Readings from the Old Testament / Hebrew Scriptures
When the Hebrew people were slaves in Egypt, God heard their cries and called upon Moses to lead the people out of slavery.
The LORD said, “I have seen how cruelly my
people are being treated in Egypt; I have heard
them cry out to be rescued from their slave
drivers. I know all about their sufferings, and
so I have come down to rescue them from the
Egyptians and to bring them out of Egypt to a
spacious land, one which is rich and fertile.
I have indeed heard the cry of my people, and I
see how the Egyptians are oppressing them. Now
I am sending you to the king of Egypt so that you
can lead my people out of his country.”
In the 9th century B.C., when armies invaded the land of Judah, King Jehoshaphat prayed to the Lord for guidance.
From every city of Judah people hurried to Jerusalem to ask the LORD for guidance, and they and the people of Jerusalem gathered in the new courtyard of the Temple. King Jehoshaphat went and stood before them and prayed aloud, “O LORD God of our ancestors, you rule in heaven over all the nations of the world. You are powerful and mighty, and no one can oppose you. You are our God. When your people Israel moved into this land, you … gave the land to the descendants of Abraham, your friend, to be theirs forever. They have lived here and have built a temple to honor you, knowing that if any disaster struck them to punish them – a war, an epidemic, or a famine – then they could come and stand in front of this Temple where you are worshiped. They could pray to you in their trouble, and you would hear them and rescue them.
2 Chronicles 20.4-9
The prophet Jonah disobeyed God’s command. He tried to flee by boarding a ship bound for Spain. A storm arose, and Jonah was cast into the sea and was swallowed by a large fish. In his distress, Jonah called out to God.
From deep inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God:
“In my distress, O LORD, I called to you, and you answered me.
From deep in the world of the dead I cried for help, and you heard me.
You threw me down into the depths, to the very bottom of the sea,
where the waters were all around me, and all your mighty waves rolled over me.
I thought I had been banished from your presence and would never see your holy Temple again.
The psalm writers called out to God, knowing that God would listen to their cries.
Listen to my words, O LORD, and hear my sighs.
Listen to my cry for help, my God and king!
I pray to you, O LORD; you hear my voice in the morning;
at sunrise I offer my prayer and wait for your answer.
The danger of death was< around me,and the grave set its trap for me.
In my trouble I called to the LORD; I called to my God for help.
In his temple he heard my voice; he listened to my cry for help.
Psalm 18.5, 6
It was you who brought me safely through birth,
and when I was a baby, you kept me safe.
I have relied on you since the day I was born,
and you have always been my God. Do not stay away from me!
Trouble is near, and there is no one to help.
Hear me, LORD, when I call to you! Be merciful and answer me!
When you said, “Come worship me,” I answered, “I will come, Lord.”
Don’t hide yourself from me!
Don’t be angry with me; don’t turn your servant away.
You have been my help; don’t leave me, don’t abandon me, O God, my savior.
My father and mother may abandon me, but the LORD will take care of me.
I am surrounded by many troubles –too many to count!
My sins have caught up with me, and I can no longer see;
they are more than the hairs of my head,and I have lost my courage.
Save me, LORD! Help me now!
As for me, I will pray to you, LORD;
answer me, God, at a time you choose.
Answer me because of your great love,
because you keep your promise to save.
Save me from sinking in the mud;
keep me safe from my enemies,
safe from the deep water.
Don’t let the flood come over me;
don’t let me drown in the depths
or sink into the grave.
Answer me, LORD,
in the goodness of your constant love;
in your great compassion turn to me!
Don’t hide yourself from your servant;
I am in great trouble – answer me now!
Come to me and save me;
rescue me from my enemies.
Listen to me, LORD, and answer me, for I am helpless and weak.
Save me from death, because I am loyal to you;
save me, for I am your servant and I trust in you.
You are my God, so be merciful to me; I pray to you all day long.
Make your servant glad, O Lord, because my prayers go up to you.
You are good to us and forgiving, full of constant love for all who pray to you.
Listen, LORD, to my prayer; hear my cries for help.
I call to you in times of trouble, because you answer my prayers.