Day 21: When Broken By Sin

A Clean Heart

photo credit: listentothemountains (Creative Commons)

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
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.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will you delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.*

If you’re not familiar with it, this prayer, written in Psalm 51, came from King David after the prophet, Nathan, confronted him about his sin. The particular sin was an adulterous affair with another man’s wife. In trying to cover it up, David eventually gives the battle orders that lead to the husband’s murder. Get the whole story in 2 Samuel 11-12.

Years ago, I heard a sermon on this passage by Dr. Jerry Kroll, former pastor of Heritage Baptist Church. My Bible still has these notes from that sermon, written in the margin:

Four Characteristics of Genuine Repentance

  1. An open, complete admission of sin, verses 1-4
  2. A desire to make a total break with the sin, verse 10
  3. A broken and humble spirit, verse 17
  4. A willingness to claim God’s forgiveness as well as the consequences, verses 11-12 & 2 Samuel 12:10-14, 24

My prayer today is that we would strive to grow in genuine repentance. That we would accept ownership of our sin, separate ourselves completely from it, be humble and broken, and accept both forgiveness and discipline. I pray that we could honestly pray David’s words about our own sin.

*Psalm 51

Today is Day 21 of 31 Days of Prayer for the Hurting.

I’m also linking up with Everyday Awe:


Leave a comment


  1. scatteredgraces

     /  October 22, 2012

    Oh Janice.

    I needed this. Right. Now.

    I have been thinking on this EXACTLY as I have been processing my memories of life before Canada. So grateful for mercy an forgiveness.

    Maybe I need to find a way to embrace it in order to be merciful and forgiving. Maybe holding the weight of the sins against me are not much different than the sin itself. I think of Bathsheba, her situation. Losing her son and husband because of The King’s advances on her.

    More processing. More rereading. Thank you again for your words, when my words are groans, your eloquence in finding the right words . . .


  2. Maria Dupuis

     /  January 6, 2013

    I love learning through the words in the Bible and this message has taught me much. Thank you for sharing it with me and others who will benefit from the reminder. Blessings also to you today and always.

  3. I’m so glad you linked up today, Janice! Those 4 steps of repentance are fantastic, and so true. I am especially struck by the need to make a full break from the sin and accept the consequences. I think those may be the hardest for me. Sometimes sin have an odd comfort- we don’t know what it would feel like to not have them around. So, in a weird way, we don’t feel comfortable giving them totally over. And consequences? Who wants those. This kind of repentance takes full trust in a loving God.


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  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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