Prayer for Cleansing and Pardon
To the leader. A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy,
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 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.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being;[a]
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right[b] spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing[c] spirit.
In the Christmas carol Joy to the World we sing “Let every heart prepare Him room.” Sometimes our hearts are too full of junk to let the Christ-child in. Psalm 51 was written by King David after his adultery (with Bathsheba) and murder (of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah) had been exposed by the prophet Nathan. David’s heart was too full of ugliness to let God truly dwell there. That is, until he confessed. He let it all out, and God then filled again David’s contrite heart.
As I rest in the glow of the star of Bethlehem, let me see and confess my sinfulness, so that there will be room in my clean heart for my Lord and Savior to dwell. In Jesus; precious name I pray. Amen.