A Prayer of Contrition (Part Three)- Psalm 51

In verse 10, David continues his plea for transformation, then makes mention of what he would like that transformation to produce in his life. He asks God to create in him a “pure heart” and “steadfast spirit”. This expression here signifies the request for an inner transformation, and David here asks that God would make him a person whose desire is only to obey God, and also to make him a person with not only the desire to obey God, but also with the fortitude to carry it out. He acknowledges that only God can transform him (and he can’t transform himself) and he here asks God to do so. He further acknowledges this in verse 11, asking God not to “cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me”. He admits that he cannot transform himself, that he must stay in God’s presence to do so, and that only the Holy Spirit can do it through him. He must live ever aware of God’s presence and rely on the Holy Spirit in order for transformation to occur. He then acknowledges that his sin has caused him to lose the joy of his salvation, not salvation itself, and he wants to walk in the joy which is the normal state of the obedient believer. He also asks here for a willing spirit, for he realizes that a life lived in obedience to God will be filled with many struggles and difficulties, and he asks here for a spirit which will not give in and turn back to disobedience in the midst of life’s tribulations. In verse 13, he begins a portion in which he makes mention of what he would like to see from his transformation. The transformation he seeks is not only internal, but results in a change of behavior (as all true transformation will). He now begins to help rebels (pasha in Hebrew) to find their way to God and to help those who have deviated from the path (chata in Hebrew) find their way back to the path God has set for them. In the following verses (14-16), we see the results of David’s transformation. He first thanks God ,in verse 14, for saving him from bloodguilt, for making him someone who will never be responsible for bloodguilt again, and because of this his life will be transformed in four ways. The first is that he will now be active in bringing sinners to God (verse 13). The second is he will now live a life devoted to worship (verse 14). The third is he will now live a life characterized by praise (verse 15). The fourth is that he will now live a life of obedience as a living sacrifice (verse 16 and 17). David then concludes his prayer by asking for transformation once again, wanting a spirit which no longer desires to do what he has done and wanting a heart “broken” enough to change. He wants his inner transformation to produce a change in behavior, and he concludes his prayer with a request for his interactions with others. He asks, in verse 18 and 19 that God would make “Zion prosper”, or in other words, that his “issues” would not effect those whom he is ruler over. This Psalm gives a pattern for prayer for the believer who has sinned, and provides a proper guideline in prayer for the one who wants not just to be forgiven for what he has done, but to be transformed into someone who doesn’t do it anymore.

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