Did you know one-third of the Psalms are laments, and they all end in praise? Until recently, I didn’t understand how lament impacted my faith. It surprised me that my perceived disrespectful outpouring of doubt and confusion toward God turned into praise. Not only did I learn how biblical lament leads to a grateful heart, but I also discovered five inspiring truths.
1. There’s a difference between complaining and lamenting.
It’s helpful to distinguish lamenting from complaining. Lament is a passionate expression of grief and sorrow that seeks to draw closer to God. God does not ignore the deep need expressed in lament. When lament comes from a heart open to God, longing for restoration, it leads to repentance, changes your outlook, and inspires hope.
2. Lament isn’t just for grieving death.
I think many people associate lament exclusively with mourning death and loss. At least I did. But I’ve learned it’s also healthy to lament when I feel helpless in my situations, struggling with sin, or heartbroken. God invites us into a relationship with him. He wants us to be honest and open about our struggles and difficult emotions.
3. Finding solitude with the Lord leads to lament.
If you’re stuffing emotions and feeling distant from God, I suggest finding the time and place where you can be alone with the Lord.
I love being in God’s beautiful creation, so I can pray out loud where no one can hear me. My closest times with the Lord have been in nature while listening to worship music.
Try writing your prayers in a journal. Ask the Lord to speak to your heart. Don’t forget to sign up for the free topical lament journal below.
3. Telling God your honest struggles in every area of your life helps shift your gaze from your problems to God.
I get caught up in looking for answers and figuring out the reasons for my pain and suffering. In my desire to figure things out, I subconsciously create a spiritual wall between God and myself. Putting a spiritual faith spin of positivity over my deep-rooted brokenness doesn’t lead to inner healing. Sometimes, I need to get real with God to feel close to Him again.
Naming out loud, each brick dividing my heart helps me break it down. Unloading burdens allows God to fill me with His truth and love.
4. The Holy Spirit intercedes when you cannot find the words to pray.
During times of deep suffering and sorrow, you may be unable to pray specifically over these areas of your life, and that’s ok. Did you know the Holy Spirit prays for you when you cannot find the words?
5. Lament helps you look to God, not people or circumstances.
I’m inclined to look to other people for validation, affirmation, and approval. This is a dead-end road. I get nowhere when I look to other people for acceptance. But when I trust the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life and walk by faith, I find myself living out my God-given purpose and feeling fulfilled, even when I don’t know where the road leads. Last summer, when I poured out my heart to God about how frustrated I was, the Lord directed me to David’s prayer, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” When we are overwhelmed by life, we must remember to look to our Rock—the creator of the world whose thoughts are higher than ours.
If you feel like your faith needs revival, I encourage you to get alone and share your heart with God. I created this free lament prayer journal to help you think about areas in your life you may want to talk to God about.
This is a powerful post, Valerie. I didn’t understand lament until recently, and since discovering these truths, God has used this discipline to help me navigate grief and loss in “small” as well as “big” events. Thanks for unpacking this for us!
I like how you address that lament isn’t just reserved for grieving a death! Our emotions are valid and Scriptures attest to being vulnerable before the LORD, who hears and heals us. Thank you for this encouraging post today!
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I’m so thankful for God’s compassion and grace.