Week 1, Day 1: What Lament Is

Break the Silence

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”
Psalm 13:1

Suffering should not happen in silence.

Few noises irritate our ears like the sound of a baby’s cry, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad thing.

In 2006, a husband and wife traveled internationally to adopt their fourth child. They discovered a 16-month-old boy living in an impoverished orphanage compound. As this married couple stepped into a space stuffed with over 20 cribs, they were shocked by what they encountered: the sound of silence. Even though every crib held infants suffering from hunger and neglect, not a one made a noise. Why?

With a worker-to-child ratio of about 1 to 30, the need was too great to be met. Most infants would spend their first few weeks wailing and weeping, but with zero response for hours on end, the children eventually realized no one was coming and just gave up trying.

The noise of an infant’s cry is a good thing. It’s an instinctive reflex. The adoptive father described it this way: “Crying is the sound of life. The child is saying, ‘I believe that someone will meet my needs. Someone will come. Someone loves me.’”

That is the heart cry of every child of God. They refuse to suffer in silence. They believe that God hears and loves them, so they cry to him in lament. God’s children may not know why they suffer so, or even what they should cry for, but they know the one to whom they cry: their Father. This is what lament is. In our times of pain, we cry out in the Spirit of adoption and join Jesus saying, “Abba, Father!” We are confident that he cares and knows what’s best for all those who belong to him.

Application Questions

  • What makes it so hard to read and voice prayers of lament like Psalm 13?
  • How is the end of the psalmist’s prayer different from the beginning?
  • How can voicing our lament to God be an act of worship?


Take a moment respond in prayer to what this passage reveals — praise God for who he is (_________), confess what He wants (________), share what you need (________), and plead for help in what you face (________).

Memory Verse:

“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1