Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Sometimes we use fancy language in our prayers to God. It can sound as if we are trying to make a good impression. Other times, though, we are direct and brutally honest in our prayers, confessing our sin with a broken heart because we know we have failed.
Psalm 51 is a brutally honest prayer. The psalmist describes sin as a great stain on his life. He knows that the sin he has done messes up the beauty of his life. Sin is offensive to God, and it needs to be washed away.
Just as surely as sin stains a person’s life, God has the power to wipe that life clean again. The psalmist prays for forgiveness, asking God to cleanse him and make his life beautiful again. The honesty of the confession is possible because of the trust that God will hear and forgive.
Because of the grace of Jesus shown to us on the cross, we can also pray to God with brutal honesty, confessing the stain of our sin and asking God to give us pure hearts again. God promises to cleanse us and make us beautiful again. God promises to take away our guilt and shame and to renew our spirits. Our honest confession is met with God’s faithful grace and love.