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Just Be Honest

How to Worship through Tears and Pray without Pretending

from 17 reviews

Learn how to voice your heartache to the Lord and experience genuine hope and joy amid grief and pain. 

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Suffering often causes deep spiritual agony. You might be left thinking, “Where is God? Why is he allowing this? Why doesn’t he do something?” And then guilt whispers to your soul, “Am I allowed to say these things? Shouldn’t I trust God without hesitation? Am I just a faithless Christian?” 

This honest, warm and personal book shows us that we don’t need to wrap up our stories of suffering with lessons and silver linings or suppress our pain. Being honest with God, and with others, about our heartache is not only “allowed” but encouraged in the Scriptures. In fact, lament is authorised by God as an act of worship. 

Weaving in his own story of pain and loss with biblical reflections, Clint Watkins shows us how lament is permitted by Jesus, shaped by Scripture, fuelled by grace and filled with hope. And when we lament as communities through worship and testimony, we minister hope to a hurting world. 

Learn how to pray without pretending by sharing your hurts with God. As you draw near to the Father, experience genuine hope and joy amid grief and pain.

A great gift for Christians who are suffering and a useful resource for church leaders and others who are walking alongside them.

Clint Watkins is a missionary to college students.

Product details


  • Introduction: Hurting with God

    Part 1: Being Honest with God

    1. Strong Faith Struggles

    2. Jesus Wept and Wrestled

    3. Learning to Lament

    4. Groaning without Grumbling

    5. Sorrowful Yet Rejoicing

    Part 2: Being Honest with Each Other

    6. Weep Together

    7. Let Others In

    8. Bear Their Burdens

    Conclusion: Hurting with Hope


Contributors Clint Watkins
ISBN 9781784988951
Format Paperback
First published January 2024
Dimensions 129mm x 198mm x 7.6mm
Weight 0.18 kg
Language English
Pages 160
Publisher The Good Book Company

Craig Allen Cooper

USA Today Best-Selling Author, Glad You’re Here (with Walker Hayes); Author, Overflowing Mercies

"The compassion and empathy of Jesus may surprise you, and it will undoubtedly comfort you. For those of us who have experienced deep heartache, and for any who have walked with friends through unimaginable grief, the gems in this book are more precious than gold. Here is wisdom for our sorrows and solace for our pains. Very few people get through this life unscathed by suffering, and Just Be Honest helps us grasp that reality that Jesus is ‘hospitable to heartache’ and that ‘hurting people need to be heard.’ Absorbing and applying these truths can save your faith and help you brave the brokenness of life with those you love. Whether you are amid sorrow currently, preparing for sorrow eventually, or walking with others through their sorrows sympathetically, this book will prove to be a masterful guide!”

Adriel Booker

Author, 'Grace Like Scarlett' and 'Tethered to Hope'

"With pastoral tenderness and wisdom, Clint Watkins shares how the practice of honest lament was the grace he needed to draw near to God in a time of acute pain and heartache. Watkins compels us to make space in our personal lives and faith communities for worship practices that engage the whole spectrum of human longing and need. In an age when we’re rewarded for putting our best selves forward, Just Be Honest is not a blueprint for a better way but an invitation to enter one."

Peter Krol

President, DiscipleMakers campus ministry

“Why do I presume that faith means pretending that the Christian life is always cheery and fulfilling? Through his careful unfolding of the biblical witness on lament and complaint, Watkins extended to me the Lord’s permission both to grieve and grieve like a Christian. I suspect he’ll do the same for you."

Customer reviews

1 Apr 2024

“A must read”

Title: Just Be Honest
Author: Clint Watkins
Length: 158 Pages

“Dry eyes are not a tell-tale sign of strong faith.”

Lament is a topic that you don’t hear a lot of sermons on. I didn’t even know what lament was until my mentor gave me a copy of the book “Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy” after our son’s first major heart surgery. Understanding and using lament was such a comfort for me as we grieved so many things at that time.

We often think that our grief should look a certain way or fit a specific time table. But that just isn’t what is shown to us in the Bible. What we need to understand is that lament is a form or worship! Lament is the language given to us in scripture to cry out to God in our pain and grief. It is something that I believe every Christ follower needs to know about. In his book, “Just Be Honest”, Clint Watkins does a wonderful job of explaining and applying lament.

I am so glad I learned to lament three years ago. Just be Honest came at a perfect time for a refresher on lament. I read this book through tears and felt like I could have highlighted the whole thing! I already know that I’ll be reading sections of it over and over. If you are walking through a hard time, this book will be a balm for your hurting soul and will help you use scripture to cry out in faith to God.

If you are not currently in a season of grief, DO NOT WAIT until you are to read this book. Do yourself a big favor and read it in preparation for when hard times come.

“If you’re in Christ, you belong to the one who has power over the grave. Your laments ring out under the banner of a resurrected King. When he returns, all eventual praise will turn eternal. Joy will not longer be eclipsed by sorrow. And death will finally die. You can trust the Lord through tears, knowing that Jesus will one day wipe them away. So struggle faithfully. Groan boldy. Hurt with Hope.”

