let your eyes be open and your ears be attentive to hear your servant’s prayer that I now pray to you day and night for your servants, the Israelites. I confess the sins we have committed against you. Both I and my father’s family have sinned.
For he has not despised or abhorred the torment of the oppressed. He did not hide his face from him but listened when he cried to him for help.
So I turned my attention to the Lord God to seek him by prayer and petitions, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: Ah, Lord— the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps his gracious covenant with those who love him and keep his commands—we have sinned, done wrong, acted wickedly, rebelled, and turned away from your commands and ordinances.We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, leaders, ancestors, and all the people of the land.Lord, righteousness belongs to you, but this day public shame belongs to us: the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem, and all Israel— those who are near and those who are far, in all the countries where you have banished them because of the disloyalty they have shown toward you.LORD, public shame belongs to us, our kings, our leaders, and our ancestors, because we have sinned against you.Compassion and forgiveness belong to the Lord our God, though we have rebelled against himand have not obeyed the LORD our God by following his instructions that he set before us through his servants the prophets.All Israel has broken your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. The promised curse written in the law of Moses, the servant of God, has been poured out on us because we have sinned against him.He has carried out his words that he spoke against us and against our rulers by bringing on us a disaster that is so great that nothing like what has been done to Jerusalem has ever been done under all of heaven.Just as it is written in the law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquities and paying attention to your truth.So the LORD kept the disaster in mind and brought it on us, for the LORD our God is righteous in all he has done. But we have not obeyed him.Now, Lord our God— who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a strong hand and made your name renowned as it is this day— we have sinned, we have acted wickedly.Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, may your anger and wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors, Jerusalem and your people have become an object of ridicule to all those around us.Therefore, our God, hear the prayer and the petitions of your servant. Make your face shine on your desolate sanctuary for the Lord’s sake.Listen closely, my God, and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations and the city that bears your name. For we are not presenting our petitions before you based on our righteous acts, but based on your abundant compassion.Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and act! My God, for your own sake, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your name.While I was speaking, praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my petition before the LORD my God concerning the holy mountain of my God—while I was praying, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the first vision, reached me in my extreme weariness, about the time of the evening offering.
For I know the plans I have for you”— this is the LORD’s declaration—“ plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.I will be found by you”— this is the LORD’s declaration—“ and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you”— this is the LORD’s declaration.“ I will restore you to the place from which I deported you.”
For the needy will not always be forgotten; the hope of the oppressed will not perish forever.
For he will rescue the poor who cry out and the afflicted who have no helper.
Please, Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant and to that of your servants who delight to revere your name. Give your servant success today, and grant him compassion in the presence of this man. At the time, I was the king’s cupbearer.During the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was set before him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had never been sad in his presence,so the king said to me,“ Why do you look so sad, when you aren’t sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart.” I was overwhelmed with fearand replied to the king,“ May the king live forever! Why should I not be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”Then the king asked me,“ What is your request?” So I prayed to the God of the heavensand answered the king,“ If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor with you, send me to Judah and to the city where my ancestors are buried, so that I may rebuild it.”The king, with the queen seated beside him, asked me,“ How long will your journey take, and when will you return?” So I gave him a definite time, and it pleased the king to send me.I also said to the king,“ If it pleases the king, let me have letters written to the governors of the region west of the Euphrates River, so that they will grant me safe passage until I reach Judah.And let me have a letter written to Asaph, keeper of the king’s forest, so that he will give me timber to rebuild the gates of the temple’s fortress, the city wall, and the home where I will live.” The king granted my requests, for the gracious hand of my God was on me.
But from there, you will search for the LORD your God, and you will find him when you seek him with all your heart and all your soul.
The LORD will indeed vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants when he sees that their strength is gone and no one is left— slave or free.
Let their eyes grow too dim to see, and let their hips continually quake.