Hey Venture Church Network. In our last video, we talked about prayer and the importance of being desperate. Paul Miller in his book, the Praying Life, says prayer is helplessness. And I hope you know you cannot do ministry without a sense of helplessness, without being desperate for God. But there’s a facet of praying that’s not often talked about. It’s the idea of lamenting. Grieving. I think often times we’re not honest with ourselves and with God about the degree of grief, pain, frustration, and maybe even anger that we feel as we’re doing ministry, as we’re doing life. I’d like you to listen these excerpts out of Psalm 6, 10, and 13, as they come to us from the Message.
Psalm 6:1-3, “Please, God, no more yelling, no more trips to the woodshed. Treat me nice for a change; I’m so starved for affection. Can’t you see I’m black-and-blue, beaten up badly in bones and soul? God, how long will it take for you to let up?”
Psalm 10: 1-2, “God, are you avoiding me? Where are you when I need you?”
Psalm 13:1-2, “Long enough, God — you’ve ignored me long enough. I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough.”
Let me ask you. Does that feel awkward? It does for me. But as I read through these psalms, Psalm 88, and other passages of lament, I realize it’s what God wants from us. Miller points out something I hadn’t seen before out of Jeremiah 2:5-8. In this passage, God is upset with Israel. Why? Because they are not lamenting. They’re not bringing their grief to God. We think laments are disrespectful. God says the opposite. Lamenting shows you’re engaged with God with the realities of your heart, life, and vibrant living faith. If the pieces of your world are breaking your heart and if you are not in God’s face about them, then as Miller as, you’ll end up becoming quietly cynical and will probably eventually throw in the towel. When you lament, you live simultaneously in the past, in the present, and in the future. Miller says, “Lament connects God’s past promise with my present chaos with hope for a better future.”
Isaiah 63-64 shows us three things about God. Number one, God is sovereign, which means He can do something in your life and ministry. Number two, God is love. He wants to do something for you and for His glory. Number three, God is a covenant keeping God. He will keep His promises to us. He will keep His word. So, let me ask you, what are you doing with your lament? What are you doing with your grieving? What are you doing with your frustrations and anger? Bring it to God honestly. Brutally. Pour out your heart to God. Because as you do, you’re bringing it to Christ. You’re bringing it to the gospel, and that’s where God works. That’s where God wants us. So, let’s be people who in our praying are desperate, and who in our praying are honest. Watch what God does.
God bless you,
David Whitaker, President