3 Prayers of lament


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 

To complement the many psalms of lament and your own ‘wordless sighs’ and ‘aching groans’ (Romans 8:26, MSG), here are three short prayers of lament to try on for size … to pray for yourself, or on behalf of someone else.

 


#1

Heart of my shattered heart,
who will soothe the buried lament?
Who will pour oil on the biting pang
that never dies
Christ, do you hear the words held back?
You are there, a love most healing.
 
~ written by Brother Roger of Taize,
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #223
 


#2

Lord Jesus,
many of us are waiting for you:
the war-torn are waiting for peace,
the hungry are waiting for bread.
the refugees are waiting for a homeland,
the sick are waiting for healers.
Have you forgotten us?
O Lord, come quickly, we pray.
Amen.
 
~ written by Bruce Prewer, posted on bruceprewer.com
 


#3

Lord of my darkest place:
Let in your light.

Lord of my greatest fear:
Let in your peace.

Lord of my most bitter shame:
Let in your word of grace.

Lord of my oldest grudge:
Let in your forgiveness.

Lord of my deepest anger:
Let it out.

Lord of my loneliest moment:
Let in your presence.

Lord of my truest self – my all:
Let in your wholeness.
 
~ written by Alison Pepper,
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #283
 


 
Prayer poem for Lent 4B : Talk about it
 
This prayer poem is inspired by Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22, in particular verse 2a: “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story …
 


From the blog
3 Prayers for Lent
3 Prayers while waiting
3 Prayers for refugees
 

Lament


Always speak the truth even if your voice shakes  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

To introduce this month’s theme of SORROW, an excerpt from the Foreward by Eugene Peterson published in Michael Card’s book, A Sacred Sorrow.

And if you want to try writing your own psalm of lament, check out the links below.
 


On weeping

Eugene Peterson writes,

It’s an odd thing. Jesus wept. Job wept. David wept. Jeremiah wept. They did it openly. Their weeping became a matter of public record. Their weeping, sanctioned by inclusion in our Holy Scriptures, a continuing and reliable witness that weeping has an honored place in the life of faith.

But just try it yourself. Even, maybe especially, in church where these tear soaked Scriptures are provided to shape our souls and form our behaviour. Before you know it, a half dozen men and women surround you with handkerchiefs, murmuring reassurances, telling you that it is going to be alright, intent on helping you to “get over it.”

Why are Christians, of all people, embarrassed by tears, uneasy in the presence of sorrow, unpracticed in the language of lament? It certainly is not a biblical heritage, for virtually all our ancestors in the faith were thoroughly “acquainted with grief.” And our Savior was, as everyone knows, “a Man of Sorrows.”

 
source: A Sacred Sorrow by Michael Card, p.11
 


Compose your own Psalm of Lament

During a recent episode of The Habit Podcast, David O. Taylor describes how we might write our own psalm of lament.

To find out more, go to thehabit.co and/or listen to the podcast episode.
 


 
Prayer poem for Lent 3B : Sweet words
 
This prayer poem is inspired by Psalm 19, in particular verse 14: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
 

Broken spirit sacrifice


Bridge railings reflected  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
Psalm 51:16-17 invites us to pray, to sigh, to sing:

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
      you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
      a broken and contrite heart
      you, God, will not despise.

 
Add to this prayer your prayers for the broken of this world, inspired by this litany written by John Birch.
 


A litany

For those whose lives are broken by distress
May the God of healing restore you

For those whose lives are broken by fear
May the God of healing restore you

For those whose lives are broken by anger
May the God of healing restore you

For those whose lives are broken by pain
May the God of healing restore you

For those whose lives are broken by illness
May the God of healing restore you

For those whose lives are broken by sin
May the God of healing restore you

God of healing
gently touch these lives
with your Spirit
Bring warmth and comfort
life and wholeness
restoration
into fractured lives
and souls

 
~ written by John Birch, and posted on www.faithandworship.com
 


 
Prayer poem for Lent 2B : Not forsaken
 
This prayer poem is inspired by Psalm 22:23-31, in particular verse 24:
For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

 

Yield as sacrifice


Frosty winter morning  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Prayer of Confession

God, penetrate those murky corners where we hide memories,
and tendencies on which we do not care to look,
but which we will not yield freely to you,
that you might purify and transmute them.
The persistent buried grudge,
the half-acknowledged enmity which is still smouldering;
the bitterness of that loss we have not turned into sacrifice,
the private comfort we cling to,
the secret fear of failure which saps our initiative
     and is really inverted pride;
the pessimism which is an insult to your joy.

Lord, we bring all these to you,
and we review them with shame and penitence
in your steadfast light.

Through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen!

 
written by Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), posted on re:worship
 


 
More Evelyn Underhill

 


 
EXTRA EXTRA
 
Prayer poem for Lent 1B : Not unless
I wrote this prayer poem last Saturday during an online creative retreat hosted by United Adoration. It is inspired by the psalm set for the first Sunday in Lent, Year B: Psalm 25:1-10.

Invitation
I will try and write a prayer poem each week as part of my Lenten practice this year and include a link in the blog post. Let me know it you would like to join me and write prayer poems too. Writing prayer poems in community is such a treat.
 
