5. Psalms of Lament

  • This is the largest single category
  • The parts of a lament (not every psalm may have every part and the order may vary)

Example—Psalm 142

1. Address and introductory cry

With my voice I cry out to the LORD;
     with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD.
I pour out my complaint before him;
     I tell my trouble before him.
When my spirit faints within me,
     you know my way!

2. The Lament (the real problem)

In the path where I walk
     they have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see:
     there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
     no one cares for my soul.

3. Confession of trust

I cry to you, O LORD;
     I say, “You are my refuge,
         my portion in the land of the living.”

4. Prayer—what the psalmist wants God to do about it

Attend to my cry,
     for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors,
     for they are too strong for me!

(4a. optional) Reasons given to God for answering the prayer

Bring me out of prison,
     that I may give thanks to your name!

5. Vow or shout of praise

The righteous will surround me,

(5a. optional) Prophetic statement

     for you will deal bountifully with me.


  1. Find a Lament psalm and print it out, divided into parts
  2. List what parallelisms you find in it.

Try now with some other psalms: 3, 6, 13, 28, 56