I am alone, Lord, and have no-one but you


Queen Esther took refuge with the Lord in the mortal peril which had overtaken her. She besought the Lord God of Israel in these words:


‘My Lord, our King, the only one,

come to my help, for I am alone

and have no helper but you

and am about to take my life in my hands.


‘I have been taught from my earliest years, in the bosom of my family,

that you, Lord, chose

Israel out of all the nations

and our ancestors out of all the people of old times

to be your heritage for ever;

and that you have treated them as you promised.


‘Remember, Lord; reveal yourself

in the time of our distress.


‘As for me, give me courage,

King of gods and master of all power.

Put persuasive words into my mouth

when I face the lion;

change his feeling into hatred for our enemy,

that the latter and all like him may be brought to their end.


‘As for ourselves, save us by your hand,

and come to my help, for I am alone

and have no one but you, Lord.’

Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find


Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. Is there a man among you who would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or would hand him a snake when he asked for a fish? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.’

The Ninevites repent, and God spares them


The word of the Lord was addressed to Jonah: ‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to them as I told you to.’ Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare: it took three days to cross it. Jonah went on into the city, making a day’s journey. He preached in these words, ‘Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.’ And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least. The news reached the king of Nineveh, who rose from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth and sat down in ashes. A proclamation was then promulgated throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his ministers, as follows: ‘Men and beasts, herds and flocks, are to taste nothing; they must not eat, they must not drink water. All are to put on sackcloth and call on God with all their might; and let everyone renounce his evil behaviour and the wicked things he has done. Who knows if God will not change his mind and relent, if he will not renounce his burning wrath, so that we do not perish?’ God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour, and God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.