Facing the Pains of Life with the Psalms of Lament

In our Christian culture, we often promote the idea that Christians must be happy all the time, or even joy-filled, or else there is something wrong with us – not enough faith, sinful, something like that. We have a hard time being honest with each other (and ourselves) about the pains we face as a normal part of life.

The scriptures, however, are not so hesitant to be honest. Complaint and lament are a big part of the Psalms, Job, and the book of Lamentations of course.


The Psalms are so full of complaints to God, in fact, , crying out to Him with the expectation that He will act and change whatever situation the psalmist is addressing, that they’ve been given their own genre, called “Psalms of Lament.” These psalms have been used as prayer by followers of God for centuries.

The psalms of lament are Psalms 3, 4, 5, 7, 9-10, 13, 14, 17, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 36, 39, 40:12-17, 41, 42-43, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 61, 64, 70, 71, 77, 86, 89, 120, 139, 141, 142.

The Psalms of Lament help us to face our pain, face the struggles and ugliness of the world, and direct it in a way that is both honest yet hopeful that He who is returning soon will act on our behalf. Praying these psalms remind us of God’s sovereignty and ultimate goodness.



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