Friday, July 28, 2023

Prayers of Lament

Friday, July 28, 2023 

Prayers of Lament Submitted by Kay Crumley

A dictionary definition of lament is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. I have been in a Bible study, “When You Pray”.  I will be sharing some of the highlights of what I’ve learned.  This week’s study was on prayers of lament by Jennifer Rothschild.  I have been one who has avoided Lamentations and not spent much time studying the prayers of lament in Psalms. They seemed too sad, too whinny for me. However, I have gained a new understanding and appreciation for this form of prayer that I want to share with you.


We will be focusing on Psalm 13. I think of lament as complaining or grumbling however, true prayers of lament are groanings.  Grumbling is emptying our trash cans while groaning is emptying our hearts to God. Grumbling shows a lack of trust and obedience to God, but groaning is the way to express the same deep ache from a heart of trust. Grumbling insults God. Groaning is what God does through us as His Spirit prays for us in our weaknesses with groanings too deep for words.  Jennifer divided Psalm 13 into three parts that she titled Steppingstones.


Ps 13:1-2 - How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?

 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?


1.  I Feel - Lament is a place to put our feelings.  David felt abandoned, rejected, in despair, sorrowful, and anxious.  He guarded what he said to others but told all his feelings to God.  David knew God’s character. Taking our feelings to God is a safe place to process those feelings.  To know God’s character is a sacred place.  Psalm 34:18 tells us that God is close to the broken hearted.  He is our rescuer, our safe place.

Ps. 13:3-4 - Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

2. I Need – We need to know that we are heard, we are seen, we are in His care.  Just as a child needs our attention and to know we value them, we need that same assurance from God.  We need to know He hears our cries, that He understands our pain.  Habakkuk cried out to God in chapter 1 verse 2 begging Him to answer, asking how long he must wait.  Then in chapter 3 verse 18-19 he commits to being joyful because the Lord is his strength.  His circumstances hadn’t changed.  He recognized the character of God and had his eyes opened spiritually. It is our relationship with God that is truly satisfying.  We are assured in Hebrews 4:16 that as we approach His throne of grace, we will receive His mercy in our times of need.

Ps. 13: 5-6 - But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.

 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me. 

3. I Will – David is no longer relying on or trusting in his feelings or his situation.  He now understands that all the time he was walking the path of lament God was looking after him.  Isaiah 46:4 assures us that God will carry us, sustain us, and rescue us.  He never forsakes His children.  As we cry out to Him in despair, He knows how we feel, He hears our plea, and we are to respond with praise to Him.  He is the Lord God of our salvation.  

Our lament should build into worship.  Jesus paved the way for our prayer of lament in His prayer as He prepared for the cross. 

When we don’t lament, we stuff and then we get stuck.  Naming your feelings and needs in prayer can keep those feelings from cementing in your soul, making you heavy and stuck. Naming your emotions is important and healthy.  It is the way to prevent getting stuck in your emotions so you can’t move forward in your faith.

Ps 30:5b – Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.




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