Psalm 51:18-19 (NIV) 18 May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
David’s prayer and experience serve as the hope and model for prayer for the whole community of God’s people. As in other psalms, Psalm 51 moves from the individual lament, confession, plea, and renewal to the corporate one.
“As the psalmist seeks through confession and contrition to stimulate the restoration of right relationship with God, so the… community sought through the words of this psalm to confess their sin and to lay the groundwork for the restoration… through which they had known continued forgiveness, renewal, and communion with their covenant God, Yahweh.” (Gerald Wilson, Psalms Volume 1, NIVAC, p. 689)
In the same way, may this psalm teach us how to pray for our own lives, churches, and cities to experience renewal through confession and repentance.
Prayer: We pray for spiritual renewal in our churches so that many in our cities will experience salvation and fellowship with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Let’s worship the Lord in song with “How Great is Our God” by Chris Tomlin (click here).
Psalm 51:13-17 (NIV) Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
“Only God can open our lips to sing to him. But he delights to do it. ‘0 Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.’ Ransomed prisoners shout for joy and sing. With the lightening of our burden, our spirits soar again and our lips are unsealed. Suddenly we become aware of the church around us, and we pray with new boldness for the brethren.” (John White, Daring to Draw Near: People in Prayer)
“These sacrifices, in context, are no substitute for or alternative to a right relationship; they are rather a public verification of a newly restored relationship.” (Walter Brueggemann, Psalms, New Cambridge Bible Commentary, p. 238)
Prayer: Father, thank you for restoring and empowering your people to live in a continual relationship with you. We shout for joy and sing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Let’s worship the Lord in song with “Gracefully Broken” by Matt Redman (click here).
Psalm 51:10-12 (NIV) Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
“The deepest renewal is spiritual, and it has a moral base. Since God is holy and since He has given us a conscience, we cannot be renewed apart from dealing with our moral failure before Him. Try as we may, we cannot remove sin by rationalization or denial. At some point our intellectual and psychological defense mechanisms will be broken. In that moment of truth when we face our own despair, God promises to come to us. But how will we know what to do? How can we experience His cleansing and renewing power? Psalm 51 becomes a key to new life. This great psalm opens the door to a radical change for each person who is willing to pray this prayer from the heart.” (Donald Williams, Psalms 1-72, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol 13)
Prayer: Father, we humbly ask you to create in us a pure heart. May all our defense mechanisms be broken down as we pray this prayer from the heart. Would you restore the joy of salvation to us today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Let’s worship the Lord in song with “One and Only Jesus” by Vertical Worship (click here).
Let’s read aloud together the following passages and prayer:
Psalm 51:3-9 (NIV) For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
1 John 1:9 (NIV) 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Lord, thank you that even seeing and realizing that we have sinned before you is only by your grace and the Spirit’s convicting work in our hearts. In confession, we acknowledge and bring before you all our wrongdoings, wrong thoughts, wrong desires, wrong motivations, and failures to live the way you have called us. May we be cleansed and transformed in Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Let’s worship the Lord in song with “Raised to Life” by Elevation Worship (click here).
Psalm 51:1-2 (NIV) 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 my sin.
“Here, a triad of terms that characterize the LORD are found: mercy, unfailing love, and great compassion. Here we get a glimpse at the Lord through the prayer window of Psalm 51. David’s prayer reveals that the Lord is merciful, compassionate, and his love never fails. This triad summarizes the LORD’s character as revealed in Exodus 34:6, and forms the hope for why forgiveness, renewal, and restoration can be sought. It is rooted in the very being of the God who loves, forgives, and has compassion for his people.” [Pastor Cory]
Let’s thank the Lord for his mercy, love, and compassion as we look at the painting “Psalm 51:1-2. A Cry For Mercy” by Mark Lawrence (click here).
Prayer: Lord, we praise you because out of your kindness and grace, you extend mercy to those who do not deserve it. Thank you that because you are merciful and compassionate, and because of your unfailing love, we have hope that we can seek you in prayer for forgiveness, renewal, and restoration. Would you have mercy on us, Lord, and cleanse us from our sin. We trust in you alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.