A Prayer of Repentance

Psalm 51:1-17 — confession and a prayer of repentance for cleansing

How do you respond to sin and failure in your life? So often (it seems) I recognize my sins and shortcomings, but I can explain to you quite well why I sinned and failed. And interestingly enough, those reasons have a way of trying to excuse my sin.

True repentance grieves over sin…regardless of what factors supposedly contributed to it. True repentance deals with sin in all its ugliness, and does not try to shed personal responsibility for it. True repentance says, “I sinned this way. It is my fault. I am sorry. Please forgive me.”

Repentance is surrender — a surrender of my will, my ego, my excuses, my self; a surrender to God and His discretion in what it will take to purify me. Repentance is a surrender to cleansing. I do not believe that verses two and seven speak of something quick, light, easy and painless. The flesh does not want to give up its sin. The flesh may go along with this business of asking forgiveness, but it reserves the option to indulge in sin all over again. Repentance yields to the washing, cleansing and purging required to bring us back into harmony with God’s ways.

Let your prayer of repentance include Spiritual Purification

Repentance and confession deal with more than the overt expression of sin. David wasn’t just interested in forgiveness and cleansing of his murderous, adulterous acts. He wanted spiritual purification as well. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” He wanted freedom from those values and dispositions that contaminated his actions. And so it should happen in our lives. When we covet, lust, complain or gossip, we should seek forgiveness for the specific sins, yes. But we should also ask God to renew our spirits so they no longer turn to and enjoy coveting, lusting, complaining and gossiping. And let’s also ask Him to strengthen our spirits by His Spirit so that we can control our flesh which will always keenly enjoy and revel in sin.

Brokenness. Contriteness. Until these mark our repentance and confession, we will not find forgiveness and restoration.

(Excerpted and adapted from Repentance and Confession.)

Take Hope! thanks to a prayer of repentance

Sadly, the state of mankind is tragically far from good. But God is still good. Because of that goodness, grace, justice, and mercy, He established a plan and a Savior whereby our sinfulness can be “fixed” so that we are restored to uprightness and holiness. Praise the Lord, He is still accomplishing incredible, phenomenal feats of spiritual creation — today and every day!

So, my friend, let’s take hope because there is hope for us, no matter how terribly we have done or how far we have fallen. Read these next few verses and see that they apply to you.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

“The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands” (Psalm 138:8).

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Excerpted from Our Creator and Sustainer

after the prayer of repentance, this: 'From all your filthiness...will I cleanse you' (Ezekiel 36:25)

Reject All Contaminants

You needn’t look far to see the evidences and effects of impurity creeping into the church. Impurity has tarnished speech, reading, thoughts, music, values, and relationships. Impurity has also touched doctrine and practice. God’s people must turn to Him, individually and corporately, crying out with David: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). We must reject all contaminants, no matter how pleasant or harmless or insignificant they may seem. God forbid we should settle for less than the best. That means we must be better people of the Word. We must reestablish and reinforce our personal communion with God. May God grant us to live daily in His presence!

Excerpted from Jeremiah Pleads with His People

Washed Throughly and Thoroughly after a prayer of repentance

“Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2). While it is gloriously true that God is the purifier, it is also true that He will not do that work in my life unless I ask Him to. Then He will gladly come and (with great vigor and expertise) He will wash me through and through. Isn’t that wonderful! But now grab a hold of another verse in this Psalm — “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (51:10). Oh my! There’s that assurance again: If I ask Him, He will refine, restore, and renew me so that the sin about me becomes less effective in staining me in the first place. Praise the Lord!

Excerpted from God Deals with Sinner and Saint


Additional reading about repentance

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Above all, love God!
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