A dictionary definition of lament is “an expression of grief or sorrow” but as we understand it in the biblical sense it is more then simply expressing a feeling, it is a direct address to God. Lament is a prayer to God during a troubling time and it can be an important way to address our own sorrow and pain towards the hope we have in God.
The Bible includes several prayers of laments, particularly in the psalms. It is important in our walk with God to create space to lament as we experience times of sorrow, pain and uncertainty and this includes helping our children learn to lament as well! As children learn and grow in faith, reading Scriptures of lament helps them to grow in a deep faith that directs emotions towards the truth of our hope in God. During this season approaching Easter, and also in this season when we are all experiencing so much loss–of people, events, celebrations–consider engaging in an experience of writing a psalm of lament together in your family and with children.
Here is one way you might consider.
Read Psalm 13 together as a way to discuss what lament is. You may even use it as a framework to write your own lament psalm. A lament includes these 4 components:
- Address (this is who you are talking to: God)
- Complaint (tell God what is wrong and what your feelings are)
- Petition (tell God what you want Him to do)
- Praise God (tell God that you trust Him, even though you cannot understand what is happening)
Writing or expressing our laments may not change the outcome of the things we are experiencing and we may not get any answers to the questions we ask of God but this is a good way to express our feelings to God and be reminded that He is Sovereign!