Real Life Prayers

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Last Sunday Dave spoke generally about how every range of human emotion could be found in the Psalms.

Love. Hope. Joy. All the positive emotions are found there.

But there are also the negative ones. Anger. Hatred. Sorrow.

Not only are these emotions found in the Book of Psalms, they are the most prevalent emotion there.

This week I will be preaching upon the genre of Lament. The Google tells me the definition of lament is “A passionate expression of grief or sorrow.”

The Lament Psalms are hymns and prayers born out of the suffering of the everyday life. These Psalms are written out of deep sorrow and affliction. They cry out to God “Where are you?”

Walter Brueggemann, the renowned Hebrew Bible scholar, argues that these Psalms empower “people to make a case in the presence of God, to make a legitimacy for their own life.”

These Psalms give space for people who feel like life is too much right now. They become a script for being able to faithfully talk to God about the intricacies of our lives, but not in the glib way of “this just must be your plan.”

Lament Psalms do not gloss over the hard parts of life. They give voice to those parts which are so often left out of our language of faith.

Often times we don’t allow ourselves to have these thoughts of pain, grief, and sorrow because we are told we are supposed to be happy all the time. The Lament Psalms call that sentimentality out for what it really is: a denial of the lives of those for whom pain is all to real.

One last thing, Psalms of Lament never stay down in the dumps. They always end in praise. They end shouting the glory of the Lord. But they first begin with the pain of real life.

They start with life, and end with praise.

This Sunday we will be giving voice to Lament and allowing our pain to have its say. I hope you will join me at 9:00 and 10:45 AM.

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