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Father Muench Says...

Praying with Psalm 51

March 10, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

We are in the middle of Lent with our eyes constantly on Holy Week. Ash Wednesday was rather different this year, but Lent did begin for all of us that day. So, my question for you is, how are you doing with your Lenten Program? Is it truly preparing you to walk with Jesus up the hill of Calvary?

Today, I would like to share with you a prayer, a special prayer for Lent and Holy Week. I am not going to write this prayer out for you here. I am going to ask you to go find it and look it over and pray it. This prayer is easy to find. It is one of the Psalms, Psalm 51. I would like to take some time to write a bit about this Psalm here today. This will be my introduction for your reading and praying the Psalm over and over, making it part of your prayer time. Remembering these Psalm are really songs, so maybe you should sing it also.

This Psalm begins with a prayer to our merciful God for kindness. We begin our prayer with a realization of our sinfulness. So, we turn to the Lord seeking kindness in our repentance as we admit our sins and failing. In this song, we pray, “In your compassion, God, blot out my offense. Wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.” Only then will I be able to find true conversion and become a new person – when God washes me clean.

Only God can help me to solve the challenge of my guilt. I know so well that I am not good at this. Guilt has often led me to depression and unhappiness. So, in this psalm, I pray that God will wash away my guilt. I ask God to help me to be healed so that guilt will not hurt me so much. My guilt is often caused by my repeated selfishness. God helps by showing me and leading me to realize how much I need to reach out by helping others.

Our Psalmist leads me to pray, “A pure heart create for me, O God.” So, here, I join in the song of the Psalmist, maybe David, singing to God in prayer that I will be transformed with love. I pray that I will be a person who will love with a pure heart – a heart free from demands – and with a love that is real. With the Psalmist I pray, “Put a steadfast spirit within me.”

I know and continually find that my love is strengthened when I allow God to be present to me – that God will truly be a constant part of my life. For me this is a constant challenge of my prayer time. It’s a challenge to always be open and truly allow God to be present to me through the power of the Holy Spirit. This prayer says, “God do not deprive me of your Holy Spirit.”

So, take some time and find the psalm. Make it your prayer. I believe it will help you realize who you are and who God is. This time of Lent is so important to realize just how loving and forgiving God is toward us. You and I are a loved people. We are loved with a powerful love that will help us recognize how precious our lives are, how much God wants us to be part of his people, part of his family. Like me, you will need time each of these Lenten days to consider your life and realize just what is keeping you from being the person God wants you to be. Then turn to your God and seek God’s forgiveness. In our psalm we have recognized the compassionate love that God has for us. This will bring us the peace and joy that you can walk with the Lord Jesus during those events of Holy Week.

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