Psalms for Prayer: Day 11

A Prayer for Forgiveness


Today's Text: Psalm 51:1-19

Scripture Reading: Psalm 51:1-19

Self-awareness. It’s a funny thing—you either have it or you don’t. And if you don’t, it usually takes a pretty embarrassing situation to make you aware that you are not self-aware.

For instance, have you ever been in a crowded room, talking to a group of friends, telling a fantastic story, having the time of your life, when you realize everyone in the room has quieted down because your enthusiastic voice has filled the entire space, distracting everyone from their own personal conversations and—

No? Just me? Cool.

My point is this: Self-awareness can be hard to come by. And when it “comes by,” it can be… uncomfortable.

David wrote Psalm 51 after being hurled into self-awareness by the prophet Nathan. David had just slept with Bathsheba, gotten her pregnant, and ultimately, had Bathsheba’s husband killed to cover up what he’d done. And somehow, it wasn’t until Nathan confronted him that David was brought to his knees over his sin. Boom. Crippling self-awareness. This is the context for David writing in verse 3, “For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.”

Awareness of our sin in the presence of a holy God can be an unbearable weight. How could we ever measure up? It’s impossible!

That’s why I’m glad David isn’t only writing out of an awareness of himself and his own brokenness. His self-awareness is accompanied by an acute “God-awareness.” He knows the God he’s approaching. He comes before God as a man in the wrong, but with an expectation that this holy God, who eternally exists in unapproachable light and holiness, also removes sin, erases blame, and restores joy to those who love Him. He is a God who unwaveringly desires to have David in good standing with Him.

I don’t know about you, but being confronted with the awareness of my own sin can be an oppressively cruel experience. Not only am I made aware of how far away I am from the holiness of God (and that distance is light years!), I often compound that feeling by hurling insults at myself, heaping on guilt and shame. I stand before myself as judge, jury, and accuser, certain that God could never accept me or approve of me because I’m just not good enough. And I wouldn’t be wrong. I’m not good enough. I never will be. I could never meet up to the standards of the holiness of God on my own.

But here’s the good news: God knows that. And He’s made a way for those who love Him to have access to Him in order to receive His forgiveness, which He freely extends through Christ. This is the God we serve.

So when I come before God, humbly aware of my sin, I don’t have to abuse myself, bowing beneath the weight of self-hatred and defeat. I can approach Him boldly and with confidence because, just like David, I have a “God-awareness.” I know the God I come before, and He silences the accusations, dismisses the guilt, and loves me out of my shame. Not only that, but every time I approach Him in humility and expectation, He makes me more like Him.


Erin Rose lives and works in vibrant Richmond, Virginia, where she serves as Worship & Teaching Pastor at East End Fellowship.  She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, and is currently enrolled as a graduate student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  Erin is a member of Urban Doxology, a ministry that is writing the soundtrack of reconciliation for the church. Her greatest joy lies in leading God’s people in authentic worship, and teaching them the truth found in God’s Word. She also enjoys eating delicious food, spending time with loved ones, and indulging in the occasional Netflix binge.

  • Robertcrync

    benign web site Jarle Thorsen Singapore

  • Ariana Gray

    Our God is so merciful. This text has me thinking about the sins I’ve committed and how God brought me through when I prayed for forgiveness and a way out. I just thank Him for continuing to give me another chance knowing that I’ll sin again and again because of the flesh and temptation of this fallen world.

  • Alyssa Baker

    I don’t think about my sin much, and I should. If I did, I think I’d give myself and others more grace, “Every time I approach him in humility, he makes me more like him.” Father, I want to seek after you by confessing my sin. Create a clean spirit within me. Give me courage to come to you with my iniquities. I fall short every day, and I’m so thankful that you are my constant.

    • Ally

      Yes so true! The more we realize our sin and the extent of God’s grace, the more willing we will be to show grace to others.

  • Ashleigh Rivers

    “Every time I approach him in humility, he makes me more like him”. This was a great way to sum up the psalm!

  • Maggie Kinnucan

    We are going through 2 Samuel right now and the story does not get easier after he sleeps with Bathsheba as many of you know. Yesterday the sermon was on forgiveness and I loved how the preacher described it, forgiveness is accepting the debt of whatever hurt you or caused you pain, it is taking on that pain and not bringing it up passively or using it against someone later. Our sin is like a spiral staircase we are constantly revisited by the wounds of our debts, as David learns throughout 2 Samuel, but the amazing thing is when that pain resurfaces and we are tempted to hurt someone who has hurt us or to make someone else pay the debt of our pain we can take that brokenness back to the Lord who gave us Jesus so that slowly there may be work done in ending the cycle of debt amassing and debt accruing that has left all us with deep, deep wounds. Praying for this community today that whatever pain you carry, whatever debt is keeping you from the fullness of Christ’s love, that you can begin to bring that sin piece by piece to the Beloved who has already paid the price for your heartache. You are not alone sisters, He is there.

  • Pabloadume

    Happens even more cheerfully :)

  • Alexis Gray

    I so needed this in the worst way. Thank you!

  • The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart. So glad I can come to him in my brokenness and not have to wait till I’m fixed up!

  • The last paragraph of the reflection brought to mind Hebrews 4:16:
    Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.
    In those times of guilt and self-accusation, this is the truth I must hold on to.

  • Love this authenticity! I know I have for SURE been there and am always humbled when God brings me to a new level of self-awareness because then I become more aware of my need for him.

  • Thank you Erin.

