This week has already given us many reasons to grieve, mourn and lament.
This past Saturday, April 29, 2017, an innocent 15-yeard old black boy named Jordan Edwards was the victim of senseless police brutality. At the beginning of the week in Detroit, a innocent policeman was murdered (Sunday) and a young girl lost her life, while sitting in her own living room, at the hands of an angry gang. The most recent and most personal, perhaps, for some of us is the stabbing of Harrison Brown on the University of Texas, Austin campus on Monday, May 1, 2017.
In the wake of great and senseless violence, it is often hard to know what to think and how to feel, let alone how to respond to it all.
For Christians, I believe this is a proper time to lament – to lament in prayer to God for the crises we are facing and to seek His mighty hand of deliverance. The Psalms of Lament in the Bible give us many examples of what this looks like and how to model this for ourselves.
I myself have found comfort and encouragement in Psalm 5 and, as I have been reading and studying it for myself these past few days, I have also written my own psalm of lament in response.
I want to recommend for you to read Psalm 5 for yourself and to use the prayer I wrote in response as a guide as you begin to work through, process and truly lament the evil in our world. May we take time to recognize the great suffering and sorrows that we are facing in our lives and may we also turn to God for hope and surety during such times.
A Prayer of Lament from Psalm 5
Father in heaven, our hearts are heavy and our tongues fumble to describe the pain we feel. But we call upon You because You are the one true God and You are our God. And we trust that You hear us whether by morning or night.
Father, we confess and glory that You are the God of justice. As such, You hate wickedness and evil. You bring low the proud and You shut the mouths of liars. Because of Your justice, we hope in You.
Father, we also humble ourselves before You because we are debtors to Your grace. There is nothing great in us. Everything that we are is because of Your goodness and mercy. So, lead us further into truth and justice. Apart from You, our ways are not straight.
As for unjust people, their words cannot be trusted. Though they speak alluring words, their tongue is a sharp fang. Their actions are led by injustice and they ultimately rebel against You.
So, Father, put an end to their evil and injustice. Make right what was taken away. Restore those who have been robbed. May Your justice prevail. Keep not silent, O Lord. For we take refuge in You. You are our hope. Justice is hard to come by among humans. But with You, the innocent will be covered. With You, those who trust in You will be protected. You are our hope. Amen.