Psalm 6: Praying Our Tears
Tears are a biological gift of God. They are a physical means for expressing emotional and spiritual experience. But it is hard to know what to do with them. If we indulge our tears, we cultivate self-pity. If we suppress our tears, we lose touch with our feelings. But if we pray our tears, we enter into sadnesses that integrate our sorrows with our Lord's sorrows and discover both the source of and the relief from our sadness.
Warming Up to God
How do you feel about crying (is it always negative, positive or mixed)?
Discovering the Word
- Compare the first verse with the last. Are the tears because of the Lord or the enemies? Explain.
- What is the cumulative effect of the three verbs turn, deliver and save in verse 4?
- The emotional center of this prayer is verses 6-7. How many different ways is weeping expressed?
- Why the tears? (Go through the psalm and note every possible source.)
- In verses 8-9 there are three phrases in parallel: weeping, cry for mercy and prayer. Are these aspects of one thing or three different things? Explain.
Applying the Word
- "How long?" (v. 3) is a frequent question in prayer. Considering the frequency with which it is uttered in Scripture, God must welcome it. What in your life, past or present, evokes this question?
- Tears are often considered a sign that something is wrong with us—depression, unhappiness, frustration—and are therefore to be either avoided or cured. But what if they are a sign of something right with us? What rightness could they be evidence of?
Responding in Prayer
Who do you know who is in grief? Pray for them now, using phrases from Psalm 6 to express their sorrow.