True Prayer
Psalm 51:10, 17
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Prayer is the index of the heart. When true, it is the "heart's sincere desire," and expresses not only the feeling, but the cry of the soul to God.

I. THE PRAYER HERE IS THOROUGH-GOING. It is not pardon that is asked - that has been obtained; but renewal. It is not present relief that is craved, but complete restoration, such a change wrought in the heart as is equivalent to a reconstruction, and as will re-establish and fix the right relation to God for evermore.

II. THIS PRAYER IS FOUNDED ON GOD'S PROMISES. We should only ask for things agreeable to God's will. Here we can have no doubt. What God wants is a "clean heart." What God delights in is "a broken and a contrite heart." When we look to ourselves, and remember God's command, "Make you clean" (Isaiah 1:16); "Make you a new heart" (Ezekiel 18:31), we are filled with despair. But when we look to God, and remember his promises, "A new heart will I give you' (Ezekiel 36:26), hope springs up anew. God's commands are not the commands of a tyrant like Pharaoh (Exodus 5:6-8), but of a Father great in love as in power. We should put his commands and his promises side by side, and then we have confidence that what we ask we shall receive.

III. THIS PRAYER IMPLIES COMPLETE SELF-SURRENDER TO THE WILL AND WAYS OF GOD. God is sovereign and holy. He has his own ways of working. We must be brought low before we are raised up. We must be emptied of self before we can be filled with the fulness of God. There will be not only the Word which quickeneth, but the rod which disciplineth (ver. 8).

IV. THIS PRAYER, FINALLY, LEADS TO A NEW LIFE OF LOVE AND OBEDIENCE. Life is made a sacrifice (Romans 12:1) - offered, not on the altar of burnt offering, but upon the golden altar of incense; not as an atonement, for Christ's blood alone maketh atonement, but as a thanksgiving for redemption. - W. F

Parallel Verses
KJV: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

WEB: Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.

The Uncleanness of the Heart, and How it is Cleansed
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