A GUIDED LAMENT PLAYLIST
Welcome to this guided lament playlist (approx. 35 minutes). You can access the songs on Spotify or by using the Youtube Videos below. These are six songs (7 including a quick benediction) and prayers that have led me through lament in my own life. This guided lament is focused on the specific feeling of personal disappointment or loss that has accompanied this season. Maybe you resonate with this excerpt of a prayer from the book Every Moment Holy:
“I bring to you now the weathered fragments of my former dreams,
The broken pieces of my expectations, the rent patches of hopes worn thin,
The shards of some shattered image of life as I once thought it would be.”
GRAPPLING WITH LOSS AND DISAPPOINTMENT
Many of us have had to grapple with loss and disappointment. Perhaps this was the loss of a job, the loss of closure, or the loss of peace. Perhaps it’s disappointment; as celebrations of birthdays, weddings, graduations, and holidays are canceled or forced to look different. It seems like we’ve had to give up much more than we planned to. Through this playlist, my hope is that through worship we realize that, while we may not get answers to why this happens, what we do know is we have a God who grieves these disappointments and losses with us. Psalm 34:18 says: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. You can use a journal to reflect or just let the music wash over you; together let’s approach a God who sees our grief, and promises to walk with us through it all.
Prayer: “Spirit you are with me, Jesus you love me, Father you are in control….”
ENVISION YOUR LIFE: THE CELEBRATIONS, DISAPPOINTMENTS, FEARS, OR LOSS
Before you listen to this song, I’d encourage you to hold your hands out in front of you. Envision your life: the celebrations, and also the disappointments, fears, or loss. These are the things we’re bringing before the Lord. Then (take your time with this) take a deep breath in….and breathe out…..take another deep breath in….and breathe out….take another deep breath in….and breathe out. As you breathe out the final breath, pray, “Spirit you are with me, Jesus you love me, Father you are in control.” Then listen to the song,
What I love about this arrangement is the imagery the artist uses from Psalm 23. The song points us to Jesus as the Good Shepherd; the one who leads us by green pastures and quiet waters. In His presence we find that we can be restored; we find rest. So we hold on to the Good Shepherd as he leads us through the green pastures, and also through the valley of the shadow of death. We “hold tight to the Father with trembling hands for He knows the path.” I find these lyrics provide hope in the midst of the chaos. The hope that the Father knows the paths of joy and of grief and will walk with us through it all. Let’s start this time by resting in this hope.
Prayer: “Jesus, one who has known loss, be near to me… ”
GOD’S ANSWER TO THE BROKENNESS IN THIS WORLD
This has fast become one of my favorite hymns. Written by Stuart Townend, this song looks at God’s love as displayed through Christ’s death and resurrection. For this lament the lyric that stands out to me is in verse 1,
“How great the pain of searing loss,”
God’s answer to the brokenness in this world was to step down from glory to suffer with us. His answer was to suffer so that we might have hope that death isn’t the end, that one day all the wrong things will be made right. Through Christ’s journey on earth we see Him endure loss, disappointment and rejection (what this lyric refers to – Matthew 27:46). Yet there is hope in the midst of it. We can hold onto the fact that since we have a God who has endured such loss, we have a God who knows the loss we’re facing and can empathize with us. He has shouldered the weight of brokenness and is with us as we face the ramifications of this brokenness in our own world; the lost dreams, shattered expectations, the missed celebrations, and loneliness. This is because of His love. So may this love be the lens through which we lament our personal disappointments and loss.
God has already heard and answered humanity’s cry for help by sending His Son. That same God is listening and answering when we lament before Him today. “Father, you know deep loss, would you be near to us as we bring our own loss and disappointment before you.”
Prayer: “Jesus I bring my disappointment to you…”
WORSHIP CAN BE OUR MOST POWERFUL TOOL IN THE DARKEST MOMENTS
The beginning of this song jumps right into a lament, “When the pieces seem too shattered, to gather off the floor.” During this time of disappointment, we begin by bringing the shattered pieces of what once seemed sure in our lives – the closure we thought was a sure thing, or the security we thought was a given. We bring the plans we had made, the things we had looked forward to, and the loneliness we may experience and lay them at the feet of Jesus. The song then goes to a plea for assurance, “I need to know that You’re still holding the whole world in Your hands.” This plea is similar to David’s cry in Psalm 5,
“Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray…
I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”
So often I think of worship being only for the good times in life, but what I forget is that worship can be our most powerful tool in the darkest moments. Worship helps us remember who God is, and helps us ask questions as we step into God’s invitation to trust Him in the midst of these circumstances. “Will there be a victory? Will there be peace? Are you still with me?” God hears these laments, God holds the frustration, and He promises to never leave us nor forsake us as we walk through this valley.
Prayer: “Jesus I bring my loss to you….”
