BEING – Praying a Psalm of Lament
Many of the Psalms are prayers of lament. Pray aloud one of these Psalms (Psalm 3, 6, 31, 86). Allow these prayers to become your own way of expressing your frustrations, disappointments, and suffering to God.
KNOWING – The 4Rs for Practicing Patience
Patience seems to come so easily for some people. The rest of us really have to work on it.
Consider the 4Rs as a framework for Practicing Patience.
1. RECOGNIZE when you’re impatient and what is at the root of it. Is it the slow barista with your morning coffee or the fact that you’re going to be late to work?
2. REFRAME how you think about the situation. Maybe her child was up sick all night and she’s feeling sluggish. Maybe you didn’t really leave enough time in your commute to stop for coffee. Be empathetic. Be honest with yourself.
3. REMEMBER the big picture. Zoom out and consider how critical this situation is in the grand scheme of things. Is it really worth ruining your day or hers?
4. Choose to RESPOND differently. Smile and be gracious. Be known by the fruit of patience.
DOING – Writing a Prayer of Lament
Write your own prayer of lament, using the steps that Barrett pointed out in Habbakuk:
- Cry out to God. Call God by name. Recall God’s promises, attributes; ways God has cared for you in the past.
- Share your heartfelt Complaint with God. Describe the suffering you are seeing or experiencing.
- Affirmation of Trust. This is our confession in the midst of our suffering, “Lord I believe… Help my unbelief.” Lament reminds us that, “When we bring our sadness to God . . . our hearts open to God’s presence . . . our minds lock into God’s grace . . . our souls feel the depth of faith and are comforted that we worship a God who meets us in our suffering . . . and it’s there we find patience. “
- Assurance. Give God thanks that God has heard your cry and express your faith that God will answer you in God’s time and in God’s way.
The burden of lament can also be shared in community. Gather with a small group of trusted friends for a time dedicated to lament. Each person can share their lament as described above, after which the group can offer a prayer affirming who God is and trusting in God’s deliverance.