Praying Our Tears – Gospel in Life

Praying Our Tears

Tim Keller |  February 27, 2000

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  • Suffering
  • Prayer & Meditation
Psalm 39:12-13; 126:1-6
RS 111-2


As you can see, these psalms are about weeping, suffering and grief. Religious people, by and large, want to deny the power and the depth of their feelings. On the other hand, secular people tend to see discovery and expression of your feelings almost as a good end in itself. To bow to your feelings or to stuff your feelings, to be over-awed by your feelings or under-aware of your feelings are both dangerous.

The Psalms give us a gospel third way of dealing with your feelings. The Psalms do not say to deny or vent, but to pray your feelings. Pray your deepest feelings. Bring them before God and process them. There are three things these texts tell us. Expect tears, invest tears, and pray your tears.

Psalm 39:12–13; 126:1–6

The Psalms teach us a lot about dealing with emotions. They tell us it’s okay to feel things deeply, especially sadness, and we should bring these feelings to God for help. A good example of this are the Psalms of sorrow, which show us the importance of accepting, dealing with, and praying through our tears.

1. Expect tears

Psalm 126 tells us that even when we’re blessed, we can still face difficulties and sadness. Thinking that being faithful means we’ll never have troubles can make things harder than they need to be. Instead, we should realize that a strong faith often makes us more aware of the world’s pain, just like Jesus was aware and experienced sadness and grief.

2. Use your tears for growth

The Psalms use the idea of planting and harvesting with tears and joy to help us see sadness and happiness differently. They suggest that we should use our sadness as a chance to grow. The happiness that comes from this growth isn’t just about not being sad anymore, but a deeper joy that comes from having been sad. Even though our troubles are short-lived, they’re achieving an endless glory that’s much greater, making us wonder if we really know how to use our tears for growth.

3. Pray your tears

Praying in times of sorrow, as seen in Psalms 39 and 126, is a strong way to express our deepest feelings to God. This involves recognizing God’s grace, picturing the cross, and finding comfort in His glory, which can lessen feelings of guilt and self-pity. It’s important to remember that not all prayers may end with feeling good, but they’re all moving in that direction, and that tears shouldn’t be something we’re afraid of, but seen as a possible source of joy.




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