This prayer uses our Psalm for this Sunday, Psalm 51. The words in italics are from the Psalm and the other words are mine. Pray with me.
Loving God, when we cannot find the right words to say, it is okay to say what others have said. The psalmist provides us with words that work no matter what we are feeling. We are thankful for the words of the psalmist and we turn to you with these ancient words. 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 alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment. Forgiving God, there are days when we are overwhelmed with our lives. It seems like we cannot make a good decision. We cannot love others as you love us. We cannot find the good in your world as we only see sadness and grief and greed. In these moments, we cry out to you asking for forgiveness for ourselves and for all your children.
Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my 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 crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Holy One, there are days when it is hard to overcome our pasts. These are days when it feels like we cannot win for losing. And even on those days, you love us. You forgive us. You give us another chance.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Loving God, you forgive us first and then we can forgive others. We learned to love from being loved by you just as we learned to forgive by being forgiven by you. Your mercy and grace are abundant in our lives when we open our eyes to see them.
Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. God, what do you require of us? Doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with you. Humbly we ask your forgiveness. Humbly we ask for your help as we start again today. In your gracious mercy forgive us and help us to forgive ourselves. Amen.