THEME: GROWING THROUGH GRIEF
BREATH PRAYER: FATHER, HELP ME WALK WITH YOU THROUGH MY GRIEF AND LOSS
- In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
- Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
- Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
- Read these words slowly (aloud or silently):
“You rule the oceans. You subdue their storm-tossed waves.”
Pray this week’s breath prayer and pause for a few moments of silence.
PRAYER OF LAMENT
Sorrow is a harsh reality in this life. Jesus experienced it, and neither are we exempt. Our Father does not expect us to brush it off, plaster a smile on our faces, and carry on cheerfully. Our God understands, being acquainted with grief Himself, and He welcomes our broken hearts when we bring them to Him.
There is a considerable difference between lament and complaint. In her book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp writes, “Lament is a cry of belief in a good God, a God who has His ear to our hearts, a God who transfigures the ugly into beauty. Complaint is the bitter howl of unbelief in any benevolent God in this moment, a distrust in the love-beat of the Father’s heart.”
Think through your life’s three significant heartaches, griefs, losses, and painful seasons. In one or two sentences, write descriptions of them in your journal. Today we will take these difficult times to the Lord, offering them to Him. Which of these experiences do you need to appropriately grieve? Ask God to highlight one in which you haven’t been able to see redemption or resurrection.
Prayers of lament are found throughout the scriptures, including nearly half of the book of Psalms. Today we will focus on the prayers found in the book of Lamentations. This book is powerfully honest, written at a time when God’s covenant with Israel seemed completely forgotten. His people were conquered, scattered, and seemingly abandoned. The temple was in ruins, starvation was imminent, and God’s promised future seemed hopeless. From this desperate situation, these prayers of lament arose and expressed the people’s honest grief.
Scan through the book of Lamentations as you ask God to reveal the words that speak to your specific loss or grief. If nothing stands out to you, focus on Lamentations 2:18-19, 3:1-3, 3:13-15, or 5:1-3. As you remember your specific pain, speak these words to God as a personal prayer. If you weep, accept these tears as gift of God, a sanctification of this grief. As you pray, imagine Jesus holding this pain for you while you grieve it. Take time in this prayer, don’t rush it. If you feel like any words are especially meaningful, write them in your journal.
To close your time of prayer, read the words of Lamentations 3:20-24:
I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
Digging Deeper: C.S. Lewis wrote A Grief Observed following the death of his wife, and said, “I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.” In light of your own grief, rewrite the words of Lamentations that stood out to you, using your own words. Keep it in your Bible or somewhere you can return to it as you continue to process.
Summary: Write in your journal a brief summary (five sentences or less) of your lament.
Closing: Be honest with the Lord as you close in prayer. Don’t think you have to put up a false front of joy if you don’t feel it. Use words you would use with your best friend or spouse. Father, help me walk with You through my grief and loss.