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A Sacred Sorrow: Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  312 ratings  ·  45 reviews
God desires for us to pour out our hearts to Him, whether in joy or pain. But many of us don't feel right expressing our anger, frustration, and sadness in prayer.

From Job to David to Christ, men and women of the Bible understood the importance of pouring one's heart out to the Father. Examine their stories and expand your definition of worship.

Paperback, 205 pages
Published January 18th 2005 by NavPress
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Matthew Mitchell
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful elegy to tear-filled faith.

Michael Card’s A Sacred Sorrow is a rich, searching, wise, authentic, and accessible (re)introduction to the “lost language” of biblical lament. For the last few years, I’ve been reading everything reliable that I can find on lament in the Bible. I think the 21st century American church needs that kind of tear-filled faith woven back into our prayer lives, corporate worship, and imagination. Pain and suffering are sadly normal in this broken world, and than
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it
I come to this book as a biased reader. Michael Card has been my favorite song writer and a key influence on my spiritual life for many years. In addition, the topic of lament is one I am already sympathetic to and leaning towards. On the whole, I think this book was very helpful. The main argument is that we need to learn how to lament as a way to give expression to grief, sorrow, and sadness before the Lord, rather than letting those experiences become something we cannot bring to God as worsh ...more
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Michael Card's music was among the Christian music I listened to while growing up (prior to college when I became a music major and my musical world expanded). In this book, he discusses that many modern American Christians don't understand lament (grieving over sin, suffering etc), something he thinks should be a significant part of our concept of worship. So he goes into the Biblical characters of Job, David, Jeremiah and Jesus, and talks about how the lives of each can contribute things to ou ...more
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-my-kindle
I found this to be a helpful study of lamentation through the Scriptures, especially in the lives of Job, David, Jeremiah and Jesus. Though Card gets a bit too mystical for me at times, he has strong Scriptural support for his thesis that in the Western church we have taught people that it's not OK to have sorrow. We teach our children not to cry and they never get over it. By tracing the lamentations of four key figures in Scripture he shows the value of laying your sorrows at the throne of God ...more
Joyce Oliver stahle
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very well written and his points are well supported and backed up.
We certainly have lost a virtual experience in our walk with Christ. We need to lament, by lamenting it draws ever closer and draws us into worship.
Tori Samar
"[P]rayers of complaint can still be prayers of faith. They represent the last refusal to let go of the God who may seem to be absent or worse—uncaring. If this is true, then lament expresses one of the most intimate moments of faith—not a denial of it. It is supreme honesty before a God whom my faith tells me I can trust."

Great book to read if you are looking for a springboard into lament, an oft-neglected biblical topic. Card highlights key aspects of lament, particularly presence ("God, where
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! I'm familiar with Michael Card's music from back in the day, and I had heard he also wrote books, but this is the first I've read. He is an excellent Bible teacher and author. I'm looking forward to reading more of his work. The first part flowed better than the second half for me. I was going to give it four stars, but then the Appendix was so valuable with resources that I had to increase it to five, and I bought the book. I had read the library copy, but I want to Appendix around f ...more
Tim Boynton
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Permission and Invitation to lament

In our sin torn and broken world none of us can live here without having their own hearts torn and broken by sin, suffering and deep, deep grief. My 20 year old daughter died nearly 7 months ago and I desperately wanted and needed to connect with God in prayer. Lament is the vocabulary, the language of the broken heart reaching out to the One our hearts were made for
Kimberly Patton
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This guy is a deep thinker and doesn’t hide it from page one. He feels things on a deeper level and wants to search and search until he reaches the heart of God. It’s very inspiring. I found myself learning quite a bit about Jeremiah, Job, David and Jesus. The best part was the end where he specified that we are lamenting losing the presence of God. That is what we really want and need, and I found that section alone to be worth reading the whole book.
Collynn Harper
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
What an important book. The language of lament is mostly lost in the church today. Grateful to Michael Card for starting this conversation and for confirming my own journey of lament as a form of worship. Pursuing God’s presence in my sorrow...remembering what He has done, is “honey in my mouth” as Ezekiel says.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A healing walk through Biblical lament and how crucial it is to this life between gardens. From birth our mothers try to shush our lament and we live life rushing past this holy practice. This was a great read on the heels of “It’s not supposed to be this way” by Lysa TerKeurst.
William T. Brittain
A Comforting Reminder of God's covenant faithfulness and love

After many years in Christ I have recently understood the hesed of our God. It is too much to take in.
Jul 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
I didn't get very far into this book. I found it was too laborious.
Emma Grace
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Although I disagree on one deeper theological point, here’s a book I recommend to anybody wondering what it means to have emotions besides happiness and how to channel them and bring them to G-d.
Margo Berendsen
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book addresses some tough issues very well. The foreword describes the problem: after breaking down and sobbing at the funeral of his mother, a pastor finishes his benediction and goes to a side room to finish crying. "My twenty-two year old daughter slipped in beside me. We sat together, quiet and weeping our own sacred sorrow. And then a man I'd never seen before entered and sat down. He put his arm across my shoulder and spoke some preacherish cliches in a preacherish tone. Then, mercifu ...more
Jason Kanz
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
A few weeks ago at the School of Spiritual Direction, a new friend of mine was reading this book by Michael Card--A Sacred Sorrow: Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament (2005). He spoke highly of this book. In fact, the morning that we led worship was focused on lament and was driven in part by his readings in this book. I was intrigued to say the least.

