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.