Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Food For Thought:
This prayer of the Psalmist is about sins—something that we Methodists don’t like to talk about. When the discussion of sin becomes a topic, it makes us uncomfortable, and it makes us more uncomfortable when we do not worship a merciful God. I believe that the God we worship is merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, so the topic doesn’t make me uncomfortable. I know that God will offer forgiveness for whatever wrongs I have committed against God or my neighbor.
Gracious and merciful God, you see into the secret places of our hearts, where we mourn our sins. As we turn again to your grace, receive our prayers. Look with mercy upon our contrite hearts, wash from us the stain of iniquity, and create a new and right spirit in us, that we may declare your praise and offer an acceptable sacrifice in these Lenten days; through Christ Jesus, who bore our sins on the cross. In your sacred and holy name we pray, Amen.