These daily online studies are adapted from our Quiet Time Bible Guide. The studies go through the Old and New Testaments in just over two years. The approach taken by our quiet time Bible studies does not include answers. The goal of the study is to help you dig into Scripture for yourself. You can go deeper using a commentary, Bible background guide or Bible handbook.

Psalm 102: A Prayer of Grief

For more context before you begin studying, read this introduction to the book of Psalm.

"And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps, more strictly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging around waiting for something to happen. It gives life a permanently provisional feeling. . . . The act of living is different all through. Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything" (C. S. Lewis,A Grief Observed, [New York: Bantam, 1976], pp. 39, 13).

Grief is an experience of deep sorrow over a significant loss. Whether the loss we have suffered is the loss of a loved one, a job, our health or our home, the physical, emotional and spiritual suffering is intense. This psalm speaks our anguish to God in times of grief.

Warming Up to God

How would you describe the experience of grief?

Read Psalm 102

Discovering the Word

  • In verses 1-2 the psalmist pleads for God to hear him. Why is this need so urgent in times of grief and distress?
  • How does the psalmist describe his current physical and emotional state (vv. 2-11)?
  • The psalmist seems to be blaming God and pleading with God (vv. 1-2, 24) at the same time. What does he blame God for (vv. 8, 10, 23)?
  • The writer seems to have mixed feelings about God. What positive perspectives does he express about God (vv. 12-22, 25-28)?
  • Mixed feelings about God are common in times of suffering and grief. What is it about times of grief that might create these mixed feelings?

Applying the Word

  • How do the psalmist's descriptions compare with your experiences of grief?
  • What experience have you had with mixed feelings toward God in times of grief?
  • What grief are you aware of (over a loss you have suffered—recent or long past) that you need to express to God?

Responding in Prayer

Express your feelings of grief to God, and pray for others you know who are grieving.