Monday, March 19, 2018

Restorative Prayer

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

Every time I read Psalm 51, my heart breaks for David. The nineteen verses of this chapter contains his gut-wrenching petition for forgiveness — forgiveness over his sin with Bathsheba. The prayer is words of a broken heart, bursting with desire for restoration. It is arguably the best prayer of remorse you’ll find anywhere. 

Let’s break it apart and see the powerful example it is for us. 

First, David doesn’t draw attention to himself. He doesn’t approach God by saying, “See how sorrowful I am?” Or, “I’m normally a good guy so, forgive me this one little mistake.” Rather, he flings his broken life to the grace of God. In essence he said, “All I have to offer You is a broken life and a crushed spirit.” In common day language, David understood and yearned for God’s grace. 

Second, notice that nowhere in the prayer does David attempt to cleanse himself. Although David was profoundly sorrowful and penitent, he didn’t even offer the customary sacrifice. “Cleanse me.” “Wash me.” “Create in me.” “Cast me not away.” “Restore to me.” All of these were things that only God could do. David’s remorse for his sin put his heart in touch with his deep need for God. His broken heart made him hunger for God. 

Finally, this prayer is about hope. You get the idea that David thought he could be restored, thus a right relationship with God and a purpose for the future. “After You’ve restored me, and with Your sustaining help, then I will teach other sinners to return to You. Then I’ll use my tongue to proclaim Your praise.”

What hope! The darkest past could not hold back a bright future. Isn’t that just like our God? When we are at our worst, God and His grace are at its best!

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51.10-12

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