February 16: A Deeply Repentant Heart


Lenten Devotion: A Deeply Repentant Heart

Friday, February 16, 2018

A Deeply Repentant Heart
Psalm 51

Psalm 51, sometimes called Miserere, from the Latin for “Have mercy,” is one of the most frequently repeated psalms during the season of Lent. It can, if we let it, lead us to a deeply repentant heart. Let’s follow the itinerary the psalm offers. The words below are only my words; I invite you to find your own words.

Preparing ourselves:

The psalmist helps us before beginning the song by creating a scenario for us to remember, namely that poignant moment when the prophet Nathan says to David:  “You are the man.” As we enter this psalm, we do so as David’s children and heirs. His cry for mercy is our cry for mercy. All – we all –  have sinned. But our sin is not the last word.

Coming before God:

O gracious One, O tender God,
forgive, wash away, blot out, obliterate my sins,
extend your loving kindness to me
in every place where my thoughts and deeds have hurt others,
even when I didn’t realize it or intend it.

Confession of Sin:

My actions have broken the sacred bond between us.
They have broken the sacred bond among your children. I know it.
I desperately need you to reach across the chasm my actions have caused and restore right relationships. I cannot do this. But you can.

Prayer for Forgiveness:

I am ready to be tutored in the right way, O tender God.
A word of forgiveness from you will fill me with joy.
You could judge me with your justice, but, please, don’t look at me this way.

Prayer to Become a New Person:

Create in me a new, clean heart, a tender spirit draw out in me.
Look not on my past mistakes, but on the desires of my heart.
Strengthen me; shore up my will.

Promise of Thanksgiving:

As you continue to heal me, O gracious One, I, in turn, will pour out my thanks to you.
And more, I will speak to others with conviction and credibility about your goodness.

Worship with a Grateful Heart:

Any sacrifice I could offer you would not be sufficient, I know.
So, I offer you my chastened spirit and my changed heart.
These alone are my gifts. Gifts that you, yourself, have created in me.

Dr. Elizabeth Liebert, SNJM
SFTS Professor of Spiritual Life (retired)