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.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 19 then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
David finds himself guilty of murder and adultery, which of course, are two of the most heinous imaginable sins. How can the compromised king purge himself of the guilt he feels and experience a renewal of his relationship with God? Should he go to the temple and sacrifice a bull? David would sacrifice a thousand oxen if that would appease God and relieve his tortured conscience. Instead, he says, God will act in response to his broken and contrite heart. This is what Jesus called poverty of spirit. It is the soul of the desperate who have nothing to present to God or to rely upon within themselves. They simply cling to the grace of Jesus Christ.
My friend Mike O’Quin writes of this desperation and poverty of spirit that Psalm 51 describes:
Jesus said blessed (happy, downright favored by God) are the poor in spirit. That word for poor—ptōchos—isn’t blue collar, working class poor, but destitute, bombed out wretches clamoring for coins on the streets of Calcutta poor. These are the folks who just can’t help themselves without a hand reaching down to them. Spiritual beggars are so favored by God because they have no other options. He loves lavishing on them the kingdom of heaven and making a way for them where there is no way. He loves being the God of hope for a people of desperation.
The good news is that Jesus is not waiting around for you to get your act together. He suffered and died for so much more than that. You can bring your broken life before Him, as is, and He delights to restore you so much that you actually become a life restorer.
Jr., Mike O'Quin. Growing Desperate: The Favor of God for the Poor in Spirit (p. 6). Mantap Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Meditate upon this verse from the classic hymn, Rock of Ages :
Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die.
Let this be the prayer of your desperate heart!
O Lord, I often want to flee from poverty of spirit and desperation and yet that is where you are to be found. Help my offering to you be my desperate need of your grace. Amen.