I was gifted this book by The Good Book Company to give an honest review.

2 Mar 2024

“Incredible Book”

I wish I had the words to do this book justice. It’s incredible, a must-read, a book where every.single.page is full of hope and truth, and a balm to a hurting soul. This book takes thoughts of “I can’t honestly speak to God about this”, and turns them into prayers. Every day that I picked this up, my heart was encouraged.

You’ll love this if you:
•are in the midst of sorrow and aren’t sure how to be honest with God about it
•aren’t sure how you feel about God and his place in your suffering
•are scared to include others in your sorrow
•are walking through suffering with a close friend or family member
•need a hope-filled read

Bonus: If you’re looking for real-life practical ways to move closer to God in your suffering, move closer to others in your suffering, and help others who are suffering; this book is your resource! I will be referencing back to this one often.

Favorite quotes:
“Strong faith weeps”

“Some of the most steadfast believers look at the world through tears and walk with a limp.”

“And when you can’t understand why God is allowing such agony, hear Christ’s cry from the cross. Suffering can reduce your prayers down to one word: Why? Jesus punctuated his prayer with a question mark. You can, too.”

“Sorrow belongs in the sanctuary.”

“Learn to meet tragedy with a ministry of tears.”

Thank you @thegoodbookcompanyusa and @clintdwatkins for the free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is a book I will be buying many more copies of ❤️

26 Feb 2024

“Powerful Book!”

Wow, this book was AMAZING! It stands out as one of the best books I have read on the topic of grief and lamenting. I genuinely believe everyone needs to read this, seriously.

In this short yet powerful book, Clint Watkins shares his own personal story dealing with pain and loss to provide hope to readers. It's not a fluffy hope with platitudes but one rooted in Jesus and the Gospel, offering genuine hope in the darkest moments. I love how Clint encourages us to push past pretending when grieving and to be honest in a way that is raw and reverent.

This book is incredibly beneficial, not only to those who find themselves in the midst of grieving but also to those who want to faithfully walk alongside brothers and sisters who are hurting. I appreciated the insight into normalizing grieving in corporate worship. The author also speaks about the lack of modern worship songs addressing lamenting and how we often only sing about mountain-top experiences.

There's so much to love about this book; it's challenging to put it all into words. It's one of those books you finish and think, "WOW, I needed that," knowing you will never be the same after reading it. This book has inspired me to grieve more honestly and be there for others in a deeper way. I was touched by many of the ways Clint shared how he and his wife were served in their suffering.

14 Feb 2024

“Deep and Powerful”

Clint Watkins shares important spiritual truths about lament in this book, alongside his personal story of losing his firstborn child due to a tragic prenatal diagnosis. He reflects on how difficult it was for him to know how to relate to God during this time, since he was so devastated and angry, and he draws on his own experience to illustrate common struggles that Christians face when they are walking through deep suffering.

Watkins encourages readers to be honest with God and with each other, and he highlights instances from Scripture where faithful believers and Jesus Himself openly grieved and expressed the depths of their feelings to God. Watkins explains that even though grieving Christians often feel displaced in contemporary church culture, believing that they need to sound upbeat and hopeful in spite of their losses, God welcomes the reality of what we feel.

Although the first half of this book focuses on being honest with God, the second half is about being honest with other Christians. Watkins speaks to both sufferers and the people supporting them, and he offers practical advice for how individual Christians and churches at large can better support and include the hurting people in their midst. Watkins also shares thoughtful responses to questions that people might have, such as how to distinguish biblical lament from grumbling, and how to strike the balance of letting a friend vent their honest feelings while still speaking truth into their lives.

This book will encourage Christians in a variety of difficult circumstances. Watkins's heartfelt reflections about losing his son will especially resonate with other bereaved parents, but the book's universal themes make it relevant to all suffering Christians and their supporters. This book is honest, deeply grounded in Scripture, and very thoughtful, and I highly recommend it.

Note: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

9 Feb 2024


In his book Just Be Honest: How to Worship through Tears and Pray without Pretending, Clint Watkins shows us that as Christians we do not need to have a stoic faith. Watkins encourages us to wrestle and lament as it is often the pathway to renewing our trust in God and eventually leads us to praise. As we struggle, God does not condemn us but gives us grace as we go to Him with all of our feelings and questions. Watkins also reminds us that it is okay to ask God to change our circumstances, drawing from many examples of people in the Bible. Towards the end of the book, he also stresses the importance of bearing each others’ burdens which includes listening with compassion, praying, etc. This was a much needed book on lamenting and it has impacted the way I approach God in prayer!

