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Worship God With Lament (and a worship video to help)

PsalmsJob by Gustav Dore Of Lament

The book of Psalms contains songs and prayers which the nation of Israel used in their worship of God.

Some psalms focus on praise, some on confession, some on prayer — and some on lament.

What Is Lament?

Lament is an expression of grief and sorrow to God concerning our suffering.

You can find examples of lament in Psalm 10, 13, 22, 69, and 77.

So why should we pray and sing laments to God?  When we do —

  • it helps us be honest with God about what we are feeling
  • it points our hearts to God as the One who is sovereign over our suffering
  • it gives us an opportunity to humbly ask God “Why?”
  • it can remind us that God’s purpose for suffering is to bring us more joy in Him
  • it glorifies God as the One who is worth every sorrow
  • it encourages us to ask God to deliver us from suffering
  • it gives us an opportunity to submit to His will for us
  • it teaches others that God brings suffering to those He loves
  • it helps others learn how to suffer

A Powerful Example Of Lament

Shane Barnard understands suffering.  His father died suddenly, and Shane and his family were overwhelmed with grief.

But in their grief, they poured out their souls to God, lamented before God, and worshiped God.

As they did, God gave Shane the song, “Though You Slay Me.”  It’s a worship song full of God-centered lament.

(The recording also includes John Piper’s call that we not lose heart in sufferings.)

How About You?

Think of what’s causing you sorrow.  Let this song help you express your sorrow to God (I’m including the lyrics below.)

And watch what God does in your heart —


I come, God, I come
I return to the Lord
The one who’s broken
The one who’s torn me apart
You strike down to bind me up
You say you do it all in love
That I might know you in your suffering

Though you slay me
Yet I will praise you
Though you take from me
I will bless your name
Though you ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I’ll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I’ll know every tear was worth it all

Though you slay me
Yet I will praise you
Though you take from me
I will bless your name
Though you ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

Though tonight I’m crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You’re still more than I need
You’re enough for me
You’re enough for me

[Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. But all of it is totally meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain, from the fallen nature or fallen man, every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that.

I don’t care if it was cancer or criticism. I don’t care if it was slander or sickness. It wasn’t meaningless. It’s doing something! It’s not meaningless. Of course you can’t see what it’s doing. Don’t look to what is seen.

When your mom dies, when your kid dies, when you’ve got cancer at 40, when a car careens into the sidewalk and takes her out, don’t say, “That’s meaningless!” It’s not. It’s working for you an eternal weight of glory.

Therefore, therefore, do not lose heart. But take these truths and day by day focus on them. Preach them to yourself every morning. Get alone with God and preach his word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for.]

Though you slay me
Yet I will praise you
Though you take from me
I will bless your name
Though you ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

(HT: Desiring God)

How Did This Affect You?

I’d love to hear.  Leave a reply below — thanks.

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(Picture is from Gustav Dore and is in the public domain.)

Category: Feeling Grief or Sorrow?, Worship Videos


8 Responses

  1. Ron R. says:

    Thanks Steve for sharing this. Very Encouraging. This goes along with how every struggle we go through is an expression of His Love for us.


  2. Brian says:

    Thanks Steve!
    It seems that during grief one will either pull to God or pull away from Him.
    Lament is an expression of pulling to Him and sharing one’s grief with Him.

  3. Marcy says:

    I’m thankful I came upon this. After 12 years as a widow, I thought I had been given hope of new happiness in a relationship. It was short-lived, however, and even though I know God means it for good it is hard. The Lord has so lovingly given me much comfort, but I must continue to share my disappointment and hurt with him. Shane and Shane and John Piper are favorites of mine, so I especially appreciated this lament. May God bless you and keep you, Steve.

  4. Mohinda says:

    Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. phil 4:4. I love the Lord and still I am unable to rejoice. I suffer from depression and anxiety. I get very angry at God and my heart consonantly feels broken. I pray, go to church , read my bible, serve in my local church, I know I do love the Lord and that I am saved. my depression and Anxiety is so deep and hurtful i dont know how to deal with it, it is destroying my family life and my testimony. At the current moment I am feeling suicidal. Plz help, advise

  5. Ryan says:

    Great article. I would say I’m lamenting the fact of a major unanswered prayer. I have been praying for a wife for some time now. Years now. I can’t say consistently, every single day, but I have prayed for it often since around 2007. So today I’m single still. I walked away from a previous relationship a few years ago that in some ways I still have remorse for leaving. She was not a Christian but I don’t think she was completely against it. So that was years ago. I’m struggling and failing and failing at times with sin in my life. I think this is what’s keeping this blessing from my life. Possibly. I’m also struggling with depression and isolation. I struggle a lot in being in a social setting. So I might think I know the reasons why my prayer or prayers go unanswered. I still pray though. I still pray for her. I wish the sorrow I feel about singleness would not be so persistent at times but paired with depression it can be a whopper to deal with. I’m ranting now but I’m lamenting with the fact that I’m depressed, clueless on my purpose, and I really wish that I wasn’t single…

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