Sometimes God chooses to work through unbelievers. He called Cyrus, though he did not know Him, to free the Israelites. I also think He led Simon and Garfunkel, though they did not know Him, to write Bridge Over Troubled Water. This week we study the “Yet” Bridge, another way of expressing that Jesus is our Bridge over troubled water
Highlights from Last Week
You are truly learning the lament — so many good prayers of lament!
I found your pushing back against the author’s statement that we should not be angry with God so wise, and I agree! For if we are truly angry with Him, what are we to do? Repress it? Deny it? No — be honest and lament, and let Him help us out of it! There is a right and wrong way to be angry, and the instruction in Ephesians 4:26 that says, “Be angry but sin not” applies to God as well as other people. How do we do that? Instead of cursing God or backing up from God, we lament.
Susan’s post ministered so to me — I had told the story of being with my mom when she died, and Susan told of the Spirit nudging her to leave the room for ten minutes, for her mother was such a private person. It was then that her mother let go, after much suffering, wanting privacy when she died, and perhaps to spare Susan. How sensitive to the Spirit! And then Susan wrote this in response to Laura and Denise, which I thought shone with the wisdom of God.
As for Laura’s question, I hear her frustration and disappointment! In this situation, yes, she may have to keep lamenting, and at the same time, her husband still has free will to make his own choices. But continuing to lament will keep her from getting bitter. And Denise’s point that lament comes from situations when you’ve been stripped of everything….yes, but not too many of us have been stripped of everything as those like slaves and Corrie ten Boom and her family were. So should we lament? I do think there’s a difference between complaining to God without “the turn”, and then it’s just complaining without any resolution. The smaller things in our lives can quickly add up and make us resentful and bitter.
Prepare your heart with this:
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- Meditate on the lyrics of Bridge Over Troubled Water and find one in which you can see Jesus — explain or support with Scripture.
Monday: Intro into Praying Boldly
Though we may be as astounded as Rhonda at the door when Peter was released from prison, bold answered prayers can buoy us when the waves keep crashing over us and God seems silent. When Steve was so sick, we’d often remember together ways God had astonished us with answers to our bold prayers:
- We asked God to bring our fifteen-year-old prodigal son to his senses, and he did — overnight.
- I asked God to bring someone to be “the kindness of God” to our daughter in Poland who was in an abusive marriage — and her Polish teacher, whose name, “Bogamewa,” means “the kindness of God” walked her through what she should do, supporting her decision to come home, taking her to the airport.
- We asked boldly for a doctor who would operate on Steve’s arthritic wrist — no one was willing to risk operating on a surgeon’s wrist, fearing it could end his career. Then Steve’s partner, David Wiebe, said, “I will do it and God will be my help.” It was a great success.
We also prayed boldly for Steve to be healed of cancer on earth, and he was not. But I can trust that was God’s will, for I know His heart, for He laid Himself down for us. He is my Bridge Over Troubled Water.
3. Have you ever had a bold prayer answered? If so, share!
4. Read Chapter 3 up to Psalm 22: Asking Boldly
A. What happened in the author’s soul when Bernie prayed boldly for him?
B. Have you had a similar experience? if so, share what it was in the friend’s prayer that
C. Pray boldly here for a friend who is long-suffering — on this blog or elsewhere.
5. Read the section: Psalm 22: Asking Boldly and share any comments.
The author said that in a lament, the “why” question may linger while the “who” question slips in, like when a second planet eclipses the first. He says the pain of the why and the hope of the who may need to co-exist.
6. Pray a “why,” a complaint in your life or in the life of someone else, and then pray the “who” letting it slip in and co-exist with an unanswered prayer.
Tuesday: The “Yet Bridge” Over Troubled Water
7. Read the section under “The Yet Bridge” and share your comments.
8. Read the section under “Bold Requests” and share your comments.
Wednesday: But What Do We Ask For?
9. What are the first three kinds of prayers he mentions? Pray one of them now.
I use the third one nearly weekly, and it is in my heart because of the song from Integrity we looked at last week. I pray: “Your Word promises You will take care of the widow — and I need that right now because (my car is stuck in the snow; a storm has brought cedars down on my roof; I need a way to pay my taxes on this house due to not being able to rent my Air BnB as much due to Covid…) It is amazing how He comes running. This is the song:
10. What are the next three requests? Pray one of them now.
11. What are the last three requests? Pray one of them now.
Thursday: Boldness Begets Boldness
12. Read the section “The Man of Sorrows” and share what stands out to you.
13. Describe, under the Boldness Begets Boldness section tell what the pastor did to help the parents of prodigals.
14. This week this chair is for those of you who are in hard marriages. If that is you, and you desire to do so, lament here and put your lament in bold letters. Then a few of us can come alongside and pray for you. This is a trial that I pray works!
