I was thinking about Laments today.
The idea is that we can use the forms used in the book of Psalms to pray our own prayers. But to be honest, I’m a little embarrassed by the psalms of my own I wrote and posted as examples. (But part of the point is that it doesn’t have to be good writing!)
Here’s the form of a Lament:
1) Address to God
2) Lament or complaint
3) Review of God’s Help (Confession of Trust)
5) Words of Assurance
6) Vow to Praise
I was thinking about Laments because I currently have multiple friends, relatives, and acquaintances dealing with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. On top of that, I’m discouraged by what’s happening to our country.
With a Lament, you’re allowed to question. You’re allowed to complain. You’re allowed to feel pain.
You do come back around. You remember how God’s helped in the past. You ask for help. You express belief that God will come through. You make promises that you are going to praise God when this is over!
To be honest, I don’t feel adequate to write a Lament for my friends, or for our country. At least not that I’m willing to post.
But where I am in my own life is a spacious place. After a long, dark time. After some wilderness wanderings. So I’m going to try a psalm of Thanksgiving. Here’s the form for that:
II) Call to Praise
III) The Story
A) Crisis in Retrospect
1) I called.
2) You heard and you intervened.
Okay, I’m going to try it. I’m going to be rather vague, in the name of symbolism. (And because I’ve been rescued from obsessive thoughts!) Remember: They don’t have to be great literature. I will probably borrow heavily from the Psalms. And I’m going to try to include parallelism. Also remember that you don’t have to slavishly follow the form.
Lord, I’m here to praise you.
May my heart always sing to you.
You gave me new life.
You brought me out of the cocoon.
Let everyone rescued by the Lord remember.
Let us sing
for the joy of being alive today,
for the light of hope again in our eyes.
For his voice when all was dark,
for his healing when the world spun,
for his solution when my resources were spent,
for his presence when I felt all alone,
for his confirmation when I was without confidence,
for his notice when I felt utterly insignificant,
for his good gifts when I felt worthless,
for his calling when I felt useless.
O Lord, you gave all these things.
My mind was spinning and obsessing.
My hopes and plans were shattered.
You changed my tears to laughter,
my disappointment to joy.
The cocoon was dark and dismal;
now flowers line my path.
I may not be soaring,
but my wings have dried,
and I’m beginning to flutter.
Lord, I didn’t understand the darkness,
but your love has made me new.
Praise the Lord
for his unfailing love
and his mercies that never fail.
Praise the Lord.
That’s my example. The real reason to post is in hope that you’ll try it yourself. But also that you’ll join me in praising the Lord.