Ezra was deeply distressed and appalled because of the sin the people were entrenched in. The tearing of clothes and pulling out hair were outward signs of inner turmoil and despair. Before Ezra prays he humbles himself by his posture. He kneels before God with his hands held high. Doing this symbolized that his need for God is great. When he prays, he is all inclusive. He doesn’t say they, but includes himself as part of the problem. Although he was innocent of the sin he was confessing. When one sins, they all sin; when one is guilty, they all are guilty. Then he begins his prayer with acknowledging their sins and the sins of their forefathers; generational sins. Notice how he doesn’t blame God for anything, but takes full responsibility for the state they are in and that it is their own fault. Also, he is not blaming past generations or other nations for hardship they are in. He is simply acknowledging that the people now are no better than past generations.(for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God).
Next, Ezra remembers God’s faithfulness to an unfaithful people. He’s speaking of God’s kindness. Again recounts the people’s sin and what God had said about it. Ezra is mortified over the people’s sin and realized that God’s mercies are great and never ending.
Lord, teach us, Your people how to pray. Come Holy Spirit lead us into intercession for our families, the church, Your people, our country. Bring to our remembrance Your unfailing mercies and grace, Your never ending faithfulness, and Your unconditional love. Lord, God of Israel, be glorified in our lives; the lives of Your people. We love You, and thank You for Your Word.