The Good Book Company provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

5 Feb 2024

“Very informative”

I found this book to be so helpful as it dove into what it means to worship God when things are hard and how you can be honest without grumbling. Watkins gives a number of examples from the Bible where one can see the emotion being displayed by somebody before God in their prayers or songs.
One quote that stood out to me was, “Your weeping is not weak. Your wrestling is not wavering. And, as you are about to see, Jesus authorizes your groaning and joins you in your grief. So don’t wipe away your tears or walk around your questions. Struggle faithfully.”
That quote is a great picture of what to expect when you are going through this book. Watkins empathizes with you and encourages you to come before God, providing helpful tips along the way. One key distinction Watkins makes is between lamenting and grumbling which is so helpful because for many it may be difficult to know where that line is so I loved that it was included in this book.
At the end of the book there are helpful Psalms and songs you can go through as you lament. There are even QR codes for Spotify playlists for individual wrestling and corporate lamenting which I thought was thoughtful to include.
Overall I would definitely recommend this book as it is a shorter yet very informative read that is full of faith and empathy.

I received a copy of this book from The Good Book Company in exchange for an honest review,

1 Feb 2024

“A much-needed book about biblical lament!”

If 1/3 of the psalms written for ancient corporate worship were psalms of lament, why are we so uncomfortable with being honest with the Lord in this way—both personally and corporately?

In this book, Clint Watkins does much more than just present a compelling case for the validity and necessity of biblical lament as a form or worship—he also lets the reader into the deepest, most painful season of his life and cracks open the door to his wrestling with the Lord there.

In two parts, he walks the reader through personal and corporate lament. After helping us gain a better understanding of lament, why it’s so vital to honest and healthy worship, and how it’s different from sinful grumbling, he shows us the importance of lament having space in our Sunday gatherings.

Whatever season you’re currently in, this book will serve as an incredible resource. It may be a balm for your weary, aching soul today. Or help prepare you for when suffering comes. Or equip you to “weep with those who weep.” Highly, highly recommend!

I received a copy of this book for free from The Good Book Company in exchange for this honest review.

1 Feb 2024

“Just Be Honest”

“How to worship through tears and pray without pretending” is what captured my attention quickly. It felt like a book that I needed this season and for future moments.

I read those words and felt the ache in my heart. The amount of times I have personally “pretended” is terrible.

I didn’t fully know what the contents were, but God did. He always knows. It was exactly what I needed to read. I don’t understand grief, but I understand depression and the abyss of it.

This book brought me to tears. Tears from my battles and tears for the author who aches for losing his son. Writing this review was hard, not because I didn’t like it, but because it hit many points in my life that I didn’t think would. I have not experienced the grief of losing someone close. I have lost pets and distant relatives, but not people whom I’m so close to. I have someone close who does have cancer and I have asked God why. I'm even on edge most days waiting for “the call.” is it premature grief? I don't know, but I do know this book is going to help me again when it comes. I used to think it was wrong to ask God questions, but more and more I’m learning. The author mentions writing laments. Psalm 13 will be my go-to as I weep for those who are aching.

A whole chapter for those like me who haven't fully understood sorrow and grief. That is a chapter I needed. I know people who ache and I will be reading that chapter a lot.

This is a book that you either rush through because it is so good or a book you’ll want to slowly read through because it hits you hard. Grab your bible. He walks through God's word so you’re reminded of the truth. Some parts are hard to hear.

Overall, I will be picking up again and again. It isn’t a one-time book. It is a book that will be referenced and recommended.

Thank you The Good Book Company for this complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

15 Jan 2024

“Comfort in Christ”

Does God care about our grief? In Just Be Honest, Clint Watkins explains how to worship through tears and pray without pretending. This book is bold and beautiful, and will teach you the lost language of lament.

Sadness, Anger, and Anxiety

Part 1 talks about being honest with God. Sadness, anger, anxiety are commonplace in the saints. The landscape of Scripture is littered with these stories. Watkins encourages you to wrestle with your faith.

I was most pleased to read that relational tension with the Lord can be resolved. There is hope. You can groan without grumbling. You can be sorrowful yet always rejoicing. Watkins shows you how, and helps you get there.

Comfort in Christ

Part 2 talks about being honest with others. This can be done by making space for sorrow in both personal and corporate worship. God does not want us to grieve alone. Watkins writes that we can share honestly, wisely, truthfully, and hopefully. And for those who can help, we can listen and learn to bear each other’s burdens.

This book will help you find your comfort in Christ. It will acknowledge your grief and give you the space to respond to God in a healthy and biblical way. It will teach you to trust him. You can really go to God in your grief and believe that he is good.

I received a media copy of Just Be Honest and this is my honest review.

14 Jan 2024


Just Be Honest" is a thought-provoking and comforting book that offers a fresh perspective on suffering and prayer. Clint Watkins' personal stories and biblical insights make this book relatable and accessible to readers from all walks of life. Whether you are currently going through a season of suffering or simply seeking a deeper understanding of how to approach God in times of pain, this book will provide valuable guidance and encouragement.

One of the key takeaways from this book is the importance of praying without pretending. Watkins encourages readers to be vulnerable with God, sharing their hurts and struggles honestly. By doing so, we can experience genuine hope and joy even in the midst of grief and pain.

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Just Be Honest | Clint Watkins |
£8.99 £7.64