Pouring Out Your Heart in Lament to God

“It seems to me that we do not need to be taught how to lament since we have so many models in Scripture. What we need is simply the assurance that it’s okay to lament. We all carry deep within ourselves a pressurized reservoir of tears. It takes only the right key at the right time to unlock them. In God’s perfect time, these tears can be released to form a healing flood. That’s the beauty and the mystery of the prayer of lament.” Michael Card

 Did you know that even in sadness you can worship God in prayer? 

 You can worship Him in the midst of difficulty through a prayer of lament. There are many of these kinds of prayers in Scripture. All the major Bible characters poured their hearts out to God in lament. This is a type of prayer that we rarely hear about, yet at times, it is a necessary part of each one of our prayer lives.

 When experiencing the dark night of the soul, prayers of lament are so helpful. We live in a broken world where things do not always go right. There are times when we don’t know what God is doing or which way to turn. Bringing before God a prayer of lament can make all the difference in the world, because God actually changes us during these times when we pour out our hearts to Him.

 Prayers of lament are a form of worship and faith. We worship God even in the midst of pouring our difficulty out before Him. Instead of backing away from God during a hard time or a dark night, we face the pain and worship Him with it. As an act of love, we offer it all to God. We lay everything before His Throne.

 “Lamentation is a powerful, and meaningful, form of worship because it places our love for God above even the worst of circumstances in our life… God does not ask us to deny the existence of our suffering. He does want us to collect it, stand in those things and make Him an offering. The Holy Spirit, our Comforter, helps us to do this: He aligns Himself with our will and says, ‘I will help you to will to worship God.’ The glory of the majesty of God is that He helps us will and do.” Graham Cooke

 The following is an example of a song of lament that has touched many of us throughout the years. The Spafford family lost everything they owned in a fire. Making plans to rebuild, they moved from Chicago to France. Horatio Spafford carefully planned the trip from America to France and booked tickets on a huge ship for his wife and four daughters. He was planning to join them a few weeks later. On the voyage, the ship was rammed by another vessel and sank, carrying his wife and four daughters to the bottom of the ocean. All his plans suddenly were crushed. 

 In grief and lament as his ship passed over the watery grave of his wife and four beloved daughters, he wrote this famous hymn, “It is Well With My Soul”. Many of us know that hymn and have been touched deeply through the words expressed in every verse. Horatio Spafford knew the power of the prayer of lament in that instant. His words have helped multitudes face their own sorrows (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6yDFn3OAFo).

 He refused to let God go in the midst of difficulty and grief.

 Prayers of lament may look like prayers of complaining, but they can still be prayers of faith, because this type of prayer refuses to let God go even in the hard times. God may seem absent, but He is not. Prayers of lament are honest before God and bring us face to face with Him as we try to understand what is going on in our heart. Job was one who prayed deep prayers of lament. He had lost everything—his family, friends, home, and health. Yet he wrestled through with God and clung to Him as he sought for meaning to his struggles. He held onto His faith in God and turned to Him with all his heart. He wanted to see God in the midst of his pain. Job did not let God go. He said:

 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eye—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)

 In the end God gave him back so much more. Job was able to see God in a far deeper way than before his trial. Not letting go and bringing our heart to God in the midst of pain is an act of faith. Well-known musician, Michael Card tells us how we can learn faith from Job’s prayer of lament: 

 “Finally, we see in Job one of the most fundamental lessons we can learn from lament: that protesting and even accusing God through the prayers of lament is, nevertheless, an act of faith. The lament of faith does not deny the existence of God. Rather, it appeals to God on the basis of his loving kindness, in spite of current conditions that suggest otherwise. Job simply would not let go of God—in spite of death, disease, isolation, and ultimately, a fear that God had abandoned him.”


