A Psalm of Lament


I love diving into my little library of books.  As I have been preparing for various work related projects, and exploring material for a new blog series to be unveiled after Christmas I came across this gem of a book on the Psalms.  It’s called “Rachel’s Cry: Prayer of Lament and Rebirth of Hope.”  This book takes the ‘cry of lament’ seriously (Jurgen Moltmann’s word’s, not mine).

One section of the book explores the spirituality of a group of people who were sexually abused.  Included in that section is this psalm written by Karen Doudt.  Notice as you read the raw and honest tension between the dire sense of forsakenness and the petitions for God’s help.  As we live in a culture that avoids pain, both emotional and physical, lament psalms become increasingly important for our spirituality.  If you do find yourself emotionally beaten, down and out, or physically exhausted or in pain try writing a psalm.  Be honest to God.

My God, My God

Why have you forsaken me?

My body cries out.

My hands are knots

My neck is pained with tension

My chest is tight, breathing is laboured

My stomach groans with unrest

My mouth is dry

My eyes will not close with sleep

My ears ring

My mind is pregnant with unrest

My legs are curled, the muscles crying with tightness

My heart beats on while pain abounds

Oh God, my God

Where are you now?

My spirit longs for thee

for the peace that comes with rest

for the peace that comes on the footsteps of truth

for the peace that comes with the healing of brokenness

for the peace that comes with the release of the pained soul from bondage

for the peace that creeps in when I can share the depths of my pain with trusted ones

Oh God, my God

release the wells of my eyes

break down the remaining walls of my defense

destroy the fear that enfolds my being

awaken the courage to continue to reach out, to unfold

Grant me patience, Lord to endure

– the time required for healing

– the pain of the width and depth of my emotion

– the pain of aloneness

– the search for truth and understanding

– the search for meaning

O God. I feel like the abandoned child, hardening myself to survive because I feel so alone.  I cry out again –  please enfold me in your arms and wrap me with care.  Melt my defenses.  Help me surrender to complete trust in significant others so my story can be told and I can find the things that make for peace.  I pray that through this death I find life.

– by Karen Doudt

Kathleen D Billman and Daniel L Migliore “Rachel’s Cry: Prayer of Lament and Rebirth of Hope.” 90.


  1. David Warkentin · December 11, 2012

    Thanks for sharing Chris – so easy to neglect lament in our personal and corporate worship. For the peace advent theme, our congregation listened to U2’s “Peace on Earth.” It almost felt wrong in the season of Christmas (!!!), revealing, I think, just how bad we need to practice lament.

    • Chris Lenshyn · December 11, 2012

      Amen brother! Lament gives credit to the experience of pain and having an honest relationship with God.

      Without this, our faith is merely cliche.

    • Chris Lenshyn · December 11, 2012

      This is a very very good post! Thanks for sharing this!!!!

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