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(For the music leader. A psalm by David when the prophet Nathan came to him after David had been with Bathsheba.)

A Prayer for Forgiveness

51 You are kind, God!
    Please have pity on me.
    You are always merciful!
    Please wipe away my sins.
Wash me clean from all
    of my sin and guilt.
I know about my sins,
    and I cannot forget
    my terrible guilt.
You are really the one
    I have sinned against;
    I have disobeyed you
    and have done wrong.
So it is right and fair for you
    to correct and punish me.

I have sinned and done wrong
    since the day I was born.
But you want complete honesty,
    so teach me true wisdom.
Wash me with hyssop[a]
    until I am clean
    and whiter than snow.
Let me be happy and joyful!
    You crushed my bones,
    now let them celebrate.
Turn your eyes from my sin
    and cover my guilt.
10 Create pure thoughts in me
    and make me faithful again.
11 Don’t chase me away from you
    or take your Holy Spirit
    away from me.

12 Make me as happy as you did
when you saved me;
    make me want to obey!
13 I will teach sinners your Law,
    and they will return to you.
14 Keep me from any deadly sin.
    Only you can save me!
    Then I will shout and sing
    about your power to save.

15 Help me to speak,
    and I will praise you, Lord.
16     Offerings and sacrifices
    are not what you want.
17 The way to please you
    is to feel sorrow
    deep in our hearts.
This is the kind of sacrifice
    you won’t refuse.

18 Please be willing, Lord,
to help the city of Zion
    and to rebuild its walls.
19 Then you will be pleased
    with the proper sacrifices,
    and we will offer bulls
    on your altar once again.

Footnotes

  1. 51.7 hyssop: A small bush with bunches of small, white flowers. It was sometimes used as a symbol for making a person clean from sin.

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