“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Proverbs 30:5b
In our most recent devotional on the prayer of lament, we learned what the prayer of lament was and its significance.
We looked at Psalm 13 to explain and understand the prayer of lament. Lament is a way to communicate with God. When we are grieving, we may either shut down or talk to our parents or a close friend about how we are feeling. In some ways, just having someone listen to us may help us to deal with our feelings and the situations that cause them. Sadly, this is what we do as humans to help us cope with our pain. However, you might be wondering how is going to your parents or friends different from going to God.
Friends, believe me when I say it’s completely different. When my father passed away, I tried to talk to everyone about my pain, but I was never able to find comfort or peace in their words. Why? Because only God can give us peace and direct us in how to grieve properly.
God has given us the prayer of lament to help us cope with our grief. We need to walk the path of lament when we are broken, hurt, in despair, and without answers.
You might be wondering if this applies to you because you’re not grieving or in despair. My friend, I completely agree with you. It’s difficult to understand grief unless you have experienced it before.
After Adam and Eve sinned, the Scripture says in Genesis 3:10 that Adam heard God’s voice and hid. “But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you? “He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid” (New International Translation).
Nowadays, people hide for a variety of reasons. Adam, however, was accustomed to walking with God. They were friends. Yet, when he sinned against God, he was ashamed and wanted to hide. Adam’s statement didn’t just address how he was feeling, but also he described it:
- I Feel: He was feeling shame. “I was afraid because I was naked.” This statement shows Adam’s expressing his emotions to God. (Genesis 3:10)
- Adam then described his feelings of becoming aware of his nakedness. He went on to say, “I was afraid and hid.”
I can only imagine the pain Adam was going through. Adam had a perfect relationship with God, his Father. They walked together, they talked. Can you even imagine how beautiful their relationship was? But everything changed after the fall. Sin separated Adam from God. I can hear the pain and shame in his voice, “I was afraid and hid.”
After Adam and Eve sinned, God did not search for Adam, asking, “Where are You? We all know God did not lose Adam. He knew what they had done. God wants us to be closer to Him even when we sin; we are not called to isolate ourselves in our grief. Lament is a way for us to say, “God, here I am.”
One of the phrases I’ve learned walking the path of lament is that we are called to go to our Father in our grief and share our emotions with Him. It’s nothing special. A straightforward sentence, “Lord, I Feel…; Lord I need…. Lord, I will”
Let’s see how Hannah dealt with her grief. Hannah was, as you know, barren. In addition, Peninnah, Ekanah’s first wife, constantly picked on and tormented Hannah because she was unable to bear children.
According to the Scripture, Hannah cried out to God because she could not bear the shame and suffering. “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut” (1 Samuel 1:9-12 New Living Translation). Wow! What a powerful and selfless prayer. Friends, I don’t know if you can relate, but I don’t believe I could ever give up my child.
As you can see, Hannah had good reason to lament. Did you see that Hannah, like David, was able to express and convey her pain and emotions?
Yes, lament gives you and me a place to express our emotions. It allows us to worship God through our pain. Never hesitate to be specific in your prayers. Be honest with God about how you feel and what you need. It’s difficult to pretend that carrying all that pain inside doesn’t bother you when, in reality, it does.
Jennifer Rothschild (2023) states, “Lament always needs a yet, not a but. While it negates everything that comes before it it is the way you acknowledge all those emotions and situations and still move forward in faith.
Lament is like riding a raft down a restless river. You’re going somewhere. You feel the turmoil and even the refreshment of the experience, and eventually, you reach the shore, and the journey ends. Yet, the whole time you ride the waves of Lament, you’re being held, cradled, and drawn by a strong Hand to a safe place. (p. 135)
I love that last line, “Yet, the whole time you ride the waves of Lament, you’re being held, cradled, and drawn by a strong Hand to a safe place.” Knowing that God is with you and me through every storm gives us the hope and comfort we need.
Friends, singing praises to the Lord amid a storm is hard but not impossible, regardless of the outcome. I know and can relate. It’s something we are called to do. “Sing the praises of the Lord, you, his faithful people; praise his holy name” (Psalm 30:4 NIV). Yes, friends, in this life, we will experience grief, but joy comes in the morning. (See Psalm 30:5b NIV)
Friends, I now say this prayer as part of my daily routine. This prayer of lament has encouraged me and helped me to express my pain and sorrows to God. I can assure you no one enjoys experiencing pain, but be encouraged to go to your secret place. A place where there’s only you and God, and you can share your feelings without fear. He understands. He has experienced what it is to be human—pain, sorrow, betrayal, persecution, and death so that we can be reunited with our Heavenly Father.
It is in that quiet place where I can come to Him and cry out to Him. You’ll be surprised what the Lord can and will do when we go to Him and share our innermost thoughts. You may be wondering, did it work? Yes, it did!
My dear friends, God never fails us. He’s faithful. He’s the same God, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV).
Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes and teaching me the importance of coming to You with our pain and sorrows. I know this is a path many of us don’t like, but we know it’s necessary for our growth. Lord, remind me not to overthink in trying to find answers when things go wrong. Here I am, Lord! Walk this path with me, for I know You are faithful to your Word and promises. In Jesus’ holy name, amen.
- The Holy Bible, New International Version. (1985/2011). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
- The Holy Bible, New Living Translation. (1996). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Foundation.
- [Jennifer Rothschild]. (2023, September). Prayers of Lament.