121 Days of Prayer
They Sang, Praising and Giving Thanks to the Lord
The purposes of this prayer are: Glorify God/Worship, Gratitude and Lovingkindness.
Everlasting God, after the Persians defeated the Babylonians, Cyrus, the king of Persia, allowed the Israelites that had been taken captive by the Babylonians to return to Judah to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. All the Israelites that returned to Jerusalem from exile gathered to celebrate when the foundation for the temple was completed. Many of the Israelites rejoiced at the progress made, but some of the old men who remembered the first temple greatly lamented the modest effort, comparing it to the size and grandeur of Solomon’s temple, and wailed loudly: “They sang, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, ‘For he is good, for his lovingkindness is upon Israel forever.’ And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away.” Ezra 3:11–13 (NASB). Gracious Lord, we can somewhat understand the disappointment expressed by the old men at the seeming inadequacy of the temple foundation, while wondering at the same time why overwhelming gratitude and happiness did not greatly outweigh their grief. The old men did not seem to appreciate the magnificent blessing they had received in being released from captivity and witnessing the rebuilding of the temple in their lifetime. They chose to wallow in the sadness at what they had lost, rather than to worship you with gratitude for the great gift you had restored to them. Father, let us never lose sight of the great gift you have given us in the salvation we receive through faith in your Son, Jesus, no matter what tribulations we might have to endure in our lives. We ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.