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A Praying Life, Chapter 22

Chapter 22: "Hebrew Laments" | Week of August 5, 2018

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” – Luke 12:25


In chapter 22, Paul Miller discusses the value and importance of laments, but also their inherent unpleasantness. Why are laments so messy? "They bring together two things (reality and promise) that recoil from one another. A lament connects two 'hot' wires—God's promise and the problem. When that happens, sparks fly." (Page 173)

Last week's chapter was about desert seasons that drive us to God simply because there is no other hope. "A lament doesn't flee the desert; it fights the desert." (Page 173) When faced with hardship, disappointment, or a seeming disconnect between who God says he is and our situation, a lament is a cry to God to come through for us.

In the midst of grief or suffering, we find ourselves anxious. As Pastor Sean shared on Sunday, anxiety is our psychological (and physical) response to the realization we are not in control. A lament takes that anxiety and channels it into petition to the One who IS in control. "They are the spiritual warfare equivalent of 'going nuclear': You have no other option, so you reach for your most powerful weapon—your ability to cry out to the living God for help." (Pages 175-176) 


As you thought about your desert experience last week, did you find yourself filled with anxiety rather than peace? The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." We sometimes think this ought to be a proper, orderly asking, but the way the psalms speak to God, we know that our requests can be raw and unfiltered. So take some time to jot down the emotions your desert produces in you, then we'll pray about them.    


Perhaps the most powerful statement in this chapter of A Praying Life comes on page 173: "Laments might seem disrespectful, but in fact they are filled with faith—a raw, pure form of faith that simply takes God at his word." Take your bundled up emotions over your desert situation, whatever it might be, and hand them to God. He promises to work all things together for the good of those who love him (Rom. 8:28), so petition him to do that very thing in your circumstance. You aren't bossing God around; you are asking him to be true to himself, as he promises to be (2 Tim. 2:13).


Please pray for church leadership this week as we continue to plan for the fall. Thanks to the military moves that occur each summer, Daybreak relaunches ministries every fall, and it requires a lot of prayer and planning. Specifically, please pray for new leaders to replace those we've lost to "PCS season" and for wisdom to meet new needs as our church family continues to grow.


Talk to your kids about praying when they feel upset, mad or sad. Do they tell God what's wrong? Pray that you will learn together how to take your emotions to God, not just your needs and wants.

Tags : prayer, devotional