The Prayer of Azariah
1 # Dn 3.23. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah#1 Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Their Hebrew names; they were also known by the Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (see Daniel 1.6,7). walked around in the flames, singing praises to the Lord God. 2Then Azariah stood still and prayed out loud:
3You, Lord God of our ancestors,
are worthy to be praised,
and your name
should be honored forever.
4Everything you do is right;
your decisions bring justice.
5You were right to punish us
and to destroy holy Jerusalem,
the city of our ancestors.
Our people have sinned;
6we have broken all your laws
and turned away from you.
7We have disobeyed,
even though your commands
were for our own good.
8You were right to punish us
9and to let us be conquered
by our hateful enemies.
They refuse to obey your Law,
and the most evil king on earth
is their ruler.
10They insult us, your servants.
We are a disgrace
and have no excuse.
But we worship and obey you.
11Please, Lord, for the sake
of your reputation,
keep your agreement with us,
and someday set us free.
12You loved Abraham;
Isaac obeyed you,
and you chose Jacob.#12 Jacob: Greek “Israel,” another name for Jacob, one of the great ancestors of the nation of Israel.
For their sakes, don't take
your mercy from us.
13You promised to give them
more descendants
than there are stars in the sky
or grains of sand on a beach.
14But we sinned,
and so we have become
the smallest nation.
We are ashamed
15because we have no rulers,
no prophets, no leaders.
We have no incense, no altar,
and no sacrifices to please you
or to ask for your mercy.
16But if we are humble
and truly sorry for our sins,
17you will accept us
as if we had offered
a thousand rams and bulls
and ten thousand fat lambs.
You never disappoint those
who trust you, Lord.
We want to be your followers,#17 We want to be your followers: One possible meaning for the difficult Greek text.
so please answer our prayer.
18We promise with all our hearts
to worship and obey you
and to continue praying.
19So please be patient with us
and show us your mercy.
20Work a miracle and rescue us,
so that you, Lord,
will be honored.
21We, your servants, pray
that those who have harmed us
will be disgraced;
crush their mighty power
so they will fail.
22Show them that you alone
are the glorious Lord God,
the Ruler of all the earth.
An Angel Comes into the Fire
23 # 3 Macc 6.6. After the king's servants threw Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah into the furnace, the servants kept tossing in oil, tar, dried flax plants, and small pieces of firewood. 24The flames blazed up 22 meters above the furnace, 25and they also shot out from the furnace and burned the Babylonians who were standing nearby. 26#Tb 5.4. But one of the Lord's angels came down into the furnace to protect Azariah and his two friends. The angel forced the flames out of the furnace, 27so that the inside of the furnace felt as if a cool breeze were blowing. The fire didn't touch the three men at all, and it caused them no pain or trouble.
The Song of the Three Hebrews
28Then Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah praised God together in the furnace, and they sang:
29You, Lord God of our ancestors,
are always worthy
to be praised.
30Your glorious and holy name
will always deserve
the greatest honor.
31So let songs of praise
be sung in your holy temple
for all time.
* 32There, from your throne
above the winged creatures,
33you watch everything on earth
and rule the world
with glory and majesty.
We pray that your praises
will be sung forever.
34And age after age
in the starry skies,
songs will be sung
to honor you.
Sing Praises to the Lord
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah continued to sing:
35All of creation
should sing praises
to the Lord forever.
* 36#Gn 1.6-8; 2 Esd 6.41. Everything in the heavens
and the water above the sky
* 37should sing praises
to the Lord forever.
* 38The angels and the rulers
in the heavens
39should sing praises
to the Lord forever.
* 40The sun, the moon,
41and the stars
should sing praises
to the Lord forever.
* 42The wind and the rain
43and the dew,
* 44as well as the freezing snow,
* 45and the fiery heat
46should sing praises
to the Lord forever.
* 47The dark of night
and the light of day
48should sing praises
to the Lord forever.
* 49The frost and snow,
* 50the icy cold,
51and the thunderstorms
should sing praises
to the Lord forever.#42-51 forever: Some Greek manuscripts and ancient translations put these verses in different orders.
52Everything on this earth
should sing praises
to the Lord forever.
* 53The mountains and hills
54and all trees and plants
should sing praises
to the Lord forever.
* 55The springs and rivers,
* 56together with the oceans
57and every sea creature,
whether large or small,
should sing praises
to the Lord forever.
* 58Each bird in the sky,
59and every animal,
wild or tame,
should sing praises
to the Lord forever.
60Every human should sing praises
to the Lord forever,
* 61especially his priests
62and his chosen people.
* 63We humans should be humble
* 64and obey the Lord
65with all our heart and soul,
and we should sing praises
to him forever.
66The three of us—
Hananiah, Azariah,
and Mishael—
should sing praises
to the Lord forever,
because if he hadn't rescued us,
we would have died
in a flaming furnace
and gone down
to the world of the dead.
67So praise the Lord
for his goodness,
and praise him for his mercy,
because it will never end.
68Everyone who worships the Lord,
the Supreme God,
should sing his praises
and thank him for his mercy,
because it will never end.