This past Sunday, Jason Minnix suggested an exercise to facilitate our reflection during the season of Advent. As we dwell on the anticipation of Advent, maybe it would be helpful to write our own Psalm of Lament. Here is a guide to help you get started.
[adapted from Journey Through Grief]
Read Lamentations 3 to get a sense of the breadth of this genre or prayer. Spend some time writing responses to the following prompts:
1. Address to God: How do you address God? How do you believe your relationship with God will initiate change in your life situation?
2. Complaint: What is your complaint? What anger do you have that may need to be discussed with God?
3. Affirmation of trust: Have you experienced God being on your side in the past? Is there something you can look back on and say that you experienced the presence of divine love in your life?
4. Petition: What is your deepest desire from God? What do you want for your life situation right now?
5. Additional Argument: Having gotten in touch with your desire, is there anything else you want to say to God about your need and why God should intervene? What past situation do you feel like you would like to “remind” God of?
6. Mention enemies: Are there things or people in your life that feel like enemies? How can you bring them to God?
7. Assurance of being heard: What do you need from God to feel heard?
8. Vow of praise: What can you promise or offer to God?
9. Hymn or blessing: What thing/person/event (no matter how small) can you thank God for? What other things/persons/events can you be grateful for?
Rewrite your lament incorporating your responses to the questions above.
[Photo by andybokanev @ Flickr]