Friday, Day 6, A Lament from a Spiritual Desert

Sometimes, God has to use a 2×4 to get our attention.

delaware-water-gap-nra-istock_46099994_xlarge-sm_1
Delaware Water Gap from Pennsylvania Side

Read Psalm 80 and 102

Psalm 102 is a personal lament prayer of one who is afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the Lord. It captures some of the emotion that many of us are feeling during this time of turmoil in the church and the nation. It is a good guide to the way we ought to be praying.

A Morning Prayer of Lament

           “O Lord, these images in the psalm are vivid—
.          clinging flesh,
.          days passing away like smoke,
.          withered grass,
.          lonely sparrows,
.          desert owls in wilderness wastes.”

“The psalmist was in the school of affliction.
So are we Lord. So is Your church.
Draw us to Yourself. Hear our cry.
Rescue us by showing us how much we need You.
Don’t let us settle for anything less than You.
We ask it all in the matchless name of the Son,
who was abused, bled and died, and rose for us too.
Amen.”

cf. Psalm 102

A Mid-day Prayer of Lament and Confession

“Why don’t You make it easy?
Why do You make it so hard?
Sometimes it seems like You are as deaf as the idols at the museum.
You hide Your face.
While here in the middle of this mess, pain blisters my heart,
and days roll by like smoke disappearing
before I can even grasp what to do.
How long Lord?
I needed an answer yesterday.
I need to wake-up from this nightmare.
I can’t eat.
I can’t sleep.
Everything hurts.
I’m lonely, forsaken, and
feeling like You have thrown me over the cliff.
My feelings are real.
They hound me from the dawn of the day.
They haunt me as I turn out the light.
Yet I know they are wrong.
But I also know that they are overwhelming.
Relentless, inescapable, and crushing.
But wrong.
You are eternal. These wounds will heal.
You will surprise Your people with compassion.
Grace will show up at the appointed time.
You won’t despise my prayer.
And I will raise a generation to praise Your name.
When my groanings have become a memory, 
and my tears have become praise.

cf. Psalm 102 

An Evening Prayer of Lament

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
You who lead the Church like a flock.
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Before our eyes
stir up Your might and come to save us!

Restore us, no, convert us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved!

O Lord God of hosts,
how long will You be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed us the bread of tears
And given us wailing to drink ever since a man knelt on another man’s neck.
You make us an object of contention for our neighbors,
And our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, please O God of host, convert us!
Let Your face shine, that we may be saved!

Long ago, You brought a vine out of Egypt;
You drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for Jacob;

Israel took deep root and filled the land.
And then they sinned.
Jeremiah warned. Daniel warned. All of the prophets warned.
But they did not repent,
and You pushed them out to the corners of the earth.
Must we follow their lead?
Must we experience their sorrow?
Must we hang our hearts in Babylon?
Will You not have mercy on us?

Why have You broken down the walls of the Republic?
Will the nations pluck America’s fruit?

Will the boar from the forest ravage it,
and all the mice of the field feed on its carcass?
Will the nation become a wilderness again? 
Will the prosperity and blessings of a nation
follow the path of Venezuela?

Turn again, O God of Hosts.
Look down from heaven, and see;

have regard for this vine.
For too long we have tolerated our sins.
For too long we have not been a city on a hill.
For too long we have neglected the miracles of our past,
and taken for granted the privileges of our heritage.
For too long we have ignored Your ways and despised Your will
and lived comfortably with our corruptions.
Yet we are the stock that Your right hand planted,
red and brown, black and white, yellow and every hue,
we are the nation others call America.

“But let Your hand be on the man of Your right hand,
 ….. the son of man whom You have made strong for yourself!

Then we shall not turn back from You;
…..  give us life, and we will call upon Your name!
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts!
…..  Let Your face shine, that we may be saved!”

O Lord of Hosts, convert us to You,
completely.

cf. Psalm 80


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