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Our Ugly Prayers
by Brenda Emmons
12/03/13
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“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer…Yet, you are enthroned as the Holy One…In you…they trusted and you delivered them. They cried out to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed” Psalm 22:1-5.

Being involved in grief counseling allows me plenty of opportunities in hearing cries of lament. Much like David feelings of abandonment and hopelessness are communicated. Anger seems to rise in words regarding God doing miracles for others but being less than faithful with their loved ones. Question after question…tears after tears…jealousy and disappointment towards others. All communicated to others but not directly to God.

When reading between the lines of David’s lament, his stinging words also insinuated God being a less than truthful God. In considering this parallel to our cries several verses came to mind showing David’s unbelief in God’s nature and promises. ‘Why have you forsaken me?’ (‘I will never … forsake you’ Jos 1:5) ‘Why are you so far from saving me?’ (“Turn to me and be saved…for I am God” Isaiah 45:22). ‘I cry out by day, but you do not answer.’ (‘Call to me and I will answer you’ Jer 33:5.) His prayer of lament goes on and on with brutally honest and accusatory statements. David shows us that even our accusatory prayers to God are words of fellowship and communication. Our disappointments and despair expressed in emotions give God an opportunity to transform our hearts in that very moment. It allows us the spiritual freedom to ask why and why not. ‘The shocking statements and tough questions found in the lament psalms aren’t intended to sanctify our vindictive thoughts or bad behavior. Rather they invite us to come honestly as we are into the presence of God and experience transformation. The crux of a lament is about…embracing the work of reflection and soul-searching, a kind of spiritual self-examination. A good lament will always move us from the Why to the Who.’ Wonder Struck, p. 40-41.

There will always be something or someone who has what we do not have. There will always be pain and confusion as to why certain situations arise. Everything must be dragged in before God… the good, bad and ugly. Whatever we withhold from God, even our unlovely emotions, we withhold from ourselves the peace, comfort and understanding God imparts upon us in these raw and fragile moments. We must trust God with more than our pretty praise…we must bring our ugly doubts before Him to witness another facet of God.


If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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