A Prayer of Lament

By Young Lee
A lament is an honest and passionate declaration of grief, sorrow, and anger. It is a heartfelt reaction to suffering and injustice that has been experienced or observed. A lament does not hide from the pain of tragedy or hide behind a façade of composure and decorum. In a lament, our struggles and thoughts are reshaped into bold and honest speech. And in that process, it does not pull us away from God but draws us towards him. Laments inevitably look to God as our hope who has overcome evil. It shouts at a God who listens and whose heart is moved by injustice, our cries, and our petitions. Thus, our faith is shaken but not broken. Our faith is stretched only to be strengthened.

Consider writing a lament as you process your own anger and sorrow from recent events. Laments typically consist of four components: 1) a direct address to God, 2) an expression of our sorrow, 3) an acknowledgement of the sins committed, and 4) a declaration and reminder of God’s character.

Read this prayer and allow its words to speak what you no longer have the strength to utter. Through it, find comfort and a challenge to pray and act.

O God of protection and peace, we come to you weary, heartbroken, and afraid. O God who sits in our mess, the temptation to flee pulls fiercely, but we pause, and hold fast in this moment of pain.
Grasping for breath through a river of tears.
Searching for words through our clouded minds.
Bearing the weight of many faces crowding our hearts.

We choose the discomfort of slowing down; to name, to touch, to comb the depths of our sadness, anger, and fear.
Anguish for the violent theft and corruption of innocent lives.
Heartache for the now silent and silenced voices of innocent victims.
Sorrow for the loss of the innocent and the loss of innocence.

We cry out to you! Be near to us, as we lean on the intercession of your Holy Spirit.
Comfort the many, with the sight of our Savior, dying unjustly on the cross.
Soothe the many, with the sight of our Savior, who defended the weak and the powerless.
Strengthen us, with the sight of our Savior, that we might become a beacon of hope in this suffocating darkness.

Lord, we trust in you. We hope in you. We rage with you. We weep with you. Amen.
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