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WHY DO WE PRACTICE LAMENT?

We are no strangers to grief, loss, injustice, and pain. Before Jesus left this world he let us know that we will have trouble (John 16:33) and scripture repeatedly tells us that we will face trials. In our lowest moments we are tempted to either put on a strong face to mask the pain or we allow the condition of our heart to create distance in our relationship with God. God is big enough to handle our emotions and invites us to lean into a spiritual practice called lament.

Lament is a prayer in pain where we turn to God.

We can lament with words, silence, tears, and through writing. Over ⅓ of the Psalms are dedicated to lament. We lament both individually and as a community. Communal lament is a form of solidarity and allows us to sit in the pain of others and weep with those who weep. Lament is something we can all grow in practicing, yet it is not our ultimate landing place. Confident trust in God is the final destination of all laments.

“Lament reminds us that God is present not only in the triumph of our day to day life, but also in the suffering of our day to day life.” 

- Soong-Chan Rah

PRACTICES

  • Read and meditate on a Psalm of lament.

    • Psalm 5

    • Psalm 12

    • Psalm 13

    • Psalm 22

    • Psalm 42

    • Psalm 77

    • Psalm 130

    • Psalm 137

  • Write the lament of your heart following the pattern in Psalms.

    • CRY OUT and tell God how you honestly feel (Ps 13:1-2) 

    • ASK God for help and what you need (Ps 13:3-4)

    • AFFIRMATION of trust in God even in the midst of our pain (Ps 13:5-6)

  • Practice sitting in the pain of those in your community

    • Be a compassionate presence

* Lament is a process, so if you can only cry out or ask for help that is okay.

RESOURCES

Devotionals:

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Podcast:

Books:

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