Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin [is] always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done [this] evil in Your sight–That You may be found just when You speak, [And] blameless when You judge. …
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden [part] You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. …
Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me [by Your] generous Spirit. … The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart–These, O God, You will not despise.
[Psa 51:1-4, 6-7, 9-12, 17 NKJV]
King David wrote this touchingly repentant prayer after a sinful scandal in which he added murder to a wicked whirlwind of lust, adultery, and deceit. God sent the prophet Nathan to correct King David and point out His sins. Instead of ignoring Nathan’s rebuke, he chose to repent and return to God.
I’ve always loved this honest, penitent prayer and was once again inspired as I found myself reading and reflecting on it this morning. I resonate with every word.
I am particularly attracted to this prayer because yesterday I totally messed up, falling back into unhealthy habits, thought patterns, and actions. I lost my sense of dependency on God and, in a moment of crisis, chose not to surrender. Unfortunately, I made decisions unguided by His Holy Spirit.
God has brought my failure to follow His lead to my attention. Like David, I am seeking to repent and re-surrender to God. I too desire God’s mercy, forgiveness, and a renewed heart. The words of this prayer are written just for me.
Yet, when I sin, I sometimes feel as if I cannot truly return to God after all the hurt I’ve caused Him through my misdeeds. God loves me and wants me to trust Him because He has beautiful plans for me. In light of this truth, I know that it pains Him when I choose my way instead of His. Although intellectually I realize that God will forgive me when I sincerely repent, often I feel slightly uncomfortable and uneasy accepting that I am forgiven.
For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. [1Jo 3:20 NKJV]
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [1Jo 1:9 NKJV]
God is trustworthy. Faithful. Absolutely reliable. Just as He forgave David years and years ago, so He will forgive me when I confess. When I come to God in humility, He will cleanse and renew my heart and gently place me back on the path of full surrender to Him.
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. [Phl 3:13-14 NKJV]
Today, I have confessed and am choosing to accept God’s mercy and forgiveness. In humility and contrition, I am repenting, re-surrendering, and reaching forward!