1Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you; *
hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.
2Incline your ear to me; *
when I call, make haste to answer me,
3For my days drift away like smoke, *
and my bones are hot as burning coals.
4My heart is smitten like grass and withered, *
so that I forget to eat my bread.
5Because of the voice of my groaning *
I am but skin and bones.
6I have become like a vulture in the wilderness, *
like an owl among the ruins.
7I lie awake and groan; *
I am like a sparrow, lonely on a house-top.
8My enemies revile me all day long, *
and those who scoff at me have taken an oath against me.
9For I have eaten ashes for bread *
and mingled my drink with weeping.
10Because of your indignation and wrath *
you have lifted me up and thrown me away.
11My days pass away like a shadow, *
and I wither like the grass.
12But you, O Lord, endure for ever, *
and your Name from age to age.
13You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to have mercy upon her; *
indeed, the appointed time has come.
14For your servants love her very rubble, *
and are moved to pity even for her dust.
15The nations shall fear your Name, O Lord, *
and all the kings of the earth your glory.
16For the Lord will build up Zion, *
and his glory will appear.
17He will look with favor on the prayer of the homeless; *
he will not despise their plea.
18Let this be written for a future generation, *
so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord.
19For the Lord looked down from his holy place on high; *
from the heavens he beheld the earth;
20That he might hear the groan of the captive *
and set free those condemned to die;
21That they may declare in Zion the Name of the Lord, *
and his praise in Jerusalem;
22When the peoples are gathered together, *
and the kingdoms also, to serve the Lord.
23He has brought down my strength before my time; *
he has shortened the number of my days;
24And I said, “O my God,
do not take me away in the midst of my days; *
your years endure throughout all generations.
25In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations
of the earth, *
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
26They shall perish, but you will endure;
they all shall wear out like a garment; *
as clothing you will change them,
and they shall be changed;
27But you are always the same, *
and your years will never end.
28The children of your servants shall continue, *
and their offspring shall stand fast in your sight.”
A Collect for the Renewal of Life
O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Image Credit: Owl and Two Swallows, Utagawa Toyohiro
Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Open Access Collection – https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/56109