Throughout this series we have joined some of our favorite biblical characters in the prayers they once prayed and which God has preserved for us in the Scriptures. As you ponder the variety of prayers from the Great Prayer Book, the Psalms, be enveloped by each word as if it was written directly to and for you…because in fact they were and are a gift from God for you. Praying the Scriptures in this way will bring health and vitality to your heart and soul, and great liberty to your life of prayer.
On the heels of David’s great season of sinfulness – lusting after Bathsheba, committing adultery, seeking to hide his sin, even setting up the death of his faithful soldier Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband), and then lying about it all – Nathan the prophet confronts King David and he finally comes clean of his sinfulness. In psalm 51 we witness the pouring out of his heart before God in full confession and with an earnest desire for cleansing, forgiveness and full restoration. It’s one of the most beautiful psalms in the entire psalter, rich with poetic language of prayerful submission before Almighty God. Even though the sin was against a woman, her husband, and his earthly dynasty, David cries out to God for forgiveness, for its primarily against God that he sinned the most. All others are victims of his sinfulness. Notice in this prayer the words that leap off the page and penetrate your own heart, then use those words and phrases to confess your own propensity to sin (even the specificity and particularity of your sins) and watch how the God of love and forgiveness wipes away your iniquity.
Join King David in acknowledging your sin(s) before and toward God, and plead for his mercy, cleansing and grace. Invite joy, gladness, and a steadfast spirit to sustain you, as your broken and contrite heart is joyfully renewed and restored from the inside out. (Psalm 51)
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, isa broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Behold the splendor of the Lord – Believe the promises of his love – Belong to those who unreservedly trust him – Become prayerful in all you are and do.