Prayers of Lament

*This is an exercise intended to be used with your leadership team, or even perhaps the students you know. You may adapt it to best fit your community’s needs.

Lament can be a confusing or feel dangerous. It is a prayer of weeping and wailing, earnestly pouring our sorrow and disappointment out to God. For some, lament doesn’t feel safe or good, but the bible shows us a human need to honestly express our hurt to the Lord. As you’ll see at the bottom of this post, scripture is full of lament.

Below, you can see a breakdown of Psalm 4 as a prayer of lament. Turning to God, complaining sincerely, showing trust, asking for what we need, and praising God can all be pieces of lament.

Read Psalm 4 aloud, twice, and notice the vulnerability displayed in this prayer.

Verse 1: Turning to God, addressing Him
Verse 2: Complain fearlessly to God
Verse 3: Show trust in God
Verse 4-7: Ask God for what you need
Verse 8: Praise God

Using the outline provided of Psalm 4, spend time praying with lament through your struggle or heartache. You may do this silently, aloud as a community, or in written form. (With middle schoolers, a writing exercise may help them stay focused throughout the prayer.)


Reflect on a particular situation or recurring theme that you know has been causing you distress, pain, or anxiety and that you feel is beyond your control. Imagine that God has given you complete freedom to lay it all out, to complain fearlessly without judgement, in order to get it all off your chest.

  1. Turn to God, addressing him
  2. Complain fearlessly
  3. Show trust
  4. Ask for what you need
  5. Praise

*Other Psalms of Lament
Individual: 3, 4, 5, 7, 9-10, 13, 14, 17, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 36, 39, 40:12-17, 41, 42-43, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 61, 63, 70, 71, 77, 86, 89, 120, 139, 141, 142
Corporate: 12, 44, 58, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, 85, 85, 89, 90, 94, 123, 126, 129

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