Friday: Psalm 22
15. Read Psalm 22 and find the four requests in it. Which one is most meaningful and why?
16. What’s your take-a-way this week and why?
5. Psalm 22: Asking Boldly and share comments.
We can confidently call on God to act in accordance with His character. We can pray His words–Scripture–back to Him.
As we make our bold requests, “Why is this happening?” moves into the shadow of “Who is God?”
Who God is becomes the more prominent reality while not removing the lingering questions. I think this is a subtle–yet profound–shift (or move or eclipse). It’s not all about me anymore, but rather ALL about God and what He is doing and how can I/do I fit into His work.
7. The “Yet Bridge”
I liked that “complaints are not cul-de-sacs of sorrow but bridges that lead to God’s character.” Yes!! We can choose to either be like a hamster endlessly running in that circle (that cul-de-sac) or we can choose to leave the cul-de-sac and cross the bridge relying upon God’s character, confident in Him.
And that the word yet “marks the place in the journey where pain and belief coexist. It is how we gain the confidence to ask boldly, despite the sorrow and grief we feel.” Yes!!
8. Bold Requests
We pray differently when we’re hurting and desperate. This is “one of the blessing of suffering.” I love this phrase. Several years ago, I did a study on the Beatitudes. It was when I was desperate, hurting, and in “my dark years.” Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Oh boy, was that me!! Now, several years later, this side of those “dark years,” I know that I NEVER want to go back “There,” but had it not been for “There” I would not be “Here” now. I love the Lord more deeply, I want to spend time in His word, I want His light to shine within me to others, and I long for the day when I will see Him face-to-face, but (yet) for now “we see in a mirror dimly” (I Cor. 13:12).
The author also said “the requests of lament can become the place where we celebrate our need for God’s help.” Celebrate our need – that’s another interesting phrase. Almost sounds like an oxymoron – one to ponder more.
9. What Do We Ask For – the first 3 kinds of prayer
a) Arise, O Lord – get up!!
b) Help – grant us help
c) Remember Your covenant, Your promises – be true to the promises You’ve made
Lord, like the author, I’m afraid to pray BOLDLY because it’s “safe” to pray generally. I won’t have a broken-heart (again) if I don’t fully (boldly) pray. . . but that shows my lack of faith and trust – even when You have shown me that You are faithful and You are trustworthy. Oh, Karmen, you have such little faith! Forgive me Lord. And even still, I am fearful to pray a bold prayer, to ask a bold request. Be close to me Lord even in/when I am broken hearted and afflicted.
10. The next 3 kinds of prayer
a) Justice – let justice be done, punish the wicked
b) Don’t remember our sins
c) Restore us
Lord, how long before You punish the wicked and evil and lawlessness in this world, in our country, in our cities? Yet, Your timing is perfect. You are in control. Your ways are not our ways. You are long-suffering until that very last person comes to and turns to You . . . and then you will return for your beloved and restore everything. Come, Lord Jesus, come!
11. The last 3 kinds of prayer
a) Don’t be silent – listen!! to me!!
b) Teach me
c) Vindicate me
Lord Jesus, teach me this new language of lament. Teach me how and help me to expand my prayer language to You.
Karmen, i found myself nodding in agreement to all that you’ve expressed here. I too have been afraid to pray boldly because I didn’t want to be disappointed, but he knows our hearts and knows what we’re not saying and why, so we should pray all the more boldly.
Karmen, this is my prayer, too. “Lord Jesus, teach me this new language of lament. Teach me how and help me to expand my prayer language to You.”
9. 3 kinds of prayer:Arise, O Lord, Grant us help, Remember your covenant
Father God, I come before you, imploring you to help us in this medical pandemic. Father, there is so much suffering of grieving families. My heart is aching for those who have lost loved ones, including my friend Shari. Grant us help when our leaders disappoint us with their contempt for one another. Only you, Father, can give wisdom and comfort.
10. 3 more kinds of prayer: Let justice be done, Don’t remember our sins, Restore us.
`Father God, Restore your people as we have been isolated from one another. Our nation is broken with the hostility of those who have lost, they are angry and hurting one another as problems seem to be escalating. Your church needs to arise to bring good news to those who struggle. Father, may your church be revived!
