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Lent 2024: Week 4 - Lament

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.” (Psalm 22:1-2)

 

Prayer Practice: Prayer of Lament

 

Lent is a season of sorrow. It reminds us of the frail and fallen condition of our world, and certainly in our own body and soul. Our reflections during this season stir a deep sense that something is wrong. Something greater than just our individual sin, it is the pervasive effects of sin. Distraction. Deception. Discord. Despair. Disaster. Death. These are deep wounds.

 

What are we supposed to do with our pain, anger, grief, and confusion? Can I bring these things before God? People like Job, David, Jeremiah, and even Jesus reveal to us that these emotions can be turned into prayers of faith.

 

First, hear the good news: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). Not only does God hear and understand our pain, he is especially inclined toward those who are hurting. We often think that being a Christian means we must always be happy, sweeping our grief under the rug of God’s sovereignty. Yet, God desires to enter into our pain: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).

 

Second, the Scriptures teach us to lament, to wail and mourn and plead before the God who draws near to the brokenhearted. [We’ll see this in the psalms of lament] Lament is not about getting things off your chest. It’s about casting your anxieties upon God, and trusting him with them. Mere complaining indicates a lack of intimacy with God. Because lament is a form of prayer, it transforms our complaints into worship…To lament is to be utterly honest with God because we trust him.


From “Journey to the Cross” by Will Walker and Kendal Haug

 

This week’s practice is prayer of lament. Try to practice a few times this week…if possible make time to practice each day along with your daily reading.

  • First, take a moment to let yourself be aware of the Lord’s presence. Remember he is near to you.

  • Second, ask yourself, “What am I angry or grieved about–in my own life or in the world around me?” Let yourself recognize and feel your anger or sadness.

  • Finally, bring your anger, grief and pain to the Lord. Cry out to him honestly. Reading through some psalms of lament may be helpful in expressing sorrow to God. Some psalms to consider: Psalm 6, 10, 13, 22, 42, 55

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