Welcome

“I cry aloud to God” says the psalmist. This website is intended to help you do just that too.

Most of us go through times when we need or want to cry. Some of us find that hard to do.

The psalms are the prayers of those who have gone before us in faith and learned how to cry to God. We can learn from them, and follow in their footsteps, so that we too can cry hard.

In my experience, there are plenty reasons to cry hard – to lament – not least all the pain and suffering in the world as we live in the now-and-not-yet of God’s kingdom.

This website supports my publications in this area and I hope to develop it with a range of resources for lament in Christian prayer and worship. Do contact me to make suggestions.

I might occasionally write a blog entry.

I hope that the resources here will help you as you cry out to God over whatever is on your heart.

Simon Stocks

Publications

Songs for Suffering

Songs for Suffering is a practical and immediately accessible handbook to help anyone to pray when they are feeling troubled. It is written in an engaging style, with practical suggestions for using the psalms of lament and for forming your own prayers in the light of your circumstances.

It is available now from Christian bookshops and from ChristianBook.com (for USA), from Alban Books and Amazon (UK) and in Australia from Koorong.

A review by Jules Middleton is here and one by Tanya Marlow is here.

My friend Amy Perry has produced a set of artwork – one piece for each chapter – that accompanies the book. This is available with additional commentary here.

Resource for Pastors / Ministers

An earlier booklet that covers more of the thinking behind Songs for Suffering was published as a Grove booklet and is available here (as either print copy or e-book download). This booklet is intended for pastors and ministers – those who have pastoral responsibility for others.

Blog

A Day of Raging Prayer

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London, there is discussion on social media about the ‘day of rage’ and a certain Christian response to it: ‘we need a day of prayer not a day of rage’. Why should they be seen as alternatives?

Feelings for Vengeance

Much of my time over the last month has been spent marking assignments. A significant number of students chose to study Psalm 137. Popularised (in part) for anyone over 40-ish by Boney M.’s ‘By the rivers of Babylon’ (1978), the psalm is, in equal measure, notorious for its closing verses, which some lectionaries deem unfit …

About

My name is Simon Stocks and I teach Biblical Studies at St Augustine’s College of Theology. This is one of the Church of England’s ministerial training colleges, and is based in the south east of England. It is a non-residential college, and we teach in a variety of venues.

I am an ordained priest in the Church of England and minister in the parish of Christ Church, Purley, in the Diocese of Southwark. I trained for ministry at Trinity College Bristol, where I embarked upon my research into the contemporary use of the psalms.

Before that I had a career in civil engineering, working mainly in the railway industry in design and project management. I was Principal Engineer for a section of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link that connects London with the Channel Tunnel.

My academic interests also cover aspects of the structure of Hebrew poetry. My doctoral research in this field was conducted through Cliff College in Derbyshire, and was supervised by David Firth. I was glad of trips to the Peak District, being a keen walker and having grown up in south Manchester.

I am one of those seemingly rare breed of Manchester United fans: one from Manchester.

@simonpstocks