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A prayer for remembrance and restoration

1REMEMBER, LORD, what has befallen us; look, and see how we are scorned.

2The land we possessed is turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners.

3We are like orphans, without a father; our mothers are like widows.

4We have to buy water to drink, water which is ours; our own wood can be had only for payment.

5The yoke is on our necks, we are harassed; we are weary, but allowed no rest.

6We came to terms, now with Egypt, now with Assyria, to provide us with food.

7Our forefathers sinned; now they are no more, and we must bear the burden of their guilt.

8Slaves have become our rulers, and there is no one to free us from their power.

9We must bring in our food from the wilderness at the risk of our lives in the scorching heat.

10Our skins are blackened as in a furnace by the ravages of starvation.

11Women were raped in Zion, virgins ravished in the towns of Judah.

12Princes were hung up by their hands; elders received no respect.

13Young men toil, grinding at the mill; boys stagger under loads of wood.

14Old men have left off their sessions at the city gate; young men no longer pluck the strings.

15Joy has vanished from our hearts; our dancing is turned to mourning.

16The garlands have fallen from our heads. Woe to us, sinners that we are!

17This is why we are sick at heart; all this is why our eyes grow dim:

18Mount Zion is desolate and overrun with jackals.

19LORD, your reign is for ever, your throne endures from age to age.

20Why do you forget us so completely and forsake us these many days?

21LORD, turn us back to you, and we shall come back; renew our days as in times long past.

22But you have utterly rejected us; your anger against us has been great indeed.

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