Rodin Museum, Paris

There’s so much to lament these days.

There are also reasons to be thankful, of course, and the practice of gratitude is both a sign of, and a way toward, wholeness. In ways we don’t often recognize, lament is such a practice, too. The Psalms, long-considered to be  tutors in the ways of prayer, are full of lament: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1).

Lament is giving voice, without overanalyzing or editing, to what we most deeply and truly feel in our bodies and souls. It’s admitting, with as much specificity and honesty as we can manage, our outrage, disappointment, losses, griefs and anxieties. It’s visceral and raw; It often sounds like complaint against and accusation of the universe or Mystery or God for injustice, indifference, arbitrariness, and pain.

This prayer of lament speaks from my experience. Saying these things in this blunt way opens me to healing. Maybe listening-in will help someone else.

Inexhaustible God, I am weary. And weary of weariness

Healing God, I am sick. And sick of sickness.

Sister Fanny Lou Hamer said she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

I am. Many are. The earth is.

Cancer kills because it will not die, cancers of

blood, bone, breast, and brain

prostate and pancreas

kidney and colon

liver and lung

throat and tongue

And malignancies of

deception and suspicion.

illusion and separation.

Fear shatters because it will not yield, fears of

power and weakness

inability and vulnerability 

freedom and responsibility

not enough and too much

being alone and never alone

remembering what hurts and forgetting what heals

laughter and joy.

And dread of

loss and tears

the outsider and the other

shadow, darkness, and dark

the unknown and the unknowable

living death and dying before living.

Hear our sighs rising from beneath words:

We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Damn sick. Damn tired.     

And You? You give a damn, don’t You?

Damn, we pray, illnesses of body, mind, heart and spirit.

Damn diseases of community, culture, and creation.

Damn false fear and fretful fatigue.

It’s either prayer or surrender,

so we surrender to prayer and in prayer:

Give us courage to die to death

Gentle our anxieties.

Anew and again, persuade us that you love us..

Draw from us love for neighbors, strangers, and enemies.

Lure us to love Your creation and Your creatures.

Fashion us to be Your partners in working for justice,

Your collaborators in making peace, and Your companions in showing mercy.


Your truth frees.

Your way is peace.

Your touch heals.

Your presence is rest. 

O Jesus,

I believe; help my unbelief.

I trust; restore my broken trust.