Resources for Lament and Hope

June 7, 2022

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Let’s face it: many of us are feeling some degree of burnout these days. COVID-19 continues to infect our communities and confound our plans.  We are faced with epidemics of racism, violence, and division. And the daily challenges of church life are always with us. Church leaders are tired and in need of renewal. And yet, we are reluctant to take time away from our overbooked schedules for set-apart renewal opportunities.
As such, the Leadership Development Team is looking for ways to infuse renewal and self-care into the tasks we are already doing. Here you will find a collection of prayers, exercises, and worship helps that can be used as part of any meeting, team building event, or planning session. Use them as-is or adapt them to your setting. Make space for honest expressions of lament, longing, and hope. Take a few minutes to feel the weight of these days, and to share it with one another and with God. Then, together, move forward in hope. We pray that these resources will be a blessing to you and your ministry.

A Service of Loss, Lament, Healing, and Hope

E-LEAD on Hope (February 2022) 

E-LEAD on Hope (June 2022)


Hymn for the Hurting by Amanda Gorman

Everything hurts,
Our hearts shadowed and strange,
Minds made muddied and mute.
We carry tragedy, terrifying and true.
And yet none of it is new; 
We knew it as home,
As horror, 
As heritage, 
Even our children
Cannot be children,
Cannot be.
Everything hurts.
It's a hard time to be alive,
And even harder to stay that way.
We're burdened to live out these days,
While at the same time, blessed to
outlive them.
This alarm is how we know
We must be altered -- 
That we must differ or ide,
That we must triumph or try.
Thus while hate cannot be terminated,
It can be transformed
Into a love that lets us life.
May we not just grieve, but give:
May we not just ache, but act;
May our signed right to bear arms
Never blind our sight from shared harm;
May we choose our children over chaos.
May another innocent never be lost.
Maybe everything hurts,
Our hearts shadowed & strange.
But only when everything hurts
May everything change.

Prayer by Thomas Merton

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
“The Merton Prayer” from Thoughts in Solitude Copyright © 1956, 1958 by The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani. 

A Prayer for Finding Joy in Sorrow by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie  

God, I can’t deny it, the way that sorrow catches up with me and forces me to pay attention.  There is much to grieve, so much to lament in the world, in my life, in the lives of those I love.  You have shown me again and again that I can look sorrow int eh face, take its hand and talk things over, because it shows me what I love.  It tells me what I don’t want to lose.
God, I love that You lead me into that tender space where I can see the sadness for what it is, and I can see also what makes me want to fight hard for what I love.  We are in this together, so dance me through it.  Let’s find some light in this day.  Lead me to where I feel closer to You in my sadness and remind me that I never walk alone.  Awaken me to the next step toward joy, so that what is a deliberate choice becomes a buoy, carrying me along a river of delight.
Dance with me, God. Show me the pleasures in the everyday loveliness of the world You created.  Reveal what delights I can share, and the sadness I can ease.  Do it again, Lord, Fill my heart with love for life and for others.  That’s where it starts, right where joy and sorrow meet.  Amen.
There are many blessings in Good Enough by Kate Bowler that could be used.
Good Enough by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie Copyright © 2022 by Convergent Books, NYC, p. 13.

Prayer by Hopkins and Koppel

Compassionate God,
Deep in the iron pit of despair, pain, and grief, we grope and scream our way with clenched fists through lament, fearing that there is no way out. When we feel abandoned in this place where our bodies shiver with emotion and our minds reel with images of destruction, you cry with us and accept us where we are. You reach into our deepest agony and suffering through a warm, friendly hug, a healing dream, a nourishing meal, or a community of care. A questioning anger, searing pain, and writhing grief gradually subside, we open ourselves to shoulders of strength to lean on as we move forward, one laborious step after the other, supported and loved. Amen
From: Grounding in the Living Word The Old Testament and Pastoral Care Practices by Denis Dombkowski Hopkins and Michael S. Koppel (Eerdmans, 2021)

A Blessing for Pandemic Times

Hope of the World Hymn by Georgia Harkness

Prayers by Tamika Wells 

Mary McLeod Bethune: My Last Will and Testament

Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes

The People of God – Isaiah 2:2-4

Service of Hope and Remembrance from Discipleship Ministries

Steadfastness of Hope Part 1 and Part 2 from Fuller DePree Center

Sanctuary of the Heart: Gifts of Grief

Find hope in stories of kindness from KindSpring

Bearing Sorrow

Leadership Development