bring your comfort to all those wounded by suicide. Heal. Comfort. Restore. And God, give us eyes to see the true enemy behind such senseless death. Give us supernatural discernment to see the wiles of Despair before it strikes. Renew our strength face down the haunting lies of Depression and the power of Jesus to drive it from our own souls, the souls of others, and from the jurisdictions where we live. ‘In Jesus’ name, spirit of suicide, be gone!’ And in it’s place, Holy Spirit of peace, rest, hope, even joy, come and fill the emptiness. You came to bring us life, and life abundant… We will take that gift, and fight to receive it…”

  • Lisa Watson-Hill

    I read this with tears and and an awareness the battle is gathering. I prayed the closing prayer and hope that each of will lend our hands and strength to the Power that saves and protects our young. ALL and each and everyone of those prayers is needed!
    Pastor, thank you for sharing this.

  • Sister Lavern

    Yes i agree with the Pastor there is a force that is destroying young and young adults! I lost my son to a suicide so they say. We haD JUST LEFT cHURCH took him home AND 45 MINUTES later he was dead gunshot to his forhead. He was smart and beautiful and help alot of people and had alot of friends that keep calling, some just to hear his voice on his cell phone i kept the phone on it was so many calling him. It has been a struggle but like you say Jesus is the only real hope to end this death. So i keep my santity trusting and hoping in God,because he is a trust worthy God and Faithful God and he knows.

  • Tori

    Thanks for this post and I am so very sorry for the loss of these children. Depression in adolescents is a serious issue and unfortunately goes untreated or misunderstood way too often. It’s not something that you can just “snap out of”. There are various types of treatments for adolescent depression. I have found Silver Hill Hospital’s website to be very informative.

  • Paula

    I am not young, I am 52. I have been battling the urge to kill myself now for about a month. SOmetimes, I fear I will succeed. Everything in my life is falling apart. I have battled severe depression since the age of 4. I am on SOcial Security Disability for a few years due to severe back probems. Some days, I can barely walk. I feel guilty, as though I am a burden to my husband. I don’t know how much longer I can hold on. Please pray for me. Thank you.

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  • pat

    Paula: i hope u r still here. It is a new year, be strong, I feel that you can do this, reach out to someone else even worse off than you, and I think you can do wonderous things, u just dont know it yet. Press on, dear girl, I AM praying for you, I know you can do this.
    p.s. feel free to answer this, I am here for you. P

  • dennis a. hooker

    Suicide has touched my family this last year in a very personal way. I have taken the best of the books I wrote for counselors and teachers and recovery specialists and put them in two books – “Listen To Me – I Have Something to Say – Books I and II”. I heard a detective who works with attempts a suicide off Golden Gate Bridge say: “A Jumper is someone who has something to say – and NO ONE to Listen!”
    I made the two books based on my books used by nearly a million youth in schools and institutions over the years. I am GIVING YOU the books – and about 20 more books and MP3’s on cd FREE. Please be bold enough to accept my gifts to the world. All I wish is for you to, in turn, pass them on to teachers, counselors, recovery persons, etc. I expect nothing in return – “Cast your bread upon the waters and it comes back a sandwich!” Friend, Dennis Hooker

  • dennis a. hooker

    Suicide touched my immediate family this year. Suicide is by a person with something to say, and no one to listen. Please allow me to share two books I have written – first used by nearly a million youth in schools. I wish to share them free. My daughter had a inherited condition where she wouldn’t listen to anyone reaching out to her.
    I am giving all my books to you for I am Going Home soon.

  • teapigs

    Stick to call at your interest inside get the job done you write. The particular segment hopes for far more enthusiastic authors just like you who are not fearful to state where did they imagine. Continuously adhere to your soul.

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