A prayer for the mercy of God: recounting the shortness and miseries of the days of man.

1 A prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, thou hast been our refuge from generation to generation. 2 Before the mountains were made, or the earth and the world was formed; from eternity and to eternity thou art God. 3 Turn not man away to be brought low: and thou hast said: Be converted, O ye sons of men. 4 For a thousand years in thy sight are as yesterday, which is past. And as a watch in the night, 5 Things that are counted nothing, shall their years be.

6 In the morning man shall grow up like grass; in the morning he shall flourish and pass away: in the evening he shall fall, grow dry, and wither. 7 For in thy wrath we have fainted away: and are troubled in thy indignation. 8 Thou hast set our iniquities before thy eyes: our life in the light of thy countenance. 9 For all our days are spent; and in thy wrath we have fainted away. Our years shall be considered as a spider: 10 The days of our years in them are threescore and ten years. But if in the strong they be fourscore years: and what is more of them is labour and sorrow. For mildness is come upon us: and we shall be corrected.

11 Who knoweth the power of thy anger, and for thy fear 12 Can number thy wrath? So make thy right hand known: and men learned in heart, in wisdom. 13 Return, O Lord, how long? and be entreated in favour of thy servants. 14 We are filled in the morning with thy mercy: and we have rejoiced, and are delighted all our days. 15 We have rejoiced for the days in which thou hast humbled us: for the years in which we have seen evils.

16 Look upon thy servants and upon their works: and direct their children. 17 And let the brightness of the Lord our God be upon us: and direct thou the works of our hands over us; yea, the work of our hands do thou direct.


[3] “Turn not man away”: Suffer him not quite to perish from thee, since thou art pleased to call upon him to be converted to thee.

[9] “As a spider”: As frail and weak as a spider’s web; and miserable withal, whilst like a spider we spend our bowels in weaving webs to catch flies.

[10] “Mildness is come upon us”: God’s mildness corrects us; inasmuch as he deals kindly with us, in shortening the days of this miserable life; and so weaning our affections from all its transitory enjoyments, and teaching us true wisdom.

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