Psalm 51 is a plea for divine forgiveness. (We often read it on Ash Wednesday or during
the season of Lent.) Today, I invite you to read it as a Prayer of Confession.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant
mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4 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.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of
15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
19 then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then
bulls will be offered on your altar.
And then hear these words of assurance of God's grace.
This saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
He bore our sins in his body on the cross,
so that free from sins, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds we have been healed.
Believe this good news and live in peace. Amen.