A tragedy strikes and your pastor emails and says we need to set aside some time to lament on Sunday. You break out your songlist and discover that in fact you have ZERO songs of lament. There have been cries from many different corners of the church in the past few years that our worship needs to create space for seasons of Lament. Here is a helpful article from John Starke on using lament in your worship. It may not be a practice that is needed every Sunday but our world is too full of sorrow, sin, and tragedy not to devote seasons in your worship to this rich biblical practice. The Psalms are deeply familiar with a life of lament and so should we – the words of Psalm 22 were words that Jesus choose when on the cross. Below are a number of songs that traffic in the language and mode of lament. I’ve included a small list for now where I had both audio and chart files. Here is a helpful list of both communal and personal psalms of lament. Please suggest more songs in the comments below!
Here is a brief guide from John Witvliet on using lament in worship:
A Basic structure of a prayer of lament, mirroring the structure of the Psalms.
- Our lament begins with invocation, a startling confession that even in times of crisis, we approach a personal and accessible God.
- Then, our lament freely addresses this personal God through the picturesque gallery of images used in direct address in the psalms.
- Our prayer continues with bold lament. We bring our most intense theological questions right into the sanctuary.
- Then our prayer continues with specific petition: heal us, free us, save us.
- Finally, our prayer ends with expressions of hope, confidence, and trust, however muted they might be by the present situation.
Blessed Be Your Name (Redmans)
FROM CANTICLES ALBUM
OTHER RESOURCES and ARTICLES
Songs in the Night – Michael Van Patter
How Long O Lord – Psalms for Advent – Jacob Tilton
Prayerbook Project, Vol 2 – Brian Moss
Rejoicing in Lament – Dr. Todd Billings
Songs for Lent – New York Hymns
List of more songs and resources from the Global Worship blog
Recovering the Lost Practice of Lament – Kristen Gilles