A Prayer for Mercy

51 Keep in mind, O Lord, what has come to us: take note and see our shame. 2 Our heritage is given up to men of strange lands, our houses to those who are not our countrymen. 3 We are children without fathers, our mothers are like widows. 4 We give money for a drink of water, we get our wood for a price. 5 Our attackers are on our necks: overcome with weariness, we have no rest. 6 We have given our hands to the Egyptians and to the Assyrians so that we might have enough bread. 7 Our fathers were sinners and are dead; and the weight of their evil-doing is on us. 8 Servants are ruling over us, and there is no one to make us free from their hands. 9 We put our lives in danger to get our bread, because of the sword of the waste land. 10 Our skin is heated like an oven because of our burning heat from need of food. 11 They took by force the women in Zion, the virgins in the towns of Judah. 12 Their hands put princes to death by hanging: the faces of old men were not honoured. 13 The young men were crushing the grain, and the boys were falling under the wood. 14 The old men are no longer seated in the doorway, and the music of the young men has come to an end. 15 The joy of our hearts is ended; our dancing is changed into sorrow. 16 The crown has been taken from our head: sorrow is ours, for we are sinners.

17 Because of this our hearts are feeble; for these things our eyes are dark; 18 Because of the mountain of Zion which is a waste; jackals go over it. 19 You, O Lord, are seated as King for ever; the seat of your power is eternal. 20 Why have we gone from your memory for ever? why have you been turned away from us for so long? 21 Make us come back to you, O Lord, and let us be turned; make our days new again as in the past. 22 But you have quite given us up; you are full of wrath against us.