SCRIPTURE: Psalm 86:11-17
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14 O God, the insolent rise up against me;
a band of ruffians seeks my life,
and they do not set you before them.
15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant;
save the child of your serving girl.
17 Show me a sign of your favor,
so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame,
because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
Hebert Anderson recognizes the reality that “The practice of lament and arguing with God is an unsettling tradition of prayer because it includes the expression of complaint, anger, grief, despair, and protest to God. What makes lament such a bold practice of faith is that arguing with God is predicated on the belief that my protest or argument will change God or at least get God’s attention. We are free to lament because we believe it is not God’s intent to be absent permanently. We can protest against God and trust God at the same time.”
I have found that the idea of lament, especially as part of a prayer, is challenging for many Christians. Prayer tends to get used to ask for things or say thank you for things. But rarely have I heard a modern-day lament in prayer. I wonder how our relationship, or our understanding of our relationship, with God might change if we felt comfortable or at maybe “brave” enough to offer a lament in prayer. Might our relationship become more full or deep? Scripture does tell us to bring everything to God in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7).
What is your lament this day? What is your cry to God? Do you believe that God can or will be changed by your protesting or arguing?
God who is present in both pain and happiness, hear our prayers of complaint and lament this day. Help us to also know that in all times, both good and bad, you continue to walk with us in life and our faith journeys. Amen.