Finding Lost Words: The Church’s Right to Lament

Author(s): G. Geoffrey Harper

The Psalms | Suffering | NextGen

The brokenness of this world inevitably invades our lives. But how do you maintain faith when overwhelmed by grief? When prayer goes unanswered? When all you have are questions, not answers? What do you say to God when you know he is in control but the suffering continues unabated? Is there any alternative to remaining speechless in the midst of pain and heartbreak?


This book is about finding words to use when life is hard. These words are not new. They are modes of expression that the church has drawn on in times of grief throughout most of its history. Yet, the church in the West has largely abandoned these words--the psalms of lament. The result is that believers often struggle to know what to do or say when faced with distress, anxiety, and loss. Whether you are in Christian leadership, training for ministry, or simply struggling to reconcile experience with biblical convictions, Finding Lost Words will help you consider how these ancient words can become your own.

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Other Contributors: Rachel Ciano, Rob Smith, Ian Maddock, Kirk Patston, Malcolm Gill, Sharon Wood, Alan Thompson, David Cohen, Andrew Sloan, Don West, Andrew Shead, Dan Wu, Peter Davis, and Nick Freestone.

"As the contributors to Finding Lost Words so insightfully point out, the Psalms offer us a robust invitation to express our honest feelings before God. I found this volume utterly compelling and encourage everyone to read this book and let the laments of the Psalms teach you how to pray." – Tremper Longman III, Westmont College

"This book is a work the church needs. Lament is a missing practice in the praying life of too many Christians in a broken world. It needs to be recovered. After all we find it in psalm after psalm. . . . Scripture not only gives us a language for our joys, it also gives us a language for our confusions, disappointments, and even anger towards God. In this work, a constellation of careful thinkers and practitioners serve us so very well. I commend it without reservation."  – Graham A. Cole, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"There is a level of superficiality in the spiritual experience of today's church that needs to be challenged. . . . Finding Lost Words is an excellent set of readable essays dealing with the theology and practice of lament from an exegetical, historical, and pastoral perspective. I don't want to overstate things but, if we really hear the message of this book, it will change the way we do church." – Jamie A. Grant, Highland Theological College UHI

"Like a well-cut diamond, this collection of essays radiates light in many directions, helping readers to see the biblical concept of lament from different perspectives with greater clarity. . . . This timely volume offers a much needed rebalance to Christian theology that often appears to have lost sight of the pain and suffering caused by the reality of evil in our broken world." – T. Desmond Alexander, Union Theological College, Belfast

G. Geoffrey Harper is Lecturer in Old Testament at Sydney Missionary and Bible College. He has written several essays and articles on intertextuality in the Old Testament.


Kit Barker is Lecturer in Old Testament at Sydney Missionary and Bible College. He is the author of Imprecation as Divine Discourse (2016).

General Fields

  • : 9781532617478
  • : Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • : Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • : April 2017
  • : April 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : G. Geoffrey Harper
  • : Paperback