The True Sinners Prayer…

March 13, 2009


Psalm 51


When reading these weighty psalms written by David, full of truth and wisdom concerning God and his power, it is so easy to forget that this pillar of our faith was all too human. 

        Psalm 51 serves as a wake up call.  A wake up call to David and the extent of his sin and need for God’s mercy.  A wake up call to us, that even the most profound and inspiring and gifted individuals are flawed and sinful like the rest of us.  What a gift we are given to see how a truly good man “after God’s own heart” approaches God in the waste and wake of sin.  I have been there many times.  And often for lack of any better or more original phrase call out to Almighty God, the God of my salvation, “have mercy on me.”  My mind like David often can not get past the thought of my sin, “it is ever before me” as it was David.  This psalm is a primer on sin and its consequences and on God and His power. 

Sin is ever-present, as are its effects (v3), and no matter who or whom we sin against all sin is against He who is without sin. (v4)  But this holy God is merciful (v1), and creates in us a pure heart and cleanses us (vv7-10) and restores us and delivers us (vv12,14).  He does these not because we work at it or because we strive to be good, but if our heart is truly broken and contrite.  I wonder if David thought back to Saul and how he was told that to obey is far better than sacrifice, it is the heart’s condition that concerns God.  If I had my way I would make this the “Sinners Prayer” for it was only when I came to realize that I had sin before me, a merciful God above me, and a broken heart within me that I came to the knowledge of a personal God who cleanses, delivers and restores my soul.  With this experience I too wanted to “sing aloud of His righteousness…” “and my mouth show forth His praise.”  That is the result of a true repentant, Sinners Prayer.


One comment

  1. […] Psalm 51 is David’s great penitential psalm.  A record of his words of remorse and repentance following his adultery with Bathsheba, murder of Uriah, and deception of Israel.  In it he pleads to God for mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation. (You can read my previous thoughts on his prayer here.) […]

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