Feb. 17 is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season. During Lent, I like to pray Psalm 51, a psalm of repentance and restoration. Our cries for forgiveness and our knowledge of our failings are more than met by God’s mercy and loving-kindness.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your
in your great compassion blot out my offenses.
2 Wash me through and through from my wickedness
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you only have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight.
5 And so you are justified when you speak
and upright in your judgment.
6 Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth,
a sinner from my mother’s womb.
7 For behold, you look for truth deep within me,
and will make me understand wisdom secretly.
8 Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure;
wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.
9 Make me hear of joy and gladness,
that the body you have broken may rejoice.
10 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquities.
11 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
12 Cast me not away from your presence
and take not your holy Spirit from me.
13 Give me the joy of your saving help again
and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.
14 I shall teach your ways to the wicked,
and sinners shall return to you.
15 Deliver me from death, O God,
and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness,
O God of my salvation.
16 Open my lips, O Lord,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
17 Had you desired it, I would have offered sacrifice;
but you take no delight in burnt-offerings.
18 The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.