The language of lament
Written by Pastor Jon Heeringa

The Psalms are called the prayer book of the Bible, and 70% of the Psalms are classified as “lament.” Even beyond the Psalms, the Bible is chock full of lament. There is even a whole book of Lamentations. So clearly lament should be part of our prayer life, but if you are like me you may not feel comfortable lamenting to God in prayer. So let me share three things that can help.

First, lament is distinct from complaint in that it assumes God’s love rather than questioning it. What I mean is that we lament because we know God loves us, and knowing He loves us both frees us to go to Him and causes us to wonder in prayer how our lamentable circumstances square with His love.

The second thing is lament trusts relationship. When I have a relationship with the Lord I can say things to him, even hard things. If you are lamenting to God you have a relationship with Him.

Finally, precisely because there are so many laments in the Bible we should lean in and make those laments our own. Pray like Jesus did, for example, from the cross (Psalm 22) and even if it isn’t a lament for yourself, you know it will be a lament for somebody you love and you will learn the language of lament.