16. What’s your take-a-way this week and why?
I never thought studying lament would enrich my prayer life. Each week the steps have caused me to go deeper and especially this week with praying boldly, something I believe God wants from us, but I used to think He’s God, I can’t talk to Him that way. The “yet” bridge was my favorite…taking the prayer to God’s character and not just being stuck in the why! I’m not one to journal but I am going to start journaling my laments so I can look back and see if He has answered, to increase my faith and what I have learned.
I’m so happy to read this, Sharon!
Sharon, I do agree with you. “I never thought studying lament would enrich my prayer life.” I have shared this newfound way of praying with 5 women I pray with every week and it is slowly shaping our prayers, too! I hope to go through the 9 prayers Vroegop shared the next few weeks. I am so excited!
Friday: Psalm 22
15. Read Psalm 22 and find the four requests in it. Which one is most meaningful and why?
Do not stay away so far from me for trouble is near
O Lord do not stay far away
Come quickly to my aid
Save me from the sword, spare my precious life from these dogs, snatch me from the lions’ jaws.
Right now, the prayer of “Come quickly to my aid” is very much needed. School-related work is going to start next week and I am starting to feel overwhelmed. I do not want to worry about my tomorrows as I know God will be there for me. This will be a prayer I can go to time and time again knowing God is faithful always.
16. What’s your take-a-way this week and why?
There are Scriptures that I am not aware of that I can pray back to God and speak His language. And when I do, I have the confidence that He will hear me and that I can ask anything boldly without fear. That my prayers for others do count as I come alongside them in their lament.
I will be praying for you, Bing, as you begin with the school-related work next week.
Please also pray for my daughter. She teaches 1st grade. She has 4 boys of her own (3 of whom are school age). With so many questions, uncertainties, and unknowns, I know she can get quite overwhelmed and worried.
16. Take away, and why.
This week has encouraged me to be bold in praying for those grieving and/or struggling. Sometimes in the past I’ve felt I was being too bold, and that others were uncomfortable with my prayer for them. Maybe my timing was off and they weren’t ready to move from the why to The Who. Maybe I just need to be careful to rephrase their lament at the start. In any case, I am reenergized.
15. Read Psalm 22 and find the four requests in it. Which one is most meaningful and why? Verse 11 “Be not far from me”. I often pray that God will be close to me will be so very present with me. Oh how we desperately need Him. At times I am even blind to my sin. I need Him to reveal to me my own sin sometimes. I think once I hit a certain level of maturity in Christ I thought, “Well I know I can through the Holy Spirit, sense now when I sin”. This year in more ways then one He shows me how I can sin and lie to myself. Just recently my girls were joking about how when I was young in my faith, my husband demanded they go to a midweek service, where often beliefs I did not have were espoused and preached, I would instead take them to breakfast or take them out in other ways. (My husband had a brief 2ish year time frame where he went back to the church of youth) When they told my husband this past Sunday, it dawned on me to my horror, that I had shown him disrespect by doing this and that I needed to go to him and apologize, which I did. I just need Jesus ever before me and ever with me, its just to easy to make this life about me.
16. What’s your take-a-way this week and why? The idea to pray boldly. That we might be able to stand in the gap for friends who are in midst of grief and sorrow. That they might be able to rest their waning and weary faith upon the Holy Spirit’s strength within us.
Thank you, Dee, for choosing this book to study. I think it is timely, definitely speaks to our heart and is helping to address some deep needs. There is just so much packed in each section. It’s hard to “share something that stands out” because the whole section could be easily quoted. 😀
12. The Man of Sorrows
Hebrews 4:16 commands us to “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” I need to remember and pray this verse when I’m talking to/with God. No matter what the situation or the pain, the songs of sorrow and the Man of Sorrows call me to move from why to who by calling upon God to act.
13. Boldness Begets Boldness
Praying for prodigals surrounded by church family. I have often wished we had a safe place to bring our prayers for our daughters. One thing I struggle with though, is in asking for prayer (whether a large group or a small prayer group) am I “betraying” my girls’ privacy (in a sense)? This is their story and it’s not mine to tell. They are good girls and are raising good boys . . . the Lord just isn’t part of their lives. And that is where my heart hurts and grieves – which is my story. Does this make sense to anyone? Does anyone else struggle with this?
Yes, Karmen, I agree it is hard for me also to feel safe to bring personal family laments to a group. I will pray for your girls to come to see their need for personal faith in the Lord.
