Psalm 51

Let me remind You how generous You are God; King of mercy I beg You to forgive my sins.  For I’ve really blown it this time.  I put myself above the need for repentance – thought the sermon wasn’t for me.  The worst sin of all!  In this time of joyful fellowship with You, growth in our relationship, I let my pride get the best of me.  The ugly sin of pride made me think there was nothing I needed to repent of – think that I didn’t need Your forgiveness.  Jesus have mercy!  I beg You to give me a humble heart!  I know that will bring many sufferings, but it’s worth it.  Snatch me from falling in with the Pharisees!

I’ve been mired in this sin and pride since I was born.  I’m a mess on the inside, even though I can make the outside look pretty good.  You want to transform me from inside to out.  Enter me then.  Make me a new creation, something You can really use.  I come to You, naked and humble – bathe my soul until it shines.  Clear all the sin out of me – everything!

I like to pretend I’m clean, but when I stop and think about it, I know the ugliness of my heart.  My sins are ever-present.  It’s against You that I’ve sinned and Your judgement against me will be fair, whatever You choose to do.  But I beg You, clean me from the inside out.  Turn my weary, plodding heart into a full orchestra (with dancers?!) of praise.

If anyone is in Christ, she is a new creation!  Send Your Spirit on me and turn what was dragging me down into something that can bring You glory!  Turn me from trash to treasure.  Let me teach others not to do what I did.  Use me, Father, to bring others to You.

I know I deserve worse than death, but I beg You to have mercy on me.  Salvation God, I want to praise You with my life! You don’t want me to “look good” or just go through the motions.  The “perfect Christian” act means nothing to You.  I’m learning to be in relationship with You as my pride is shattered.  No more pretending, just humble obedience and constant repentance.  That’s what You want from me.

A few days after I wrote this psalm, I read the chapter called “The Prayer of Tears” in Richard Foster’s Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home.  It moved me to re-write Psalm 51 again.  Here is the second version.

Psalm 51 again – My Prayer of Tears

Father, Jesus, Spirit have mercy!  I stink to high heaven with my sins – of pride, of selfishness, my hard heart that doesn’t want to be changed by Your love – that is ashamed to be like You in Your tears.  Forgive me!  O Father forgive me!  No wonder it is so hard for me to confess my sins!  I am not cut to the heart by them.  Most of the time they seem like “no big deal.”  But they are a big deal!  They’re a big, stinking, filthy, oozing mess of shit that I’m trying to explain away as “normal” or “not that bad.”   Christ have mercy on me!  Let me know my transgressions!  Let my inner cesspool be a constant stink in my nose.  Here I am trying to look good and show others how to please You, but I’m letting my filthy backside hang out in front of You like it’s no big deal!  Spirit, give me a broken and contrite heart!  I sin because I am a sinner.  There is every shame in that, but when I bring it to You, there is no shame.  Break my heart, God.  Let my tears wash through my heart and purge me – my sins caught up in a river of tears that flow to the ocean of Your love.  It is not my tears that cleanse me – only Your blood can do that – but in my sorrow I can release the sins that I’ve been concealing (even from myself) for so long.  Give me a soft heart, stripped of all that has encrusted it, gentle Father.  Spirit, enter my spirit and give me the right motives in my actions and praise.

Don’t give up on me yet, God!  I’m ready to be changed by You – just take it gently!  Let me experience the deep joy that can only come after true sorrow for my sins.  Help me to be a willing participant in this change!  If I thought “paying You off” would help, I’d do it because that seems so much easier than what You’re asking of me.  But that’s not what You want from me.  The true sacrifice is my broken heart.  When I truly understand how much I have hurt You; when I allow myself to weep for what I have done to You, then You will not turn away from me.  With Your loving arms You will embrace me and say, “I know.  I know.”

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