All this week I will be publishing a series of Laments to correspond to the three Jewish “prayer hours” of the day. I hope that they are helpful.
Sabbath Week of Lament — Day One, Sunday
Read Psalm 44
A Morning Prayer of Lament
“God, You have done so much for Your Church.
You determined from before the beginning
that You would redeem a people for Yourself.
You called Abraham and told him You would bless the nations
through the son to be born.
You choose the tribe of Judah to send David,
the precursor to the sending of Your Son,
the incarnate-One, sent to redeem us.
You demonstrated Your love over and over and over.
This nation is not Israel and Americans are not Your Covenant people.
But LORD, You have used this flawed nation in many ways.
You have blessed in material possessions, in accomplishments
and with the most diverse population of any nation on earth.
But where are You now LORD?
Our nation is being torn apart.
The center is not holding.
The edges are all fraying.
And the people,
the people LORD, are destroying one another,
and burning their hopes to the ground.
Our nation, like ancient Israel, is a laughingstock
among the nations.
We disgrace ourselves with violence and hatred.
We talk past one another and fill the air with pride.
Humility has taken a vacation and the nation flames with hate.
Awake Oh God! Do not reject us forever.
Rise up; come to our help.
Without You we will self-destruct.
Rise up and save us for the sake of Your steadfast love.”
cf. Psalm 44; Titus 2:14
A Mid-day Prayer of Lament
“LORD, we can’t pray what Israel prayed.
They declared that they had “not forgotten Your name
or spread out our hands to a foreign god.” (vs. 17, 20)
We can’t pray that.
We have turned our backs on You in a hundred different ways.
We have denied Your word.
We have despised Your precepts.
We have neglected Your commandments.
We have called the nation to remember Your commandments
and yet most of us cannot even name the top ten.
We have abandoned Your commission to take the gospel to the world.
We have not lived with passion.
We have failed to demonstrate that we love You
by failing to love one another when it is hard.
LORD, we are failing You, though You have never failed us.
And yet, You love us, You forgive us, You promise us eternity,
and make us heirs to Your Kingdom.
Oh God, draw us to You.
Help us to see You with the fresh eyes of a child.
Help us to run back to You with the eyes of a prodigal
who knows that Our Father who art in heaven
has made us His own
and will never abandon us.”
cf. Psalm 44; Matthew 6:9-13; Hebrews 13:5-6
An Evening Prayer of Lament
“Why? How long?
Three interrogative words.
Symbols without substance.
Why? How long?
You never answer.
History remembered and rehearsed.
Silence. Only silence.
An abyss of silence.
Why do you hide your face?
why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
our belly clings to the ground.
Rise up; come to our help!
Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!
You play hide and seek,
and forget the pain of our moments.
Have You lost sight of our dust? Selah
Rise oh God.
Rise oh God!
For the sake of Your reputation as a lover,
Lay us down this night
in the confidence that You have heard our cry.
cf. Psalm 44