In recent professional development for work, we were asked to consider the importance of lamenting for our own Christian lives and ministry.
We were guided to reflect upon psalms of lament in scripture, and upon the role lament has played in past worship. Lamenting is a heartfelt cry unto God; a genuine expression and cry for His intervention upon our behalf, often when we feel we’ve reached the end of ourselves.
I have found sometimes we can feel a false guilt over expressing our frustrations and agony, for we may believe this is faithless to do so...yet lament is in both scripture and in the psalmists' songs of worship, as it is the heartfelt cry and prayer God both hears and responds to! I cannot help but think of the story Jesus told about the ‘sinner’ who cries and beats His chest, as one who is indeed heard by God and forgiven, compared to the Pharisee who scoffs at him. You can read it here.
We were also given an exercise, to write our own lamenting prayer based upon the structure of lamenting psalms. A basic guide for that structure being; opening address, the lament (problem), the confession of trust, request/petition and sometimes why God will answer, praise, proclamation/conclusion/prophetic statement.
So the following is my lamenting prayer/psalm I wrote today. I found it to be a good devotional exercise and I’d like to encourage you to also give it a go! Begin by reading some lamenting psalms (links provided) such as: Psalm 3, 6, 13, 22, 28, 56, while thinking about the above structure for a lamenting psalm, then sit, reflect, and write from the heart and you won't go wrong!
My Lament Psalm ~
Oh Lord, our God, how great and awesome You are. How great are Your works, hear me now as I cry out from my heart to You,
You who made me. You who sees all and knows me and the pain I feel.
My heart is heavy from the burden of bearing the gospel to a people with hard hearts, distorted vision and blocked ears,
A people deluded by lust and love of self, rather than You.
Yet in You I trust. For You have made the way for all to become new through Jesus Christ,
So again I trust You still today, to make the way for the harvest to be brought in. For only You can do the impossible.
I will continue to praise Your Name and Faithfulness even in the dark, because You are the wondrous Light that always breaks through,
You melt the hardest of hearts, make the blind see and deaf hear, Oh beginning and the end.
Bring in the harvest Lord before Your great and marvellous return,
Where every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that You are LORD!
In love, Melanie.
Let me leave you with 'In Christ Alone' By Stuart Townsend.