Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
1 Have mercy on me,[a] 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 only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the 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 broken rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right[b] spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
King David writes Psalm 51 after the prophet Nathan exposes his great sin of adultery and murder. David says a fascinating thing about his hideous acts. He claims that he has sinned against God and God alone. Uriah the Hittite, might beg to argue with the king since David's transgression meant the end of Uriah's virtuous life. David, however, always sees God as his reference point. Without a doubt, this sin has put a barrier between the king and his Lord. David cannot long abide the fracture of fellowship. His walk with God is everything to him, so he must journey to this sacred place of desperation and true repentance. Psalm 51 gives us a front-row seat to peer into David's soul and discover his motivation for life. We behold a "man after God's own heart."
This Psalm of the penitent is one of the most beautiful poems of all the Psalms. How many sinners have cried out with David, "Create in me a clean heart, O Lord!" Despite the tragedy of David's actions, God redeems the situation to give the world this quintessential Psalm of repentance. Whatever our sin may be, we should see it as an act against God. We will have to make amends to others, but our relationship with God should be our first concern.
As you confess your sins, remember that above all others, God is the one who has been sinned against. Thankfully, the Lord has promised cleansing, forgiveness and restoration!
O Lord, help me to see that though my sin will undoubtedly hurt those I love, above all, it affects my relationship with you. Create in me a clean heart, O Lord so that I might learn your ways. Let me always live in your loving presence. Amen.