40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 14 – Prayer

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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, is a 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. (Psalm 51)

 

When we observe prayers of adoration and thanksgiving it is probably easy to see how love serves as a motivating force. The same can probably be said about intercessory prayers like the ones we have reviewed over the last three days. How about prayers of confession?  Well, we have a chance to consider this by reviewing David’s prayer in Psalm 51 (captured above). The background to this prayer does not make for easy reading.  David has just been confronted by the prophet Nathan for committing the horrific acts of committing adultery with Uriah’s wife, Batsheba; attempting to trick Uriah into sleeping with his wife after she tells David that she is pregnant; sending Uriah into battle where he is killed; marrying Bathsheba and then concealing his treachery until he is confronted by Nathan.

Can love be found in these dark circumstances?  Prayerfully review this prayer and look out for love.

Today’s Questions for comments:

  • Where do you see love demonstrated in David’s prayer?
  • When you fail to please God, how do you feel about praying – are you a reluctant confessor?

Tomorrow our Feature Friday Discipline will be the Discipline of Fasting.  If you are medically able to fast from food for the day or a portion of the day, please do so.   Also, be sure to block some specific times out for prayer.

8 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 14 – Prayer

  1. David was very broken about his sin, and longed for a reunion with God. He understood how deeply he’d offended God and truly wanted to be in a place of joy and right standing with God. David didn’t care what it took to get him back to that place as long as it did. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
    When I fail God, especially if it’s the same thing again, I’m usually annoyed with myself and initially think he must be so tired of me coming back to him about the same thing. However feeling like a “rat” about displeasing him, and fearing a break in my relationship with him quickens me to his throne.

    • Indeed he was broken and continued to live in his brokenness until Nathan the prophet confronted him. Sometimes God sends us a Nathan in His mercy and even then some still persists to live in brokenness rather than confess. When that happens the Holy Spirit appears restricted in our lives almost as if He left as David prayed “…and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me”. Though He remains faithfully with us unconfessed sin could restrict our usefulness in service for Him.

  2. Where do you see love demonstrated in David’s prayer? David’s heart of repentance displays his love for God and a restored relationship. The verse, Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”, shows he wants reconciliation that can only come through his repentance. David recognizes that his love affair with God is contingent on his desire to be more like God wants him to be – pure. Love is shared through his request, “Do not cast me from your presence”. We want to be with the ones we love. To be cast from God’s presence would be heartbreaking.
    When you fail to please God, how do you feel about praying – are you a reluctant confessor? As a new believer I use to think He didn’t know or saw what I had done so I could get away with it. then as I grew in Christ I would go tell on myself. “Lord, I did this and it was right. Today I feel like it is a joint effort, the Holy Spirit convicts me and I confess. It’s seems I’m talking to Him more so I know He’s aware of what my heart already truly feels (lately my sins of the mind are ever before me showing me the deep rooted sins of my heart). He has made me feel comfortable in bring the worst of me to “fix” into the woman He wants me to be from the inside out.

  3. Psalm 51 demonstrated God’s love for His children especially when they are sinning. In my Wednesday class at YIBC, Japan (I have two classes one is BSF international and one is in my church called IBS), we discussed in the past, Psalm 51 with the title ‘Praying our Sin’. I learned from this class that alongside the basic fact that God made us good (Psalm 8) is the equally basic fact that we have gone wrong. We pray our sins to get to the truth about ourselves and to find how our God treats sinners. Our experience of sin does not consist in doing bad things but in being bad. It is a fundamental condition of our existence, not a temporary lapse into error. Praying our sin isn’t resolving not to sin anymore; it is discovering what God has resolved to do with us as sinners.

    When i fail to please God or when I commit a sin, I know I can’t do anything about my sin except confess it and them submit to God’s way of doing something about it. God not only forgives us, cleansing us from the guilt of sin (v.1-9), he renews us, creating a pure heart within us (v.10) We as Christians refer to these two aspects of salvation as justification and sanctification.

  4. * correction* What I mean is confess it and then submit to God’s way of doing something about it.

  5. ◾Where do you see love demonstrated in David’s prayer?
    One of the statements that I believe demonstrates David’s love for the Lord is his plea that God not cast him (David) away from His (God’s) presence and David’s cry for restoration of the joyful relationship that once existed between he and his God. There is something missing at this time of his life that he desperately wants to return and does not want the loss of it to go on any longer than it already has. This should be the motivation force behind our desire for repentance from the Lord…wanting to have our relationship with him restored to the place where we are in joyful harmony with him.
    ◾When you fail to please God, how do you feel about praying – are you a reluctant confessor? Challenging question. No child of God should be a reluctant confessor. I believe the occasions when this is more likely to happen is when I believe I have been wronged and what I did in retaliation I believed I had a “right” to do, “after all the person deserved it because they were wrong in the first place”. However very soon the reality of the truth that my relationship with God is most important drives me back to going to God seeking to have him restore me….again.

  6. Love is demonstrated by the desire to restore the relationship with God. The fact is that GOD loves us, even when we miss the mark. However, being honest with yourself is the first step to mend a broken relationship. David’s prayer clearly indicates that He acknowledge he sinned, he did not defend his actions. But he clearly understood there was only one way to get right with God .

    What is interesting as seen in the passage is that David did not try to evade God, He embraced the fact that he erred and was willing to accept the consequences, but pleaded with God not to remove him from God’s presence (Eternal consequence).

    Practically, I think we judge ourselves, or more correctly stated that we condemn ourselves to the point that we think we don’t deserve the love of God. And as a result, we hide trying to avoid facing the truth that GOD will always love us to repent.

  7. From all the great comments today there is an important common thread. Even when sin causes us to want to avoid God, His love for us and our love for Him (our relationship) draws us back to Him. This is not always easy though – it certainly wasn’t easy for David. As the renown preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “When there is the most necessity for confession, there is often the greatest tardiness in making it.” Praise God that His love inspired the following statement from Romans 5:20, “where sin increased, grace increased all the more”. Loves calls us to prayer even when we don’t feel like it. Or better yet, love calls us to prayer especially when we don’t feel like it.

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