From Tears to Praise
A prayer for those who are overwhelmed and for all the discouraged who come to pour out their hearts before the Lord # 102 As translated from the Septuagint.
1Lord, listen to my prayer! Listen to my cry for help!
2You can’t hide your face from me in the day of my distress.
Stoop down to hear my prayer and answer me quickly, Lord!
3-4For my days of happiness have gone up in smoke.
My body is raging with fever, my heart is sick,
and I’m consumed by this illness—
withered like a dead leaf. I can’t even eat.
5I’m nothing but skin and bones.
Nothing’s left of me but whispered groans.
6I’m like a pelican of the wilderness, # 102:6 Ancient expositors viewed the “pelican in the wilderness” as a reference to Christ. The famous legend and much medieval artwork taught that the pelican would give the gift of blood to her starving young by piercing her own breast with her beak, allowing her young to drink her blood and live. What an amazing example of sacrificial love. Augustine writes concerning this: “The mother wounds herself deeply and pours forth her blood over her young, bathed in which they recover life.” See Augustine, “Exposition on the Book of Psalms,” in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, ed. A. Cleveland Coxe and Philip Schaff (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1955), 8:497.
like an owl among the ruins.
7I’m sleepless, shivering in the cold, forlorn, and friendless,
like a lonely bird on the rooftop.
8My every enemy mocks and insults me incessantly.
They even use my name as a curse to speak over others!
9-10Because of your great and furious anger against me,
all I do is suffer with sorrow,
with nothing to eat but a meal of mourning. # 102:9–10 Or “I eat ashes as if they were bread.” Ashes speak of mourning, for mourners would often throw dust and ashes over their heads.
My crying fills my cup with salty tears!
In your wrath you have rejected me,
sweeping me away like dirt on the floor.
11My days are marked by the lengthening shadows of death.
I’m withering away and there’s nothing left of me.
12But then I remember that you, O Lord,
still sit enthroned as King over all!
The fame of your name will be revealed to every generation.
13I know you are about to arise and show your tender love to Zion.
Now is the time, Lord,
for your compassion and mercy to be poured out—
the appointed time has come
for your prophetic promises to be fulfilled!
14For your servants weep in sympathy over Zion’s ruins
and feel love for her every stone.
15When you arise to intervene,
all the nations and kings will be stunned
and will fear your awesome name, trembling before your glory!
16Yes, you will reveal yourself to Zion
and appear in the brightness of your glory
to restore her and give her children.
17He responds to the prayer of the poor and broken
and will not despise the cry of the homeless.
18Write all this down for the coming generation,
so re-created people # 102:18 Or “those born anew [re-created].” will read it and praise the Lord!
19Tell them how Yah # 102:19 Taken from Yahweh. Yah is often used as the name of the God of Power. looked down from his high and holy place,
gazing from his glory to survey the earth.
20He listened to all the groaning of his people longing to be free,
and he set loose the sons of death to experience life.
21Multitudes will stream to Jerusalem to
praise the Lord and declare his name in Zion!
22Peoples from every land, their kings and kingdoms,
will gather together to worship the Lord.
23But God has brought me to my knees, shortening my life.
24So I cry out to you, my God, Father of eternity,
please don’t let me die!
I know my life is not yet finished.
25With your hands you once formed the foundations of the earth
and handcrafted the heavens above.
26-27They will all fade away one day like worn-out clothing,
ready to be discarded, but you’ll still be here.
You will replace it all!
Your first creation will be changed,
but you alone will endure, the God of all eternity!
28Generation after generation our descendants will live securely,
for you are the one protecting us, keeping us for yourself.