How Long Will You Forget Me, Lord? A service of Lament Based on Psalm 13


Prelude: "Duet No. 2 in F Major," Beethoven unaccompanied flute and bassoon

The Call to Worship

Hymn: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise" PsH 460, PH 263, RL 7, TH 38

stanzas 1-3

Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting

Congregation of Jesus Christ, in whom are you trusting?

Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.

Grace, mercy, and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Response: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise" stanza 4


Scripture: Psalm 13

Sermon: "How Long Will You Hide Your Face from Me?"


How Long, O Lord?


Long enough, God—
you've ignored me long enough.
I've looked at the back of your head
long enough. Long enough
I've carried this ton of trouble,
lived with a stomach full of pain.
Long enough my arrogant enemies
have looked down their noses at me.
—from Psalm 13, The Message

Sung Prayer: "How Long Will You Forget Me, Lord" PsH 13, TH 641 (1)

stanza 1



Take a good look at me, God, my God:
I want to look life in the eye
so no enemy can get the best of me
or laugh when I fall on my face.
—from Psalm 13, The Message


"Lord, We Cry to You for Help" PsH 261 (2)
"Near to the Heart of God" PH 527
"Nearer, Still Nearer" 1959 PsH, 454

Prayers of Intercession (3)

We lift our hearts to you, Lord God, as the mighty one who by the word of your mouth created the heavens and the earth; and as the merciful one who gives us the right to address you in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord. We lift our hearts to you because there is no one else to whom we can turn, no one else who has the words of eternal life. We ask you to come and enter the circumstances of our lives that bring such pain and confusion; to enter the lives of our brothers and sisters who suffer; to enter the lives of those who live in darkness. Refrain

We pray today for those within our local family who are in need of extra mercy and grace. Some have fallen and need you to lift them again. Some sorrow and need your comfort. Some experience broken relationships and need your grace. Some confront major diseases and need your hand for strength and healing. Still others confront their own doubt and confusion and need your Spirit to soothe their hearts. Many live with the loneliness and grief of loved ones taken away by death, and require sustaining grace daily. Refrain

We pray today for our community and those within it who feel such need for mercy. We hold up before you all those who have been affected by this tragic accident, for the families of those who lost a senior loved one, for those who are injured and hospitalized as well as their families. In particular we remember ... Refrain

We pray for our world, such a mixture of truth and falsehood, light and darkness, love and hate. Bring, we pray, the light of your presence into the middle of our society. Bring the healing power of justice and truth. May the leaders of our nations lead us to live together in harmony. Promote the causes of peace and reconciliation. But most of all open doors for the proclamation of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. May the light of salvation in Christ overcome the shadows of darkness, selfishness, immorality, and violence that hover over our land and threaten its future. Refrain

Let us pray the prayer our Lord taught us, saying, "Our Father ..."

Trusting the Goodness of God


I've thrown myself headlong into your arms—
I'm celebrating your rescue.
I'm singing at the top of my lungs,
I'm so full of answered prayers.
—from Psalm 13, The Message

Hymn: "Those Who Wait Upon the Lord"SFL 215
stanzas 1, 2, 3, 7

Jesus Christ, Love Divine


I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

—from John 10

Hymn: "1 Want Jesus to Walk with Me" PsH 363, SFL 214, TH 611

Offertory: "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me" Edison


The Benediction

Hymn: "Lord of Our Life" SFL 81

Postlude: "Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing" Young.


This service was planned after a tragic accident took the life of one member and seriously injured others. Scripture quotations in this service quoted from The Message, © 1993. 1994. 1995. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.



1 We sang the text of Psalm 13 to the tune BROTHER JAMES' AIR, so that for this particular service the congregation would be able to sing to a familiar tune. The association of that tune with Psalm 23 provided a metaphor of a shepherd that helped to communicate the security and comfort we needed. The psalm was accompanied by flute, bassoon, and handbells, playing only the melody transposed down a third to the key of B major.

2 One stanza from "Lord, We Cry to You for Help" was read, not sung; two stanzas of "Near to the Heart of God" and one of "Nearer, Still Nearer" were sung. All the texts were printed in the bulletin.

3 The prayers were not printed in the bulletin.

Norma de Waal Malefyt is now retired having served as the Resource Development Specialist in Congregational Song for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Howard D. Vanderwell was the Resource Development Specialist of Pastoral Leadership for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, the author and editor of The Church of All Ages and Caring Worship: Helping Worship Leaders Provide Pastoral Care through the Liturgy, and co-author of Designing Worship Together.

Reformed Worship 44 © June 1997, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.