  • Diane Haller

    “Restore to me the joy of my salvation and sustain in me a willing spirit, then I will teach sinners your ways…” what a reminder to cry out to God for joy in our salvation and to remain “willing” oh, how I want to teach sinners HIS ways and watch them come to Him…when I remember the joy of my salvation…rambling thoughts here, but so encouraged this morning to press forward in a particular situation with a family member who needs Christ! ❤️

  • This is one of my favorite Psalms. Whenever I read this, I’m humbled that even though I screw up, God still loves me. This is my go to Psalm to pray to God when I have royally messed up. Thank you for your words today.

  • Jess Rivera

    Amen!! One of my favorites psalms in the book!❤️

  • Bunny Perry

    Erin, your words of “dismisses the guilt” hit me today. It always seems that we are the ones that can’t forgive ourselves! I myself bow down with my guilt. I am the first person to tell others that they have no reason to feel guilty, Our God is a forgiving God and has forgiven you. Stop beating yourself up. But it is a hard thing to do. Thank you for reminding me that God is with me and has forgiven me and is giving me the tools to learn and move on!

  • When God created us, He did not make a mistake in designing us to get tired, hungry, and emotional. So often I think I need to be a robot who works nonstop to earn His favor, when what He desires is for me to rest in and seek Him alone. Lord equip me for the work you’ve called me to, but never let the work replace the giver of all things.

  • Thank you Father for the God-awareness that You have placed inside of me. Thank You because Your truth is my truth. Thank You because I can be holy because You are holy. Help me not to beat myself up for my sin but help me instead to humbly bow before You in surrender in Spirit & truth.

  • Fegan Tracey

    God awareness is mind-blowing. Last week my friend and my pastor asked me to be a Nathan in her life. This is my first “she reads truth” reading that I came across by doing a generic google search, clicking on an article with five or six internet-based women’s bible studies and selected this one that talks about Nathan and self awareness! The day I did speak to my friend as her Nathan I quoted the same scripture she had read that morning for her own personal bible study from Ephesians. God awareness. WOW.

  • Jessica McCreary

    Love this scripture!!! Keeps me reminded of how great His love is for me! ❤️❤️❤️

  • Shannon Sims

    it’s always great to be reminded that we have a forgiving God who loves us in spite of our mess!

  • Penny McAuley

    Churchmouse, thank you!

  • Kelly Chataine

    Why does it always seem the SRT writers are looking into my windows, better yet, into my heart? It is due to God’s goodness, love, and His yearning to have me right with Him! Isn’t He amazing! As I described yesterday, my life is a bit rough and extremely tiring. What I neglected to confess was my anger. I was so angry. Well, rest assured, I have confessed my anger to our Lord and He has made me right! Praise God!

  • Thank you. This was so spot-on for me today!

  • Brittany Holmes

    LORD, forgive me if I ever start to think I’ve got things figured out. I am desperate for your mercy because I have no good thing dwelling in my flesh. The things I want to do, I don’t. The things I don’t want to do, I do. But, let’s be real God. I usually get into trouble for doing what I want despite what You said. You’re holy and can’t stand to be in he presence of sin. Although your Son’s blood covers me and makes me righteous in Your sight, I still feel distance when I choose my way over Yours. So cleanse me, please. Restore me to the fellowship we had. Mend my testimony. Help me obey.

  • Erin, this spoke to my heart so keenly this morning. Loved hearing your take and a remembrance that part of asking for forgiveness is understanding how great God is, not just how great our sin is. And as a fellow Gordon grad, it was extra cool! :)

  • Kathy Valentine

    Oops, it’s Leslie Phillips, not Margaret Becker!

  • Kathy Valentine

    Love the last two sentences of the devotion. Reminds me of that Margaret Becker song from the 90’s “It’s Your kindness that leads us to repentance, O Lord. Knowing that You love us, no matter what we do. Makes us want to love You, too.”

  • Just finished reading Micah 6 with the First 5 app study from Proverbs 31 Ministries. The verses tell us about the goodness of God and what He requires. He wants us to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. I just felt like these devotions went together today. We need to repent, think of God’s goodness and greatness, let Him wash us clean and forgive us, and guide us to do His will and work. Oh, just a reminder. It’s the National Day of Prayer. God has been so good to us. Thank You, God!

  • “every time I approach Him in humility and expectation, He makes me more like Him”.
    Thank you God for forgiving me of my sin and making me more like you every time I approach you

  • Churchmouse

    Psalm 51-awareness and confession of sin – should be followed by reading Psalm 32 —forgiveness of sin and reconciliation to God. It is well with my soul when I read these two consecutively.

    • Tina

      Morning friend…

      I love this idea…. !

      Hugs across the pond wrapped in love and prayers.. x

    • claire

      Loved the idea, and yes, they fit so well together. Comfort to my soul.

    • Kay

      Thank you for sharing that thought. Reading them together brought additional reassurance and comfort this morning.

    • Tricia Cavanaugh

      Thank you for pointing that out Churchmouse. As soon as I turned to Psalm 32 in my NLT it said it should be read with Psalm 51. Something I would have totally missed.
      I do love how these go together.
      I have missed your comments and suggestions. Thank you again and peace to you this day. ❤️

      • Churchmouse

        SRT is having a problem with its mobile app vs. website. Not all comments are visible to both sites. So even though I’ve posted a comment every day, not all of them are visible. The team is working to fix the problem. I was wondering myself why folks were saying they missed me lol I’ve been here. I love this community!

    • Sharon Buys

      Awww i love this! Thank you❤️

    • April L

      Thank you Church mouse. That was a good idea, I enjoyed reading Psalm 32. I hope I remember to do this each time I read Psalm 51.

    • PamC

      Thanks Churchmouse

    • Clare

      Thank you for this insight! I have never put them together but they fit so well. Really appreciate your thoughts on here.

Further Reading...