05 October 2021
Laidlaw Communal Lament
Lament is Christian worship that expresses our hurt, despair, and confusion to God. In our cry of lament, we ask God to change us and to change our circumstances. Lament honestly recognises how we are and invites Jesus to minister to us, by the power of the Spirit, and move us towards a place of hope. Without faking it.
We invited our community to express their prayers of lament – some personal, some communal – to God. A small staff team worked to weave them together. This is our lament – written by and for the Laidlaw College Community – to the living God.
Dear God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
We call out to you and present our requests to you. We are tired of re-visiting our own thoughts over and over again – believing that analysing them repeatedly will somehow produce different fruit.
Jesus, we want to tell you how we’re doing and feeling. We give you our wonderings, our pain, our complaints. Hear them O Lord, and answer. We no longer want the activity of our minds to cause us mental anguish. Take these burdens from us and do something about them!
Just as our ancestors cried out to you and you were faithful to hear and respond throughout all generations, we too call out to you. Lord, receive our prayers as we offload them to you today. We give you our concerns. Come quickly, Lord Jesus and draw near to us. Maranatha.
WHERE ARE YOU GOD?
Where are you Lord? When will you answer me? I am tired of waiting for you to act.
Where are you, Lord, in the midst of confusion and lack of clarity? In the midst of misinformation and fear?
But we know that your steadfast love endures forever.
Your name is Immanuel. You are GOD WITH US.
Praise you, Lord, for you have given us strength to keep going this year.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your presence with us – even when we cannot feel it.
Where are you, Lord, when I am unable to write my assignments?
We want to feel your presence in times of need!
But still we know that you love us. And you are with us.
The beauty of your creation is evidence of your goodness.
You are gracious and compassionate. Slow to anger and rich in love.
Where are you, God of my salvation? How long will I lie here in agony?
I want to trust you. But it's hard. Because I'm numb and broken and scared and I can't see you and I can't hear you and everything keeps going oh so wrong.
But I know that you are good and that your purpose cannot be thwarted. Therefore I will trust in you.
Only in you I find strength and life.
Where, O Lord, is your peace in the midst of suffering and anguish?
Heavenly Father, our imaginations are shrinking as we confine ourselves for safety.
Jesus, we cry out for the people whose pain and suffering we do not notice. Take up their cause!
Lord, you alone give us the breath of life!
Lord we need your peace to guard our hearts and minds and shape our actions.
We praise you for the beauty of your peace that surpasses all understanding. We want this beauty to invade the ugliness of some of our thoughts.
Jesus, our hearts are heavy for families going through tough challenges and for the lonely and weary.
God, we ache as we see the hopelessness that leads people to take their own lives and the lives of others.
You alone can comfort us. You have given us your Comforter.
You are with us in life. You are with us in death.
Jesus - you wept for your friend Lazarus and were a man of sorrows. So we know that we can weep with you.
Oh Lord, this stress is unbearable! Lift our heavy burdens.
Lord restore our bodies – we ask you to strengthen us with physical health.
Jesus, one day, you will bring full restoration to our brokenness and healing to our sickness. One day there will be no more pain and suffering.
We believe in the power of the resurrection! Come and heal us in your resurrection power.
Jesus, we cry out for the losses of so many with relatives living in countries suffering greatly from COVID.
Spirit of God – we want to see your healing and restoration of our planetary home.
We hope in the knowledge that your Spirit is at work in our world. You have promised to make all things new.
We hope in your steadfast love. Even when hope feels counterintuitive. Give us hope where we cannot find hope ourselves. Heal our unbelief.
You promise that you will come again very soon. Behold – Jesus is coming soon.
God, we have missed health procedures, birthdays, funerals, weddings, graduations, adventures, and bearing one another’s burdens in person with the loss of our freedom to travel near and far.
How long, O Lord, must we remain isolated, not able to see our friends, hug our family, share meals with our loved ones? Our bodies ache, our spirits are crushed, and our hearts grow weary.
How long, O Lord, will we live in weariness waiting to be replenished?
Yet, we will wait on you Lord.
Lord – I know that you see me and you will grant your rest in abundance.
Jesus, you have defeated death.
You restore us. You lead us by still waters. You renew us by the power of your spirit and for your name’s sake.
WE HURT EACH OTHER.
How long, O Lord, will the powerful and oppressors remain unchecked; will the powerless live in fear and misery?
Why, O Lord, are young, vibrant lives snatched away from us horrifically and needlessly? Where were you, Jesus, when they needed your protection?
Why, O Lord, when there is so much suffering already in this world, do we see more anguish caused by those with faithless intent?
You are a refuge for the oppressed.
But we know this is not forever. One day the lion will lay down with the lamb.
You have brought down rulers from their thrones and lifted up the humble.
You will judge the world with your justice.
Why, O Lord, do you leave those who call on your Name to cause such chaos?
God give me perspective! Why do you tolerate those who practice treachery and deceit, those who destroy your people, in your name, and lead the people into dark places?
Why, O Lord, do your children vilify each other, act in hostility, and treat each other as enemies?
You prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies.
We hope in your truth. You are the way, the truth, the life.
Jesus, we trust that you will guide and direct us with your wisdom.
You call us ministers of reconciliation and give us the mind of Christ.
O God, our ability to handle complexity is fragile. Public discourse is flooded with accusations, hostility, and polarisation. Jesus – we do not love our neighbours. We ridicule them instead. O Lord, have mercy.
Help us, O Lord, to remember your command to love all our neighbours and to show them kindness even when we feel that they have wronged us or that they don't deserve it. We confess that your teaching is difficult: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12)
Help us to love when we do not feel like loving. Help us to do to others what we would have them do to us.
Jesus, we put our hope in you, the author and perfector of our faith.
You alone can give us the love we need to love our neighbour. Your steadfast love never ceases. Your mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning.
Lord, if you would only reveal a glimpse of you - of your glory and holiness and life! People would stop in awe and your church would cease their squabbling. Jesus who makes known the Father, make yourself known.
The heavens declare your glory. When we forget to praise you, even the rocks cry out. All creatures will sing holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty – who was, who is, and who is to come.
But, even though we don’t fully understand what is going on, we give thanks to you in all circumstances. Even though there is great disruption in the world, we thank you for good relational time in our bubbles. We praise you for your miraculous provision.
Even though we are tired and weary, we bless you for the ways you are revealing more of yourself to us. We thank you for bringing hidden things into the light.
Father, Son, Holy Spirit – we praise your mighty name for you are good and your steadfast love endures forever.
1 October 2021 – Mental Health Awareness Week