Prayer for a Repentant Heart
By: Kristine Brown

“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” (Psalm 51:17 NLT)

Jesus told his disciples the story of a young man who left home with his portion of the inheritance. After spending every penny on frivolous living, the son returned home. He confessed his sin and asked his father for forgiveness. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’” (Luke 15:21)

I can relate to this son’s regret. To the feeling of shame that comes over us when we realize we’ve allowed sin to have a place in our lives. In the pain of regret, there is a brokenness and a longing to be forgiven. Even though we may face consequences for our sin, without God’s forgiveness we will never experience the freedom He offers.

The word repentance can be defined as feeling regret and wanting to do what is right. But when we look at the idea of repentance through the eyes of our faith, we will discover new meaning. A repentant heart begins with a desire to give up the “sin that so easily entangles.” (Hebrews 12:1a) But true repentance means so much more— more than feeling bad or trying to be a better person than we were before. It reveals our brokenness and desperate need for a Savior.

Repentance isn’t just turning away from sin; it’s also bringing our brokenness to the Father.

In Psalm 51:17, King David cried out to God with a repentant heart, “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”

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Like in the prodigal son’s story that Jesus told, David gave in to the temptation of sin. He too regretted his decision and understood the shame we feel when we do things we know we shouldn’t. With soul-bearing honesty, David turned toward the Lord, asking Him to cleanse and renew his spirit. (Psalm 51:10) David acknowledged his sin and sought the Father’s forgiveness with his whole heart.

King David’s example and Jesus’ story of the prodigal son give us hope for our brokenness. We all need a Savior, and thankfully Jesus will never reject us. We may feel crushed under the weight of sin at times, but freedom is possible when we cry out to the Lord with a repentant heart. Jesus will wash away our shame and regret. Let’s pray together.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Let the words of Psalm 51 be my heart’s cry today, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” When I feel weighed down by sin in my life, I will find freedom by seeking your forgiveness.

Forgive me for allowing sin to take hold. Thank you for the promise that you will “not reject a broken and repentant heart.” You sent your son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins, so that I may be forgiven. Praise you for that incredible gift! Lord, please accept this prayer of repentance as I turn away from sin and bring my brokenness to you. Thank you for making me whole again. 

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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