Lament is a prayer in pain that leads to trust.

The Path To Lament

Psalms of Lament

Laments contain various complaints expressing struggle, questions, outrage, and frustrations. The following passages are examples of the unique complaints found in the psalms of lament.


Why, O Lord do you stand far away?

Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Ps. 10:1)

Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account?” (Ps. 10:13)

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? (Ps. 22:1)

I say to God, my rock” “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” (Ps. 42:9)

For you are the God in whom I take refuge”; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? (Ps. 43:2)

Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever! (Ps. 44:23)

O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your Ange smoke against the sheep of your pasture? (Ps. 74:1)

Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the fold of your garment and destroy them! (Ps. 71:11)

Why then, have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit? (Ps. 80:12)

O Lord, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me? (Ps. 88:14)


O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me. (Ps. 3:1)

How long, O Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their destruction, my precious life from the lions! (Ps. 35:17)

How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever? (Ps. 74:10)

Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs and a foolish people reviles your name. (Ps. 74:18)

Arise, O God, defend your cause; remember how foolish scoff at you all the day? (Ps. 74:22)

O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? (Ps. 80:4)

How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire? (Ps. 89:46)

Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants! (Ps. 90:13)

O Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult? (Ps. 94:3)

How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? (Ps. 137:4)

Twenty Complaints


An individual vocalizing pain, grief, fear, or some other strong emotion.

3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 13, 17, 22, 25, 26, 28, 31, 39, 42, 43, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 61, 64, 70, 71, 77, 86, 120, 141, 142


A group or nation vocalizing pain, grief, fear, or some other strong emotion.

12, 44, 58, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, 85, 90, 94, 123, 126


An individual or group expressing regret or sorrow for sin.

6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143


An individual or group expressing outrage and a strong desire for justice.

35, 69, 83, 88, 109, 137, 140


Sections of lament within psalms.

9: 13-20, 27: 7-14, 40: 11-17


Psalms that some consider to be lament in total or in part.

14, 36, 41, 52, 53, 63, 78, 81, 89, 106, 125, 129, 139

Learn To Lament Well

Turn to God

Address God as you come to him in prayer. This is sometimes combined with complaint.

Bring Your Complaint

Identify in blunt language the specific pain or injustice. Why or How is often part of the complaint.

Ask Boldly

Specifically call upon God to act in a manner that fits his character and resolves your complaint.

Choose to Trust

Affirm God’s worthiness to be trusted, and commit to praising him.

Write & Share Your Lament

Submit your lament here.

If you or someone you know would like to speak with someone on staff and have them pray with you, please call 757-496-5700 ext.4.