Visit our Highlands Campus:  Icon Clear Small Renewal Church

 

  Wash Park Campus
303-733-3777
Church@SJDenver.org

Sunday 10/30 - Saturday 11/5

Choose how you'd like to do Warm Ups + Getting Started:

  • As a large group. Best for groups of 7 or less.
  • Split into men's & women's groups.
  • In Trios. Break off into same-gender groups of three.

 

Warm Ups

1. Share your high moment of the week.

2. Share your low moment of the week.

3. If you ran for president, what would your platform be?

4. How did God remind you of His presence this week?

 

Note for Leaders: You don't have to do every question listed. Choose the best ones for your group!

 

Getting Started


  • Have you ever prayed your own lament?

  • Some have criticised modern worship for being all about praise and not laments. Even in more traditional services, laments are not often sung. Do you think that should be changed? Is there anything to be gained when the community offers laments together?

 

Going Further

  • Within the category of Psalms of Lament, we can find three sub-categories (which often overlap):
    • Individual or community lament over personal or national disgrace, hardship or disaster.
      • There are many individual laments in this category. For today, pick one Communal Lament example to read: 44, 60, 74, 79, 80, 85, 90.
    • Individual or community lament over opression by the enemy coupled with prayer that God would destroy the enemy (These are called "Imprecatory" Psalms).
      • Pick one example to read: 5, 10, 17, 35, 58, 59, 69, 70, 79, 83, 88, 109, 129, 137, 140
    • Lament of repentance over individual or community sin (These called "Penitential" Psalms).
      • Pick one example to read: 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143

  • Often Psalms of lament will ask God where He is at or what He is doing. Is that ok?

  • Often, as noted by this Wikipedia Article, Psalms of Lament will have a few common elements. Pick one of your example Psalms from above. Can you identify any of the following elements?
    • Address to God;
    • The Lament - a "description of the occurrences for which the people are requesting assistance or rescue;"
    • Expression of Trust in God;
    • Petition for Help;
    • Praise and/or Thanksgiving.

  • In the petition section, there are a few ways that Psalmists typically try to invoke God's help. In your example Psalm, which one is used?
    • God, your nature as good, holy and righteous won't permit the wickedness of our oppressors to continue.
    • God, we are your people! The nations will hear/see how you intervene and fear/praise you.
    • God, you saved us in the past.
    • God, you've made promises to save us.
    • Something else...

  • Imprecatory Psalms are the hardest for us to resonate with. The psalmist sometimes expresses a feeling that they are completely in the right - which is difficult for us as sinners to pray! They sometimes advocate for extreme violence against the enemies of God's people. Is it right to pray these Psalms? How do we reconcile that with the command to love our neighbor?
    • This explanation from CARM is somewhat helpful to us: "It is important to recall the theological principles that underlie such psalms. These include: (1) the principle that vengeance belongs to God (Deut. 32:35; Ps. 94:1) that excludes personal retaliation and necessitates appeal to God to punish the wicked (cp. Rom. 12:19); (2) the principle that God’s righteousness demands judgment on the wicked (Pss. 5:6; 11:5–6); (3) the principle that God’s covenant love for the people of God necessitates intervention on their part (Pss. 5:7; 59:10, 16–17); and (4) the principle of prayer that believers trust God with all their thoughts and desires."1
    • However, the following quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book "Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible" perhaps offer a more complete explanation: "Can the imprecatory psalms be understood as God's word for us and as the prayer of Jesus Christ?" (p.56) "Nowhere does the one who prays these psalms want to take revenge into his own hands. He calls for the wrath of God alone... The prayer for the vengeance of God is the prayer for the execution of his righteousness in the judgment of sin." (p.57) "I myself, with my sin, belong under this judgment." (p.58) "God's vengeance did not strike the sinners, but the one sinless man who stood in the sinners' place, namely God's own son. Jesus Christ bore the wrath of God, for the execution of which the psalm prays. He stilled God's wrath toward sin and prayed in the hour of the execution of the divine judgment: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do!" No other than he, who himself bore the wrath of God, could pray in this way.... Thus the imprecatory psalms leads to the cross of Jesus and to the love of God which forgives enemies." (p.58) "I cannot forgive the enemies of God out of my own resources. Only the crucified Christ can do that, and I through him. Thus, the carrying out of vengance becomes grace for all men in Jesus Christ... I leave the vengeance to God and ask him to execute his righteousness to all his enemies... Jesus Christ himself requests the execution of the wrath of God on his body, and thus he leads me back daily to the gravity and the grace of his cross for me and all enemies of God." (p.59) "In this way the crucified Jesus teaches us to pray the imprecatory psalms correctly." (p.60)

Optional Worship Song

  • If you'd like, you can sing the following song as a group. Be sure to turn up the volume so that less confident singers feel comfortable.

     

    Prayers

    • In your prayers for this week, please consider the following!
      • Those in your life who don't know Jesus. Pray for them by name!
      • Pray that God would entrust you with someone who needs a Christian voice in their life.
      • St. John's multi-site campus plant in the Highlands.
      • Pray for a Gospel movement in our city.
      • Pray for our nation and the election coming up.
    • Shake it up! You might try a different prayer posture this week. Did you know that people in the Old Testament prayed by looking up toward Heaven and stretching their arms out? You could also hold hands as a group, etc.
    • Click here for ideas on how to pray as a group.

      

     Serve Our City

     

    Feedback

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