Read: Psalm 51:1-17
Key Verse: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 NIV)
During my early educational experience, where religion was an integral part of my school day, I remember having to memorize Psalm 51. The memorization of this Psalm was not for meditative purposes or scriptural knowledge, but because my classmates and I were being punished for not speaking the truth. We did not actually tell a lie, but failed to speak up when one of our friends had done wrong. None of us wanted to tattle on her, so we all kept silent and were punished for our inactions.
Remembering those days growing up in parochial school, I can reflect on how badly I felt, as though I had committed the worst sin. As students, we were made to feel as though we had sinned against God, and in need of forgiveness, therefore our hearts needed to be cleansed.
Beginning this journey of spiritual introspection, we start with the Psalmist David who expresses a devastated spirit caused by personal failure. Sin seemed to choke the very life out of him. Feeling remorseful, he turns to God, pours out his heart; confesses the sin, pleads for forgiveness, and seeks a fresh start. A clean slate; A faithful spirit; A renewed heart. This is what Lent is about – coming clean before God – “Finding Peace and Renewal in The Cross”.
You may be coming through a difficult time personally that has overwhelmed you with sadness, futility, or frustration. Don’t worry, call out to God, and He will hear the cry of your hurting heart. He will honor your desire to be cleansed and made whole.
Psalm 51 is a powerful Lenten prayer. Not all of us have committed sinful acts, but this Psalm can be transformative as we seek to draw closer to God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Reflection: Can you remember a time in your life when you were in a place like David, hitting rock bottom, stuck, with nowhere to go? Our disobedient ways and willful choices can often lead to stagnant places in our faith. Just like David, remember that God is there. Call on him! No matter how desperate the situation, he will hear you. He will never leave you – you’re not alone!
Exercise: Confess those times when your heart was sunk to pits of disobedient and despair. Rejoice in the moments God has lifted your heart up out of the depths of darkness. Thank God for the peace of your renewed relationship with him. Praise God for his faithfulness.
Prayer: Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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