1 Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you; *
hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.
2 Incline your ear to me; *
when I call, make haste to answer me,
3 For my days drift away like smoke, *
and my bones are hot as burning coals.
4 My heart is smitten like grass and withered, *
so that I forget to eat my bread.
5 Because of the voice of my groaning *
I am but skin and bones.
6 I have become like a vulture in the wilderness, *
like an owl among the ruins.
7 I lie awake and groan; *
I am like a sparrow, lonely on a house-top.
8 My enemies revile me all day long, *
and those who scoff at me have taken an oath against me.
9 For I have eaten ashes for bread *
and mingled my drink with weeping.
10 Because of your indignation and wrath *
you have lifted me up and thrown me away.
11 My days pass away like a shadow, *
and I wither like the grass.
12 But you, O Lord, endure for ever, *
and your Name from age to age.
13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to have mercy upon her; *
indeed, the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants love her very rubble, *
and are moved to pity even for her dust.
15 The nations shall fear your Name, O Lord, *
and all the kings of the earth your glory.
16 For the Lord will build up Zion, *
and his glory will appear.
17 He will look with favor on the prayer of the homeless; *
he will not despise their plea.
18 Let this be written for a future generation, *
so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord.
19 For the Lord looked down from his holy place on high; *
from the heavens he beheld the earth;
20 That he might hear the groan of the captive *
and set free those condemned to die;
21 That they may declare in Zion the Name of the Lord, *
and his praise in Jerusalem;
22 When the peoples are gathered together, *
and the kingdoms also, to serve the Lord.
23 He has brought down my strength before my time; *
he has shortened the number of my days;
24 And I said, “O my God,
do not take me away in the midst of my days; *
your years endure throughout all generations.
25 In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations
of the earth, *
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
26 They 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;
27 But you are always the same, *
and your years will never end.
28 The children of your servants shall continue, *
and their offspring shall stand fast in your sight.”
A Prayer For Mission
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hardwood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.
Image: Wheat Field with Cypresses (1889), Vincent van Gogh
Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Open Access Collection: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/436535