A prayer of the afflicted
Hear me, O God, nor hide Thy face;
But answer, lest I die;
Hast Thou not built a throne of grace
To hear when sinners cry?
My days are wasted like the smoke
Dissolving in the air;
My strength is dried, my heart is broke,
And sinking in despair.
My spirits flag like withering grass
Burnt with excessive heat;
In secret groans my minutes pass,
And I forget to eat.
As on some lonely building’s top
The sparrow tells her moan,
Far from the tents of joy and hope
I sit and grieve alone.
My soul is like a wilderness
Where beasts of midnight howl;
There the sad raven finds her place
And there the screaming owl.
Dark, dismal thoughts, and boding fears,
Dwell in my troubled breast;
While sharp reproaches wound my ears,
Nor give my spirit rest.
My cup is mingled with my woes,
And tears are my repast;
My daily bread like ashes grows
Unpleasant to my taste.
Sense can afford no real joy
To souls that feel Thy frown;
Lord, ’twas Thy hand advanced me high
Thy hand hath cast me down.
My looks like withered leaves appear;
And life’s declining light
Grows faint as evening shadows are,
That vanish into night.
But Thou for ever art the same,
O my eternal God;
Ages to come shall know Thy name,
And spread Thy works abroad.
Thou wilt arise and show Thy face,
Nor will my Lord delay
Beyond th’appointed hour of grace,
That long-expected day.
He hears His saints, He knows their cry,
And by mysterious ways
Redeems the prisoners doomed to die,
And fills their tongues with praise.