This lament liturgy was developed by Sarah Van Zetten-Bruins, copastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Darla Olson. It was originally intended for a service focused on prayer and lament regarding sexual abuse and assault. However, it could be adapted for use in a service of lament focused on other sources of pain and suffering.
Looking for more resources specifically focused on addressing sexual abuse and violence in a worship setting? Explore our full resource collection.
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Amen.
Lighting of the Christ Candle
Opening Song: “Healer of Our Every Ill,” words and music by Marty Haugen
Psalm of Lament: Psalm 77
I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, that he may hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
I think of God, and I moan;
I meditate, and my spirit faints.
You keep my eyelids from closing;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
and remember the years of long ago.
I commune with my heart in the night;
I meditate and search my spirit:
“Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love ceased forever?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”
And I say, “It is my grief
that the right hand of the Most High has changed.”
I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;
I will remember your wonders of old.
I will meditate on all your work,
and muse on your mighty deeds.
Song [for a service specifically intended for healing from sexual abuse or violence, this could be a song or hymn that is meaningful to the victim and appropriate for this point in the liturgy.]
“Come to me all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.”
I invite you to join in a circle around the table tonight,
as we meet our Savior at this meal.
Words of Institution:
Christ has given us this supper to nourish and sustain us in this life.
In this bread and cup, Christ offers us his love.
Our Lord, Jesus Christ,
on the night before he gave himself for us,
gathered with his friends,
and he took the bread, saying,
“This is my body, which is given for you.”
And later he took the cup, and said,
“This is my blood, which is poured out for you.”
These are the gifts of God.
For the people of God.
Prayer of Intercession
Scripture tells us that creation groans
with labor pains,
waiting for healing and redemption—
and the Spirit groans alongside us.
We do not know how to pray;
there are not words to express all that we feel.
And yet, we hold on to the promise that God is with us,
and we bring all that we are and the people that we love before God.
Let us pray.
All will be well, and all will be well, all manner of things will be well.
Loving God, we gather in worship,
offering our praise, yet also acknowledging there is pain in our midst.
In whatever situation we may find ourselves,
you graciously welcome us into your presence.
Held in your Spirit, we can sing:
Held in your Spirit, we can also admit that it is not always easy to sing these words,
and there are times when we cannot sing them.
While we yearn to trust in your promise,
we have experienced the reality of lies, deceit, and dishonesty.
Some of us have been left wounded by the words and actions of others,
so much so that our voices fall silent.
For those who cannot join in the song today, we sing on their behalf:
Sometimes all we can do is cling desperately to these words as life around us changes.
We pray for those among us
who are in transition, those who are mourning losses,
those who are sick, and those experiencing the turbulence of the seasons of life.
Tonight, our hearts are heavy with the pain of the [last name] family.
We weep with [names of those who are hurting];
and we weep with [name of person or people who contributed to the hurt, if appropriate].
We are confused, we are angry, we are sad. We do not know how to pray.
And so we bring our sisters and brothers to you.
May this community be a place of safety for them and for all seeking refuge.
May we find comfort and rest in your Word.
In all manner of things,
when praise resounds from our lips, when pain silences our souls,
and all moments in between,
your love endures and sustains.
Give us the faith to trust in your love and hope in your Word that all will be well. Amen.
Song: “In Christ Alone,” words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
As we conclude this time of worship and prayer,
we know that always, God goes with us:
through the presence of the Spirit and the presence of one another.
Hear these words of blessing:
May the grace of Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with you all, now and forever. Amen.
 Prayer adapted from Lift Up Your Hearts: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, #414 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2013).
Sarah Van Zetten-Bruins
Sarah is copastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.