I had previously read Fragile Stone by Michael Card which was about the emotional life of Peter. Between that book and his music,
Peter Holford
May 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Great to see this fresh approach to worship from the accomplished singer-songwriter and scholar, Michael Card. In stark contrast to the happy-clappy, smile-or-die approach to worship we hear so much about, Card argues that lament, grief and sorrow are not only legitimate, but (at times) vital aspects of our relationship with God. He supports this ably with strong and close biblical reference to the lives of Job, David, Jeremiah and Jesus. He also explains the ancient practice of Lectio Divina in ...more
Oct 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
In this book, Michael Card walks us through the concept of Biblical lament, which he notes is evident throughout the scriptures, yet remarkably absent in the American church today. Card encourages us to pursue Biblical lament as a means of entering into a deeper, more honest relationship with God. I appreciated that the book was somewhat instructive, but did not give a cookie cutter approach. Card examines the lives of Job, David, Jeremiah and Christ, highlighting how lament brought them, and ca ...more
Apr 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who has experienced grief and wants to know that it's OK to lament before God
Recommended to MusicalMommy by: Philip Meyer, friend of Michael Card
I was waiting to get on stage to sing with the choir accompanying Michael Card. Philip Meyer recommended this book to me saying he was planning to translate this book into French as he loved it so much. The theme of sorrow and lamenting is sadly something I know about so I bought the book and continued to chat with Philip about the topic of sorrow. Michael Card walks into the room and we continue the conversation together. I then asked Michael to autography my book. I look forward to hearing wha ...more
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good book, though in my opinion, not my favorite. I started reading it when my dad died, but it was hard getting though (obviously, as my dad died 5 years ago...). I own six of Michael's books and love his way with words, both as a song writer and an author. I think I just grieve differently than with a lament. That may be part of my failure to really connect. He had very profound truth, but his others seem to connect more with me.
Joy Matteson
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
A wonderful book on the topic of lament. Anyone who reads this will likely get a sense that most churches do not know how to have a place to mourn as a local community of believers. Michael Card has written a beautiful book on the topic of lament and sorrow that is very accessible to readers of all ages. Recommended!
Luke Olson
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great book, that takes a look into what biblical lament looks like. A helpful book, that put clarification and light on depression, sorrow, and grief, which often just feels like a muddled mess of depression. Dr. Card was helpful in his way of showing how sorrow can bring us closer to God, not farther.
Todd Miles
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Michael Card is one of my favorite musicians. He is also one of my favorite Christian writers. He uniquely combines the imagination of an artist with the precision of a theologian. The result is powerful. In this book, Card takes on the poetic subgenre of lament, looking at the lives of the writers and their relentless faith.
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
I have read better books on grief, and expected more depth from Card than this book delivered (in my opinion). For example - "When God Weeps" by Joni Earickson Tada/Steve Estes and "How Long, O Lord?" by D.A. Carson give a deeper, richer theology of biblical grief and sorrow and along with it, hope.
Ben Palm
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book caught me by surprise. The depth of insight, the powerful portrayal of an ever-pursuing, ever-gracious God, and the honest description of what lament should be and how our church should handle it - all of this made this book one of the most powerful I have read in a long time, and I've read 40 books this year! You should read it!
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is one of the most "devotional" of book I have recently read in regard to Lament / Psalms of Lament. In fact, I think there is a small-group guide also available. Card dives into several forms of lament in Scripture, including David, Job, & Jeremiah. ...more
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Michael Card looks at lamenting as a form of worship. It was interesting to think of it from a different perspective. . It took me a long time to finish the book because I stopped and read the parts of the Bible that pertained to what he was writing about. A good study.
Catherine R
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a profound and thought provoking book. It will not be for everyone but it was perfect for me. Michael Card explores the language of lament in the Bible and how we have the lost the art of communicating sorrow in a world which is always focused on being happy. Cuts through pat answers.
Karen Strumlak
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found Michael Card when listening to his music on cable Christian music. I was surprised to find he was also an author. I got this book out of the library and wish I had my own copy. I read it daily as inspiration and lamenting became part of my life and learning. A truly remarkable book.
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
If you stripped out all the touchy-feely fluff, there would be a solid and rich theological pamphlet on lament in here. It's in there, if you can hold your breath and squirm uncomfortably through the pop-christianity garbledygook. (Don't mind me if you're into that kindof thing.)
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Michael Card (born April 11, 1957) is an American Christian singer-songwriter, musician, author, and radio host from Franklin, Tennessee. He is best known for his contributions in contemporary Christian music, which couple folk-style melodies and instrumentation with lyrics that stem from intensive study of the

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