Written by Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies. July 20.
I want to refer you right now to one of the Bible’s best-known prayers of confession. The problem is that it’s so familiar to most of us that we’ve quit giving it the examination that it requires in order for us to receive from it the rescue that it offers. The confession is David’s in Psalm 51:1-12
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 only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the 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 broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Look carefully at the words of David’s prayer. This is not only a prayer of confession – it is also a cry for change. He admits that his problem is not environmental, but natal; he came into the world with it. He confesses that his problem is not external, but internal; it’s a problem of the “inward being.” So he cries out for what every sinner needs: a new heart. It is something only God can create. It is the epicenter of his work of grace. He wants more than reformed behavior, he sent his Son to die for you so that you would have a new heart, one that is constantly being renewed. If you heart is your problem, then the grace of heart change is your only hope.