A Time To Grieve In Prayer


I cry out to God, yes, I shout.  Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord.  All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. Psalm 77:1-2

It’s late at night on the other side of the world when I finally get a text message on my phone.  It’s Anya, my friend for whom God answered many prayers, when Anya and her husband welcomed a baby girl into their arms two months ago.

But tonight, she’s texting me from a bomb shelter.  She can hear fighting as her tiny daughter finally falls asleep.  I pray for her by text, and I tell her that God made her little girl strong, that she was born for such a time as this. But my heart is broken.  In the words of Henri Nouwen, “I am beginning to see that much of praying is grieving.”[1]

In this anguish, the words of Psalm 77 are so fitting: “I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help” (verse 3). Like David, I wonder, “Has the Lord rejected…Has God forgotten to be gracious? Hs he slammed the door on his compassion?” (77:7, 9)

“But then,” says David, “I recall all you have done, Oh Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds. I cannot stop thinking of your mighty works” (77:11-12).  And I have to think of little baby Sonya, this long prayed-for gift of God.

The Psalm ends by telling how God led the Israelites through mighty waters of the sea, through, a “pathway no one knew was there” (77:19).  In times of despair, ours is a God who directs those He loves, with pathways no one knows are there. Yes, at times, we grieve.  Always, we pray.


Resource reading: Psalm 77:1-20

[1] Goodreads. (n.d.). The Return of the Prodigal Son Quotes by Henri J.M. Nouwen. Goodreads. Retrieved February 28, 2022, from https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/169164-the-return-of-the-prodigal-son-a-story-of-homecoming