Like so many Christians, the Psalms speak deep into my heart. When I have gone through a stormy season in my life, the Psalms have been an anchor to keep me in place. The words of the Psalms so often mirror what’s in my very soul.
Continuing in the series on the Psalms, in this post, we are looking at the second type of Psalm, the Psalm of lament. To lament means “to feel or express sorrow over.” The Psalms contain more laments than any other kind of psalm. Many dark feelings are expressed in the laments: grief, fear, anger, despair, loneliness and pain. How many of us have experienced these same feelings during dark seasons of our life and turned to the Psalms for comfort?
The laments, like the other genre’s, have a typical structure. Nearly all the laments (minus two) flow from a complaint or plea to ending in thanksgiving or praise. Specifically, laments begin by expressing feelings, followed by asking for something the author needs, and ending with an affirmation of trust in God.
The structure of these laments give us a model for coming to God with our own laments. God wants us to tell him how we feel. He wants us to come to Him with our grief and pain. In your own laments, tell Him each feeling you are experiencing. Tell Him about the pain you are suffering, the circumstances that trouble you, and the worries that hound you. Additionally, these laments show that we can ask God the tough questions of life, such as “Why?” “How long?” and “Where are you?” Ask Him the your own questions that plague you, “Why me?” and “How long will I suffer?”
We can also ask Him for what we need. The laments often cry out asking God for relief, healing, or rescue. We can ask the same. Ask God for healing from sickness. Express your need for relief from trial. Cry out for rescue from evil. Whatever it is that you need, cry out to the Father who hears you.
Like nearly all the Psalms of lament, end your own lament with thanksgiving and praise. Thank Him for His faithfulness. Express trust and confidence that He will answer. Tell Him that you believe and trust that He will take care of you.
Read a few laments for yourself. See the flow and structure of these laments and write out your own lament as a prayer to the God who loves you.
For further reading: Psalms 3, 13, 42, 120, 142