Psalm 51 (NRSV)
A contrite heart
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right 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 sustain in me a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
then you will delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Ah! I can never read this beautiful prayer from the heart without tears welling up in my eyes.
I hesitate to say anything further, as this psalm speaks for itself! It is one of the most well known and beloved prayers in the Bible. It is the cry of a repentant sinner, seeking forgiveness from a loving and merciful God!
Often, when I think about the love of God revealed to me in Christ Jesus, I am overwhelmed. When I survey the cross and see the great sacrifice that Jesus made to atone for my sin, reconcile my relationship with God, and open-wide the gates of heaven, I am dismayed because I don’t feel like I have anything to offer to God in return.
Recently, I was exposed to a prayer on YouTube.com called “Hannah’s Prayer.” It is the prayer of a three-year child before bedtime. In her seven minute prayer she says, “[God], you can ask for a thing from us and we will say, “Yes Jesus!” You may have everything! If you want to, then we’ll give it to you in the Name of Jesus!”
Since hearing that prayer, I have been convicted and inspired. I’ve been asking myself, “What is it that God desires from me?”
Psalm 51 answers this question. It says, “For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. “
What is it that we can offer to God in response to God’s great love and mercy shown toward us? We can offer ourselves---hearts full of repentance, mouths full of praise, thanksgiving and testimony, hands and feet ready to serve others. We can offer ourselves as bearers of the good news message that “Christ has died! Christ has risen! Christ shall come again!”
Isn’t it amazing that all that God desires from us—IS US?!
In Hannah’s prayer she says, “You are the Holy Son! You are the Mighty God! You are the Awesome God! You are the Living God!”
To that, I say, “Amen.”
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, “Come to Jesus” @