Prayers of Lament, 22 March 2021

Opening Prayer

God, you see all and know all,

your eyes are upon us, your children, in this our time of pain and suffering.

We affirm and recognize that you, our God, have been

and continue to be present with us throughout this COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet over this past year, we have witnessed and experienced intense anguish:

physical and mental illness, hunger and starvation,

rising unemployment and the broadening of social inequities,

and the abuse of the most vulnerable by the powerful.

We cry out for relief and for justice and ask:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget us forever?

How long will you hide your face from us?

How long must we have sorrow in our hearts all day?

As we cry out to you for an answer,

with faith, we declare that our trust and confidence is in you. 

In our lament, may we not lose hope, but even in the darkest night,

may we still be able to sing unto you a new song,

because you, God, have dealt bountifully with us.

Glory to you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Scripture Reading: Psalm 6 

1 O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger, or discipline me in your wrath. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror. My soul also is struck with terror, while you, O Lord—how long? Turn, O Lord, save my life; deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who can give you praise? I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears;

I drench my couch with my weeping. My eyes waste away because of grief; they grow weak because of all my foes. Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer. 10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror; they shall turn back, and in a moment be put to shame.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


Fatigued. That is one word that best describes where many people find themselves now as we mark one year since the declaration of the COVD 19 pandemic. We in the household of faith have not been untouched by the pandemic. Our faith in Christ has not immunized us against being infected and impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Within the household of faith, we have prayed for the healing and full recovery of our sisters and brothers. Throughout our faith communities, we have mourned as we had to bury our dead while not being able to participate fully in our traditional liturgical and cultural rites. We have struggled for survival as lockdowns have negatively impacted our local economies. Our spiritual, mental, and psycho-social states have been in turmoil as our normal weekly physical gatherings for worship and fellowship have been curtailed by social distancing protocols.

The sense of being fatigued goes beyond the physical. There is also related spiritual fatigue, even for people of faith. A good way to describe that is lament. The writer of Psalm 6 has voiced the sentiments which many faithful Christian believers have uttered over this past year:

We are languishing! We are mourning! We are shaken with terror! We are weeping! We are grieving! We are weary and worn! The ability to recognize and relate to these myriad emotions is not antithetical to our Christian faith. To express feeling abandoned by God does not mean a loss of faith in the ultimate sovereignty of God. For even Jesus on the cross cried out, lamenting, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Prayers of lament are important in our faith pilgrimage because they allow us to face our grief. Lament allows others to come alongside us and either remove or lessen our fear as we face our loss and grief.

Though lamenting before God is good and needful, it also leads along the pathway of deeper trust in God’s faithfulness. Even as we call out to God in lament, drawing attention not only to our own suffering but to the suffering of others, we are reminded not to lose our faith and to trust in God’s providential care. We can therefore affirm: God has heard our prayers of lament and will answer. We begin with lament. We continue in faith. We end with hope.

Prayers of Intercession

God of compassion, we call upon you to tabernacle and journey with us into the abyss of our grief as we are overcome with the torrent of emotions that shake our faith in you.

Lord, hear our cry for help and have mercy.

Gracious God, may we be reminded that our prayers of lament are never wasted, for even as we empty our tears before you, we know that you look upon us with pity.

Lord, hear our cry for help and have mercy.

Merciful God, may you hear our cries, feel our pain, consider our fear, and share our anguish over loved ones lost.

Lord, hear our cry for help and have mercy.

Immortal God, may you strengthen your people and deliver us in our fight with this invisible virus.

Lord, hear our cry for help and have mercy.

God of hope, may the embers of hope remain lit in our lives as our tears of lament pour forth so that we do not lose trust and confidence in you.

Lord, hear our cry for help and have mercy.

We join together in praying as Jesus taught us: Our Father . . .


The Lord bless you and keep you,

the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you,

the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.



Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, © copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission.