(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. 2 Wash me clean from all of my sin and guilt. 3 I know about my sins, and I cannot forget my terrible guilt. 4 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.
5 I have sinned and done wrong since the day I was born. 6 But you want complete honesty, so teach me true wisdom. 7 Wash me with hyssop[a] until I am clean and whiter than snow. 8 Let me be happy and joyful! You crushed my bones, now let them celebrate. 9 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.
51.7hyssop: 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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