The prayer of Habakkuk (Hab 3:1-3:1)

“A prayer

Of Habakkuk,

The prophet,

According to Shigionoth.”

This last chapter is clearly a prayer or hymn of Habakkuk the prophet.  Like the psalms attributed to David, it may not have been written by him, but inspired by Habakkuk.  They were to sing this using the melody of Shigionoth or a lamentation.  Thus, this hymn or prayer may have been used in their worship services.

The prayer of the high priest Simon (Sir 50:22-50:24)

“Now bless

The God of all!

He works everywhere!

What great wonders!

He fosters our growth

From birth!

He deals with us

According to his mercy!

May he give us

Gladness of heart!

May there be peace

In our days in Israel!

As in the days of old!

May he entrust to us

His mercy!

May he deliver us

In our days!”

Sirach then inserts the prayer of Simon, the high priest. Simon prays that the God of all will bless the Israelites. God works great wonders. This merciful God fosters our growth from birth. He gladdens our heart. May he bring peace to Israel today and deliver Israel from its enemies, as in the old days. Thus it is a simple straightforward prayer for mercy today.

The great prayer of King David (1 Chr 17:16-17:22)

“Then King David went in and sat before Yahweh, and said.

‘Who am I, O Yahweh, God?

What is my house that you have brought me this far?

Even this was a small thing in your sight, O God.

You have also spoken of your servant’s house for a great while to come.

You regard me as someone of high rank.

O Yahweh God!

What more can David say to you for honoring your servant?

For you know your servant,

For your servants sake, O Yahweh!

According to your own heart,

You have done all these great deeds,

Making known all these great things.

There is no one like you, O Yahweh.

There is no God besides you,

According to all that we have heard with our ears.

Who is like your people, like Israel?

One nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people,

Making for yourself a name for great and terrible things,

In driving out nations before your people,

Whom you redeemed from Egypt?

You made your people Israel to be your people forever.

You, O Yahweh became their God.”

This is a long stirring prayer ascribed to King David based on 2 Samuel, chapter 7. David was both thankful and hopeful. He was sitting before Yahweh. I assume that this is in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant. He spoke directly to Yahweh. He called him Yahweh, God. There was no one like Yahweh and what he has done for his people. It is a kind of nationalistic prayer for his people. Also he is thankful to Yahweh for choosing him as his humble servant. King David seems to recognize and be thankful for the hand of Yahweh in his life. He never boasts of doing things on his own. King David got his courage from Yahweh.