Family Liturgies

Reading Hard Texts, Praying Hard Prayers

6110603840Scripture:  2 Timothy 1:6-14

Memory Verse: “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” ~2 Timothy 1:7


Dear God,
Sometimes we feel afraid.
Give us your spirit of power.
Sometimes we feel upset.
Give us your spirit of love.
Sometimes we feel confused.
Give us your spirit of self-control.
Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to live in us.


The Lectionary texts this week are difficult texts to read with children. Frankly, they are difficult texts to read as adults: the sorrow and tears of Lamentations 1 and Psalm 137, the harsh words from Jesus in Luke 17:5-10, even Paul’s mention of his suffering in 2 Timothy.

My tendency is to protect my children–as much as possible–from suffering, from the darker aspects of life. I don’t want them to be sad or afraid or upset. I’m afraid they won’t be able to cope. But when my dad died earlier this year, I learned that my children actually have a deep, healthy capacity for grief. That they can sit with death in ways I never imagined.

I think children know more about death and grief than we give them credit for. I think they have an instinctive capacity for lament. And I wonder what it would look like, as parents, to give them broader, deeper permission to engage the sadder aspects of life and grieve for the brokenness in our world.


Prayer Practice: Writing a Prayer of Lament

Talk as a family about a situation that is hard and sad. You might choose a situation within your own family or circle of friends, or you might look at the news for the day and find something there. Consider:

  • Why is this situation sad? What is going on that causes people pain?
  • If you are personally involved, how do you feel? And if it is something from the news, how do you imagine the people involved feel?
  • How do you think God feels?
  • What do you hope would happen in this situation?
  • Can you see any glimpses of God’s peace and love in the midst of the sadness?


Use the answers to the questions above to write a prayer of lament for the situation you have discussed. Remember that we can be honest with God about what we see and what we feel. Once you have written the prayer, light a candle and offer the prayer to God.

~Joanna Harader


One thought on “Reading Hard Texts, Praying Hard Prayers

  1. Pingback: Reading Hard Texts, Praying Hard Prayers | Spacious Faith

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s