The Jewish King David (1040 BC-970 AD) was a well respected political and religious leader. The second king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah, he ruled successfully for 40 years although he was at war defending his nation during most of those years. It’s believed he was an ancestor of Jesus of Nazareth. He was also a prolific writer and poet and many of his works are included in the Bible. (Think: The Book of Psalms).
I’ve been fascinated by David for years. It seems he was a very passionate guy. This king-warrior-poet-Biblical key character killed Goliath when he was just a kid and then grew up to lead Israel to victory again and again; a religious powerhouse for sure.
But David was also a bad boy. He literally stole the wife of one of his most loyal and honored soldiers, got her pregnant and then to cover his tracks, arranged to have the guy murdered. But once this crime was exposed by the Prophet Nathan, David turned to God.
His prayer asking for forgiveness is recorded in the Bible as Psalm 51.
I like Psalm 51 because its old and its real. It reminds me that people have been making mistakes forever… and people have been trying to change their ways for just as long.
Here’s a paraphrase by me that I’ve been told has been helpful:
“God, help me!
I have screwed up big time.
Forgive me. Take away my sins. Have mercy on me.
Be compassionate and pardon me.
Please, help me!
Wash me clean of my mistakes so I can release my guilt.
I know what I did. My sins are always on my mind.
I have done evil.
I admit my shameful thoughts, words and deeds.
They haunt me day and night.
I have sinned against you but I also know I have sinned against myself.
I am your creation.
I know you know what I’ve done.
I want forgiveness. I want to clean up my act. I want to change.
Clean thoughts, clean feelings, clean living.
I need to forgive myself.
Don’t throw me away. Please, don’t leave me alone.
I need and want peace of mind so I can be happy.
Help me fix my brokenness.
I release my guilt and shame and troubles.”
We’ve all sinned. We all need forgiveness.
If something is in the way of your Sacred or yourself, try this ancient prayer.
Do you need forgiveness?
I welcome your feedback and suggestions.