There are many things that may play on our minds and keep us awake in the night. Sometimes, it may be anticipation of an exciting event or upcoming project but, more often than not, it’s fear, anxiety, stress and distress that chase sleep from our weary hearts and minds.
So, as children of God, how are we to react to the challenges and trials and circumstances that so distress us? What are we to do when sleeps eludes us and we feel at our most helpless and abandoned? The answer is found in God’s word and, very particularly, in the book of Psalms.
The Psalms represents a rich tapestry of prayer and praise. In them we find a complete cross-section of human emotions and experiences; the delight of praise, the pain of persecution, the heartbreak of loss and bereavement, the hope of heaven, and the cry for justice.
Psalms of lament are songs that cry out to God in times of deep distress and despair. They comprise the largest group of psalms accounting for almost one third of the entire collection. There are also 7 penitential psalms which, in effect, lament our sin, express repentance and seek forgiveness. Together, they provide context and vocabulary for expressing our fears, confusion, pain, sorrows, loss and failures.
The aim of exploring this particular sub-set is to present a series of psalms of lament and penitential psalms suitable for private, family and corporate worship. I hope they will bless you in singing them as much as they’ve blessed me in studying and arranging them.