A prayer of a suffering person who has become weak. They pour out their problems to the Lord.
1 Lord, hear my prayer.
Listen to my cry for help.
2 Don’t turn your face away from me
when I’m in trouble.
Pay attention to me.
When I call out for help, answer me quickly.
3 My days are disappearing like smoke.
My body burns like glowing coals.
4 My strength has dried up like grass.
I even forget to eat my food.
5 I groan out loud because of my suffering.
I’m nothing but skin and bones.
6 I’m like a desert owl.
I’m like an owl among destroyed buildings.
7 I can’t sleep. I’ve become
like a bird alone on a roof.
8 All day long my enemies laugh at me.
Those who make fun of me use my name as a curse.
9 I eat ashes as my food.
My tears fall into what I’m drinking.
10 You were very angry with me.
So you picked me up and threw me away.
11 The days of my life are like an evening shadow.
I dry up like grass.
12 But Lord, you are seated on your throne forever.
Your fame will continue for all time to come.
13 You will rise up and show deep concern for Zion.
The time has come for you to help Zion.
14 The stones of your destroyed city are priceless to us.
Even its dust brings deep concern to us.
15 The nations will worship the Lord.
All the kings on earth will respect his glorious power.
16 The Lord will build Zion again.
He will appear in his glory.
17 He will answer the prayer of those who don’t have anything.
He won’t say no to their cry for help.
18 Let this be written down for those born after us.
Then people who are not yet born can praise the Lord.
19 Here is what should be written.
“The Lord looked down from his temple in heaven.
From heaven he viewed the earth.
20 He heard the groans of the prisoners.
He set free those who were sentenced to death.”
21 So people will talk about him in Zion.
They will praise him in Jerusalem.
22 Nations and kingdoms
will gather there to worship the Lord.
23 When I was still young, he took away my strength.
He wasn’t going to let me live much longer.
24 So I said, “My God, don’t let me die in the middle of my life.
You will live for all time to come.
25 In the beginning you made the earth secure.
You placed it on its foundations.
Your hands created the heavens.
26 They will pass away. But you will remain.
They will all wear out like a piece of clothing.
You will make them like clothes
that are taken off and thrown away.
27 But you remain the same.
Your years will never end.
28 Our children will live with you.
Their sons and daughters will be safe in your care.”
A Prayer of One Whose Life Is Falling to Pieces, and Who Lets God Know Just How Bad It Is
11-2 God, listen! Listen to my prayer,
listen to the pain in my cries.
Don’t turn your back on me
just when I need you so desperately.
Pay attention! This is a cry for help!
And hurry—this can’t wait!
3-11 I’m wasting away to nothing,
I’m burning up with fever.
I’m a ghost of my former self,
half-consumed already by terminal illness.
My jaws ache from gritting my teeth;
I’m nothing but skin and bones.
I’m like a buzzard in the desert,
a crow perched on the rubble.
Insomniac, I twitter away,
mournful as a sparrow in the gutter.
All day long my enemies taunt me,
while others just curse.
They bring in meals—casseroles of ashes!
I draw drink from a barrel of my tears.
And all because of your furious anger;
you swept me up and threw me out.
There’s nothing left of me—
a withered weed, swept clean from the path.
12-17 Yet you, God, are sovereign still,
always and ever sovereign.
You’ll get up from your throne and help Zion—
it’s time for compassionate help.
Oh, how your servants love this city’s rubble
and weep with compassion over its dust!
The godless nations will sit up and take notice
—see your glory, worship your name—
When God rebuilds Zion,
when he shows up in all his glory,
When he attends to the prayer of the wretched.
He won’t dismiss their prayer.
18-22 Write this down for the next generation
so people not yet born will praise God:
“God looked out from his high holy place;
from heaven he surveyed the earth.
He listened to the groans of the doomed,
he opened the doors of their death cells.”
Write it so the story can be told in Zion,
so God’s praise will be sung in Jerusalem’s streets
And wherever people gather together
along with their rulers to worship him.
23-28 God sovereignly brought me to my knees,
he cut me down in my prime.
“Oh, don’t,” I prayed, “please don’t let me die.
You have more years than you know what to do with!
You laid earth’s foundations a long time ago,
and handcrafted the very heavens;
You’ll still be around when they’re long gone,
threadbare and discarded like an old suit of clothes.
You’ll throw them away like a worn-out coat,
but year after year you’re as good as new.
Your servants’ children will have a good place to live
and their children will be at home with you.”