AN INVITATION TO GUIDED LAMENT
We continue this time of guided lament with this next song. This song was a new one for me, and I am struck by the beauty of the lyrics.It begins by laying forth the loss experienced, “O heart bereaved and lonely, whose brightest dreams have fled. Whose hopes like summer roses, are withered, crushed and dead.” Whether the loss was lasting or whether just temporary, loss is painful. The tough addition in this time of social distancing is that you might feel like you are facing loss alone. In this dark time, I love what verse 2 says,
“O cling to thy Redeemer, thy Savior, Brother, Friend.
Believe and trust His promise, to keep you till the end
O watch and wait with patience, and question all you will
His arms of love and mercy, are round about thee still.”
I love that line, “His arms of love and mercy are round about thee still.” We are not alone; You are not alone. The same God who formed the stars is the same God who holds you in the palm of His hand; and He will not let you go. He receives the questions and is holding us as we wait with patience for the wrong things to be made right. This song is an invitation to lament and an invitation to, in that lament, lean into the arms of our Savior, Brother, and Friend.
Prayer: “Jesus, help me be aware of Your presence with me…”
We also want to walk alongside you. If there is a prayer need you have, or if you have experienced loss, you are invited to share your prayer request at the Chronic Joy Prayer Pond. Our community would love to pray for you. If you’re someone who knows a person going through loss, reach out to them. As a community, we get to follow Jesus’ lead and sit with the brokenhearted – even if that looks like video-chatting instead of going over to their living room.
JESUS SHOWS UP IN THE MIDST OF OVERWHELMING CIRCUMSTANCES
This song has become an anthem in my own life. The lyrics reference stories throughout Scripture of how Jesus shows up in the midst of overwhelming circumstances. “Another in the fire standing next to me,” is a reference to the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3. These men saw God protect and stand with them even in the midst of a burning furnace. “Another in the waters holding back the seas,” is a reference to when the people of Israel found themselves trapped between the Egyptian army and an uncrossable body of water (Exodus 14). God shows up by splitting the Red Sea and holding back the water till the Israelites make it to safety. The artists then reference Jesus’ death and resurrection as the ultimate way Jesus showed that He would be with us in the midst of overwhelming situations.
Disappointment and loss are part of our lives; Jesus never promises a life that is absent of these things. Jesus does, however, promise that in the midst of the disappointment and loss He will be with us. We serve a God who has overcome and who is in control. Even in the midst of the uncertainty we can walk in His victory. May this song be a reminder of who God is, a reminder of what God has done, and a reminder that He will be with us no matter how tough the situation. “Jesus, help us be aware of your presence during this time.”
Prayer: “Jesus, would you grant me peace….”
THE GOD WHO LAMENTS PROVIDES PEACE AND HEALING
This song is an adaptation of the hymn, “It is Well,” and a reference to the Gospel story of how Jesus calmed the storm (Matthew 8, Mark 4, Luke 8). There are so many amazing lines to this song, but as I consider this lament, this line from the pre-chorus stands out,
“So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name.”
I love that line, “The waves and wind still know His name.” What if today we substituted different lyrics?
“Covid-19 still knows His name”
The Name that is above every other name. A Name that, at its mention, darkness flees. A Name that brings healing, provision, and comfort. It is a Name that declares power and victory over every situation.
“Covid-19 still knows the name of JESUS.”
As we lament the disappointment and loss, could we lament knowing that the God who laments with us is still in control? That the God who laments with us can provide peace and healing? That the God who laments with us can pick up the shattered pieces of our hopes and expectations and turn it into something beautiful? I love what Pastor Jill Briscoe says, “I need to remember that what’s over my head is always under His feet.” With this knowledge, we can sing “It is well with my soul.” Now for some, it might be too soon to sing “It is well with my soul.” That’s alright. We serve a Savior who is with us in that tension, and we can declare this phrase as a hope, “Jesus I am longing for it to be well with my soul.”
Jesus, grant us peace, mend the brokenhearted. Jesus, bring healing to our communities and to this land. Help us to fix our eyes on the Name above every name, and trust that you will be with us till the end.
Benediction: Paris – All Sons and Daughters
EVEN IN THE DARKEST HOUR, GOD IS HERE
I wanted to end our lament with a simple prayer. I love the sounds of cars, people, and the city all around as she sings this refrain. It reminds me that in daily life, in the chaos or the calm, we still have a God who is our refuge. We have God who releases us from our fears. We have a God who, even in the darkest hour, is here.
“You are my refuge. You are my hope.
Constant and safe, my home.
You are my shelter. I will not fear.
Even in darkness, You’re here.
First published April 2020 at Mill City Church. Published with permission.
Click here to find lament resources and a FREE guide to write your own Psalm of Lament.
Aashish is the Worship Director at Mill City Church in Northeast Minneapolis. A lover of God and of music since he was five, Aashish grew up learning as many instruments as he could. He is passionate about using this love of music, Scripture, and reflection to create spaces where people can experience God’s healing and peace – where people can draw close to a God who is “near to the brokenhearted.” He has been involved with music groups that have had the honor of leading worship both here in the Midwest and abroad. In his free time, Aashish works on his M.Div at Denver Seminary, creates music with friends, and, when he has a study break, roots for the Green Bay Packers (his allegiance is strong, even in enemy territory).