and renew a right[b] spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Winter is often a season where people feel discouraged and lose motivation. For students, school has been going on for months and you’re probably ready for a break. When you’re tired and unmotivated, it can be difficult to keep your focus on God and following His commandments. Thankfully, the writers of Scripture also felt discouraged and had times of struggling too. David, the writer of the Psalms, often expressed his distress and his weakness to the Lord.
In Psalm 51, David is crying out to the Lord to purify him of his unrighteousness and fill him with joy in the Lord. David has already been saved by God, but it seems he has forgotten the joy he once had in knowing the Lord. He understands that this is his own doing, but he also knows in his own strength he cannot change his own heart and fill himself with joy.
Make these verses your own prayer to the Lord. Begin by repenting to God of your sins, any bad thoughts or actions you’ve done. Then ask Him to make you new and restore your joy and your willingness to serve him. Ask him to surround you with his presence and guide you with his Spirit.
Read Psalm 51 in its entirety. Think through these questions, or discuss them with a friend.
- What is mercy? If you are unsure, look up a few different dictionary definitions, then read the following Scriptures to see what God says about his mercy. Luke 6:36, Ephesians 2:4, Titus 3:5, and Hebrews 4:16.
- Why does David say he will “teach transgressors your ways?” What does this mean? How does David’s understanding of the “joy of salvation” impact this?
- What is David’s response to God’s mercy? Should that be our response?