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  • Writer's pictureGrace Episcopal Church

Lament is a prayer for God to act

By Fr. Frans van Santen

Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David? Remember, O Lord, how your servant is taunted; how I bear in my bosom the insults of the peoples, with which your enemies taunt, O Lord,

with which they taunted the footsteps of your anointed.

~ Psalm 89: 49-51

Lament in the Bible is not merely an outlet for our frustrations. Though venting sometimes has a place, a lament is a form of prayer. And prayer is not passive. Many of the laments in the psalms are calls to action. They plead with God to do something.

So it is with Psalm 89. The writer has had quite a good life, but now finds himself in a bad place, and tells God plainly about this. In his lament, he reminds God of his character, in the hope that He will listen and change things for the better. In other words, he quotes God’s own words back to him; “You have shown yourself faithful, that your love extravagantly, so please act accordingly!”

We know from history that God did answer this lament of Psalm 89. He did act according to his character, for he doesn’t change.

When you pray, do you remind God of who He is in your desire for things to change?

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