More on writing prayer poems
 

Joseph and Mary: A Poem

 

I wrote this poem in 2007, during my third year of training for the ministry. I probably wrote it in transit, on the train to or from my day job as a software developer.

The poem is a conversation between Mary and Joseph as he grapples with the implications of her decision to say yes to God’s plan.

I do hope, like Mary, you find support from the significant others in your life when you say yes to God’s plan for you. We cannot do it alone.

 


Joseph and Mary

by Irene Bom

Joseph:
How could you agree
When there’s so much at stake?

Mary:
My-beloved-is-mine potentially,
Reckless it may be,
But the risk is mine to take.

Joseph:
Are you insane, Mary?
What did the angel say to sway you?

Mary:
Such wisdom, it’s agony.
I glimpsed the future briefly.
He said dreams are coming true.

Joseph:
What am I to do, tell me?
I had my hopes pinned on a quiet life.

Mary:
I don’t determine your destiny,
But the load is heavy.
It would be easier to carry if I’m your wife.

Joseph:
Your mind is clearly
Made up, and I have no say.

Mary:
I’m dazzled, I’m dazed, I can see
I’m an embryonic community.
Join us, embrace the future. Stay.
 


From the blog
Prepare = action
God loves stories
Theme: Called into community  [prayer sheet]
 

Healed from the inside out


Rome  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 
 

I recently bought a book of poetry by Bonnie Thurston called, Practicing Silence, and have been dipping into it as a kind of spiritual practice. You have to slow down and savour the words. You can’t rush it.

Here’s the poem that inspired this month’s theme, “Healing”.


Inside out

On the face of it
all appears well,
but mostly wounds
are deep beyond reckoning.
As in surgery
the surface heals,
but in subcutaneous depths
resides an awful, jagged maw
into which one
must eventually walk,
sit down, wait for what
only waiting accomplishes:
victory over restlessness
conquering the urge to control;
acceptance of utter helplessness
inviting help’s arrival.
We are all healed
in passive voice
and from the inside out.

 
~ by Bonnie Thurston, from Practicing Silence: New and Selected Verses, p. 74
 


 
From the blog
The Spirit does wonders
Testing ground
In the school of prayer with Anselm
 

Thank you. For dust


(Photo: Albert Goedkoop)

 

Easter blessings to you all.

In light of the resurrection, here’s a different take on the word, “dust”.
 


A poem: Dusting

by Marilyn Nelson, 1946

 
Thank you for these tiny
particles of ocean salt,
pearl-necklace viruses,
winged protozoans:
for the infinite,
intricate shapes
of submicroscopic
living things.

For algae spores
and fungus spores,
bonded by vital
mutual genetic cooperation,
spreading their
inseparable lives
from equator to pole.

My hand, my arm,
make sweeping circles.
Dust climbs the ladder of light.
For this infernal, endless chore,
for these eternal seeds of rain:
Thank you. For dust.
 

source: www.poets.org
 


Extras
Article: The Science of dust, Picasso’s favourite phenomenon

 

When hot and bothered


After a warm spell dried out curly willow leaves litter the grass  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

I was searching for something to share on a summer theme. The word “hot” led me to this prayer poem by Anita Munro.


Teach us where the bucket is

O God, we gather at your waters,
as a hot and bothered crowd gathers on the beach
on a sweltering, summer day.
O God, we drink at your fountain,
as a parched dog laps at the fresh,
running water of a bush creek.
O God, we await your refreshment,
as a tired worker watches for the change of shift.
Quench our thirst, satisfy our longings.
May we be refreshed and restored in you;
and teach us where to find the bucket and how to carry it
so that we might draw that water for those who most need it.

— written by Anita Monro and posted on the MAD-e-Lena blog.


Tip
Read Anita’s blog post for the story behind this prayer poem.


From the blog
Water world news
 

The Gift revisited

The Gift

 
This blog usually features the prayerful writings of others. One major exception is the series, “The Gift”: 12 meditations with readings and original prayer poems on the Holy Spirit that I published between Ascension Day and Pentecost last year.

As a gift to you for Pentecost 2018, I’ve repackaged the 2017 series as a 16-page booklet in PDF format, ready for printing. To get your copy, click here.

For the original blog posts, click here.

Also, check out the Index to see what else this blog has on offer (past posts/series) and maybe consider signing up (if you haven’t yet done so) to receive future posts in your email inbox.
 

Call of the wild ones


Last year’s clutch of Egyptian goslings behind Rotterdam Central Station
 

On the eve of Ash Wednesday and a new season of Lent, here is a “wild” poem by Joel McKerrow that I found on the Northumbria Community website.

 

As the tamed horse
still hears the call of her wild brothers
and as the farmed goose flaps hopeful wings
as his sisters fly overhead,
so too, perhaps,
the wild ones amongst us
are our only hope in calling us back
to our true nature.
Wild ones
who have not been turned to stone
by the far-reaching grasp of the empire
and its programme of consumer sedation,
the killing of imagination.
Where, my friends,
have the wild ones gone?

Joel McKerrow
 

Can you hear the wild ones calling?

Jesus: ‘Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.’ (Mark 4:9)


More Joel McKerrow

Curious to find out more about Joel McKerrow, I found this youtube video featuring another of his “wild” poems: We Dance Wild by Joel McKerrow

You can find the words to “We dance wild” and some backstory on the Abbey of the Arts website.