Writing a Lament

Submitted by Larry McGuire

Reflective Practice Writing or Creating a Lament

“Our only hope is to march ourselves to the throne of God and in loud lament cry out the pain that lives in our souls.” Ann Weems

Take some time and reflect on how the last week (or a time frame of your choice) has been for you. Make note of the emotions you have been feeling during this time. Reflect on a particular situation in your community or in our world that has been causing you concern, pain or anxiety. As you identify the situation, take time to move through the elements of creating a lament that addresses the situation on your heart.

An alternative to inspire you is to take the passage from Isaiah 58 (The Message) and write or create your response to how the Spirit is inviting you to make your community livable again?

With a piece of paper, a pen, markers (you choose), invite God’s presence and follow the steps outlined below. You can create your lament as an individual or as a community:

  1. Address God: What are words or images that capture how you call out to God?
    Sometimes it’s in familiar words like loving presence or eternal One. Sometimes it’s
    simply God.
  2. A Complaint or Protest: Tell God what is wrong. Does God seem distant or
    detached? What is your observation of God in the situation?
  3. A Petition: Tell God what you want God to do about it. How do you want God to
    respond? How are you feeling led to respond?
  4. A Resolution and Expression of Trust: Recall truths about God’s character and
    God’s actions in the past.

Note: If you feel like you would rather draw your lament or inspiration from scripture, then
use your creativity to give expression through images. This is a practice to allow you to
express your rage, your desire, and your trust in God’s presence within you, around you,
and ahead of you.

As you practice writing or creating a lament to God, you might reflect on:

  1. What was it like writing or creating a prayer of Lament? Was it difficult to lament or
    cry out to God? Why do you think this was?
  2. What were you feeling as you were engaging in this practice?

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