It was now the first year of the reign of King Darius, the son of Shasuerus. (Darius was a Mede but became king of the Chaldeans.) In that first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from the book of Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years. So I earnestly pleaded with the Lord God [to end our captivity and send us back to our own land].
As I prayed, I fasted, and wore rough sackcloth, and sprinkled myself with ashes, and confessed my sins and those of my people.
“O Lord,” I prayed, “you are a great and awesome God; you always fulfill your promises of mercy to those who love you and keep your laws. But we have sinned so much; we have rebelled against you and scorned your commands. We have refused to listen to your servants the prophets, whom you sent again and again down through the years, with your messages to our kings and princes and to all the people.
O Lord, you are righteous; but as for us, we are always shamefaced with sin, just as you see us now; yes, all of us–the men of Judah, the people of Jerusalem, and all Israel, scattered near and far wherever you have driven us because of our disloyalty to you. O Lord, we and our kings and princes and fathers are weighted down with shame because of all our sins.
But the Lord our God is merciful, and pardons even those who have rebelled against him.
O Lord our God, we have disobeyed you; we have flouted all the laws you gave us through your servants, the prophets. All Israel has disobeyed; we have turned away from you and haven’t listened to your voice. And so the awesome curse of God has crushed us–the curse written in the law of Moses your servant. And you have done exactly as you warned us you would do, for never in all history has there been a disaster like what happened at Jerusalem to us and our rulers. Every curse against us written in the law of Moses has come true; all the evils he predicted–all have come. But even so we still refuse to satisfy the Lord our God by turning from our sins and doing right.
And so the Lord deliberately crushed us with the calamity he prepared; he is fair in everything he does, but we would not obey. O Lord our God, you brought lasting honor to your name by removing your people from Egypt in a great display of power. LORD, DO IT AGAIN! Though we have sinned so much and are full of wickedness, yet because of all your faithful mercies, Lord, please turn away your furious anger from Jerusalem, your own city, your holy mountain. For the heathen mock at you because your city lies in ruins for our sins.
O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead! Let your face shine again with peace and joy upon your desolate sanctuary–for your own glory, Lord.
O my God, bend down your ear and listen to my plea. Open your eyes and see our wretchedness, how your city lies in ruins–for everyone knows that it is yours. We don’t ask because we merit help, but because you are so merciful despite our grievous sins.
O Lord, hear, O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen to me and act! Don’t delay–for your own sake, O my God, because your people and your city bear your name.”