The Psalms are filled with all sorts of praise and worship, yet one of the most prominent are psalms of individual and corporate laments. Unfortunately, these psalms of sorrow rarely become our standard words of comfort and encouragement—rarely, until tragedy strikes. And then they become a lifeline for the sinking believer.
Corporately, these Psalms also find limited use. When the typical American church gathers for worship, we are accustomed to positive, upbeat sermons and songs. For reasons deliberate and otherwise, these sad songs get little time. Yet, as I tried to show on Sunday, this absence of lamentation marks a distinct loss for the Christian and the church.
By contrast, the regular practice or lamentation and confession provides a needed antidote to the superficiality of our age and it teaches people to worship God with every emotion. For that reason our church considered Psalm 13 and the need to express sorrow in corporate worship.
You can listen to the sermon online. Response questions and additional resources (including two songs on Psalm 13) can be found below.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds
- What does David feel as he waits for God’s response to his prayer? (vv. 1-2)
- What should you do if it feels as if God has forgotten you, or that he’s hiding his face from you? Do you ever feel this way?
- Do you feel the freedom to give voice to your emotions when you pray, or would it seem too informal to speak as David does? Why or why not?
- What is at stake for David (vv. 3-4)? Why would David explain his need to the God who knows all things? Do you feel the freedom to be conversational in your prayers?
- What is the object of David’s trust (v.5), and how might this anchor our prayers?
- Where does David find joy, even in his sorrow?
- What motivates David (and you) to sing? What do you do in seasons when it’s more difficult to sing?
- What is the place and value of lamentation in the Christian’s life? How do you practice lamentation? How might the church grow in this practice?
On Psalm 13
- What Can Miserable Christians Sing? by Carl Trueman
- Reflections on “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?” by Carl Trueman
- Pastor’s Talk Podcast: On What Can Miserable Christians Sing (with Carl Trueman and Matt Merker)
- The Hole In Our Praise (and Lamentation) and Worship by David Schrock
- The Surprising Power of Lament – a podcast with Mark Vroegop
- Strong Churches Speak the Language of Lament — an article by by Mark Vroegop
- Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament – a book by Mark Vroegop