A Prayer for Mercy
1Remember, O LORD, what has happened to us.
Look at us, and see our disgrace.
2Our property is in the hands of strangers;
foreigners are living in our homes.
3Our fathers have been killed by the enemy,
and now our mothers are widows.
4We must pay for the water we drink;
we must buy the wood we need for fuel.
5Driven hard like donkeys or camels,
we are tired, but are allowed no rest.
6To get food enough to stay alive,
we went begging to Egypt and Assyria.
7Our ancestors sinned, but now they are gone,
and we are suffering for their sins.
8We are ruled by those who are no better than slaves,
and no one can save us from their power.
9Murderers roam through the countryside;
we risk our lives when we look for food.
10Hunger has made us burn with fever,
until our skin is as hot as an oven.
11Our wives have been raped on Mount Zion itself;
in every Judean village our daughters have been forced to submit.
12Our leaders have been taken and hanged;
our elders are shown no respect.
13Our young men are forced to grind corn like slaves;
boys go staggering under heavy loads of wood.
14The old people no longer sit at the city gate,
and the young people no longer make music.
15Happiness has gone out of our lives;
grief has taken the place of our dances.
16Nothing is left of all we were proud of.
We sinned, and now we are doomed.
17We are sick at our very hearts
and can hardly see through our tears,
18because Mount Zion lies lonely and deserted,
and wild jackals prowl through its ruins.
19But you, O LORD, are king for ever,
and will rule to the end of time.
20Why have you abandoned us so long?
Will you ever remember us again?
21Bring us back to you, LORD! Bring us back!
Restore our ancient glory.
22Or have you rejected us for ever?
Is there no limit to your anger?