How to Write a Prayer of Lament

 Habakkuk 3:17-18 is a well-known example of a prayer of lament. Habakkuk was living in difficult circumstances but through a prayer of lament, he was brought to a place of peace. In chapter one his prayer was prayed in frustration; he was asking God “how long” and “why” regarding his circumstances. He was not denying the existence of pain. He was bringing it before God. Perhaps the situation sounds similar to our day. 

 “Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted” (Habakkuk 1:3-4). 

 Through Habakkuk’s prayer of lament, God changed his heart. He didn’t immediately change his situation. God had directed his attention to His long-range plans and not the present circumstances he was facing. He told Habakkuk to wait and to live by faith. By the last chapter he prayed:

 “LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2). 

 Though his circumstances were difficult, God met with Habakkuk in his prayer and changed him on the inside. He began to see from a new perspective. He began to put his faith in God’s eternal hope, and his prayer of lament was a form of worship to God. In lamenting, you actually worship God with your sorrow. We read in Habakkuk 3:17-18: 

 “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

 You may want to write down your own prayer of lament using the words “though” and “yet” to begin to phrase your lament. Do this when you are facing difficulty. Save this exercise in prayer for the hard moments in your life.

  • Find a quiet place with God – Being alone with Him is a necessity for this kind of prayer.

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you – He will lead you in a prayer of lament. He will open up your heart to God.

  • Be in God’s presence – We are often so much in a hurry but a prayer of lament takes time spent in God’s presence. Give yourself wholly to God.

  • Write down the “though” circumstances in your life – What difficulties and challenges are you right now facing? What pain or grief do you feel? These are the “though” circumstances.

  • Offer these things to God – Offer God the hard things as a sacrifice. Don’t ask for anything.

  • Worship God by completing the phrase – “Though these things have happened, yet _________.” Worship God in a series of yet statements. Bless and praise Him even in spite of the difficult things.

I guarantee that this will have a great effect on your life. 

 I had some very difficult moments in my life nine years ago. I was facing cancer, several surgeries, and a lengthy recovery. I learned that through pouring out my heart to God in prayers of lament, my heart was changed. I began to look at things in a much more positive light.

 Praising God in the midst of difficulty is so powerful because God stands in the moment with us. The thing that I can testify during those moments of difficulty—when I brought my pain directly to God and walked with Him through it—was the reality that God was really there, and He gave me a deeper revelation of Himself.

 Watch the following video and let it speak to your heart. See how this father lovingly sacrifices and cares for his beloved son. Know that Your Redeemer Lives and lovingly cares for you every moment in your pain – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdA3Equ1I3s.

 “If you are in mourning, you have the opportunity to worship in the most powerful way possible: lamentation. This worship isn’t done in order to have God remove the pain. It simply recognizes that God stands in the moment with us. Lamentation elevates God in the presence of our enemies. It brings out a side of God that other forms of worship simply cannot touch.” Graham Cooke

Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International
International House of Prayer (IHOP) KC Staff
deb@intercessorsarise.org
www.intercessorsarise.org

The Power of Forgiveness

“We have been sent into the world to implement the rule of God on earth. Where there is discord we are to replace it with harmony. Where there is hatred we are to replace it with agape. Where there is an offense simmering into a murderous conflict, we are to replace it with forgiveness. When we choose to forgive, we invade the realm of darkness and defeat those dark forces with the power of a resurrected life.” Dudley Hall

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful responses that we could ever have, yet the steps in forgiving others may be difficult. Forgiving others is very hard. The love of Christ is the only way we can set free those who have deeply wounded us. The love of Christ gives us the only context we have for believing God has forgiven us.

There is perhaps no greater gift you can offer God than a heart that knows the power of forgiveness and decides to set others free. Forgiving shows that the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus are operating in our lives. It is time to access this life-changing grace of forgiveness.

Is there someone who has offended you? Are you able to release the person in forgiveness? God gives us divine power to forgive. We who have received the freedom of forgiveness have the power to set one another free. This is a power that truly sets the captive free and can affect the whole world. Forgiveness defeats darkness on a massive scale because it involves the resurrection power of Jesus. Nothing can defeat the greatness and glory there is in one act of forgiveness.