15. Read Psalm 22 and find the four requests in it. Which one is most meaningful and why?I found 5 in the ESV and only 3 in the NLT. I think the Morse important is the one that is said twice (be not far from me).
“Be not far from me…”“But You oh Lord do not be far off!”
“Come quickly to my aid…
“Deliver my souls from the sword…”
“Save me from the mouth of the lion…”
9) 1) “Arise, O Lord!” – pleading with God to fix what is wrong. We know that if God is moved to act everything will change.
2) “Grant us help.” – ” Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man! With God we shall do valiantly; it is He who will tread down our foes. (Ps. 60:11-12) Last February I also found this lament petition from King David and had written it down on a 3 x 5 card for my own records: 2 Samuel 3:39 (The Message) The king spoke to his servants: “You realize, don’t you, that today a prince and hero fell victim of foul play in Israel? And I, though anointed king, was helpless to do anything about it. These sons of Zuriah are too much for me. God, requite the criminal for his crime!”
3) “Remember your covenant” – bringing to God that we have not forgotten His valiant deeds to defend and deliver His people historically.
4) “Let justice be done” – calling on God to act for the sake of justice.
5) “Don’t remember our sins” – appealing to God’s mercy that He not treat us as our sins deserve.
Lord, for those members of my immediate family who are far from You because of their sin,
I pray that because of Your mercy You would remove their blindness from them so that they
could acknowledge their rebellion before You and turn. Do not turn Your face from them.
Do not leave them in their sin but pour out Your mercy upon them and lead them from everlasting
to everlasting in Jesus Christ, Your Son – “But from everlasting to everlasting the loving
devotion of the Lord extends to those who fear Him, and His righteousness to their children’s children…”
6) “Restore us!” – asking God to bring spiritual healing for the sake of restoration.
7) “Don’t be silent- listen to me.” – asking God for a response to our desperate request rather than leaving us thinking that He hasn’t heard us because He doesn’t care about us.
8) “Teach me.” – asking God to develop us so that we benefit from the purpose of our trials.
Lord, thank you for everything and everyone that You have brought together so that
I too would be included in this precious teaching on lament according to Your word.
You and I know how I had been grappling with this alone – not so good! It was a long-time
coming, I had knocked on many doors. And yet Lord, You are good! You got me here.
9) “Vindicate me” – this lament is to be a balm that counters unproductive bitterness.
15) 1) – be not far off
2) – hasten to my assistance
3) – deliver my soul
4) – save me from the lion’s mouth
I would say “deliver my soul” is most meaningful as it encompasses the other 3.
16) My take-a-way is that I realize that I have not been aware of the repertoire of laments that are available to minister to my soul when in times of adversity. I haven’t had the awareness that these scriptural approaches to prayer were accessible to become familiar with and to internalize in order to strengthen and lead me. But that learning process is taking place now through this study. Listing the 9 lament petitions has been a productive exercise as it made me much more attuned.
That’s great, Lynne!
11. The last 3 kinds of prayers: Don’t be silent, Teach me, Vindicate me
Father, I am struggling with the concern of injustice.It seems that anger is always rising up as conversations start. Why is there so many opinions, so many hurts, so many thoughtless comments. You are God who commands us to act justly and to have mercy and to walk humbly with you. Don’t be silent, show your people what to do. Help us to act like Jesus in the struggle so many are facing. May they know we are Christians by our love.
12. Man of sorrows; we are to bring our heartfelt requests to God because he cares, he understands deeply the brokenness of this world. Jesus lived a life of lament, and on the cross, he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
13. Boldness begets boldness. In the monthly prayer service, Mark focused on the prodigal children and asked the parents to kneel at the front of the sanctuary. Others gathered and prayed for the prodigal children. Tears started and the level of grief was overwhelming.
15. Psalm 22: verse 11, Requests- be not far from me; verse 19, haste Thee to help me; verse 20, deliver my soul from the sword; verse 21, save me from the lion’s mouth.
The one most meaningful to me is his request for help. My heart aches for the suffering He endured and the feeling of being forsaken. Perhaps the most important one is be nor far from me, as He feels so alone and not heard.
My take away; How important this study is for me. Prayer is a special discipline for me, but I have never spent much time in lament. This week I have needed to pray the lament. My dear neighbor’s son lost a huge battle against cancer and it is so tragic for her family. The need is real. So thankful it is at this time I am learning to ask and trust.
So soRRY ABOUT YOUR NEIGHBOR’S SON. YOU WILL BE A GOOD FRIEND.