The need for forgiveness can be seen in a story of a father and his son in Spain. They had become angry and bitter toward one another. The son finally left home and ran away. His father began to search for him but was unable to find him anywhere. After months of frantically searching, the father came to the end of his resources and sat down sadly in a coffee shop. Suddenly he had an idea!

He put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad said something like this: “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the men’s clothes shop at 2 p.m. on Friday. You are forgiven. I love you. Your father.” On Friday at 2 p.m., eight hundred Pacos showed up! They were all looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers. How important it is that we seek forgiveness and offer forgiveness to one another. It is critical to our lives in every dimension—spiritually, physically, emotionally, and relationally.

“Would you like to see the Lord shatter the spiritual prisons in your life, the areas where you feel trapped? Then forgive those who put you there, for surely the walls of your imprisonment are made of your own anger and unforgiveness toward others.” Francis Frangipane

Steps in Forgiving Others

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

Here are some basic steps toward extending and receiving forgiveness:

  • Recognize and call sin what God calls it – Be specific and thorough. Remember that forgiveness is not excusing and approving of inappropriate behavior or saying that an offense isn’t important. Be honest with yourself 
and recognize your emotional response. You may feel angry, sad, let down, or disappointed. It isn’t wrong to have emotions. They are natural. It’s what you do with your emotions that can be sinful. Make sure there is no offensive way in you.“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

  • Share with God honestly and let Him heal you – Tell God what happened to you and how you feel. Look at His evaluation of the situation. Focus on Him and His faithfulness. Spend time with Him, and let Him restore where sin has destroyed. Forgiveness releases God’s divine healing power.“O lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me” (Psalm 30:2).
  • Set the offender free, understanding that it is a process – Declare forgiveness. Say, “I forgive [name the individual
 or group] for [name the offense].” Don’t say, “I want
 to forgive.” It takes time to go through the process of forgiveness. The hurt can come up at different times, 
and we must choose to forgive again. It doesn’t mean we automatically forget the offense.“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

  • Release the offender to God – Repent of your desire to punish or take revenge. Let God deal with the offense. Focus on today rather than the past. Let the offender off the hook. Declare God as judge over the person and the situation.“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the lord” (Romans 12:19).

  • Bless the offender – Apply God’s forgiveness. Trust and reconcile when possible, but realize that forgiveness does not always mean we have to relate to the person in the future. In some cases, this is not possible. Know God’s protection and justice. We are God’s called-out people, who know who we are in Christ and walk in love with God and one another. We become partakers of His resurrected life. Forgiveness is essential if we want to walk in personal and corporate revival.“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse” (Romans 12:14).

God will give us the grace to fully set everyone free. May we be like Jesus, who was the first one to love. When God forgives us, He gives us the power to forgive. May the river of God’s life flow through us in that we bless everyone we meet. May we remind people of how much they are loved by God. As we give our lives away in love and forgiveness, we become free ourselves. Many of us don’t realize the power there is in truly forgiving one another. It is much greater and has a far greater consequence than any of us have ever realized.

Dear Lord, I thank You for the power of forgiveness, and I choose to forgive everyone who has hurt me. Help me set [name anyone who has offended you] free and release them to You [Romans 12:19]. Help me bless those who have hurt me [Romans 12:14]. Help me walk in righteousness, peace, and joy, demonstrating Your life here on earth. I choose to be kind and compassionate, forgiving others, just as You forgave me [Ephesians 4:32]. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Forgiveness is the very spirit of heaven removing the hiding places of demonic activity from the caverns of the human soul. It is every wrong made right and every evil made void. The power released in forgiveness is actually a mighty weapon in the war to save our cities.” Francis Frangipane

Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International
International House of Prayer (IHOP) KC Staff
deb@intercessorsarise.org
http://www.intercessorsarise.org