Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (Psalm 51:10-12, King James Version)Sometimes it helps me to hear things just a little differently...
God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Don't throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails! (same passage, from Eugene Peterson's "The Message")
I've been thinking about - and amazingly enough, sometimes even praying for - a sense of renewed purpose in my life. Part of me, sad to say, doesn't want me to have to change, but has been waiting for God's mind to change about how things have been in my life.
And yet, another part of me has wanted to just open the door, and throw out all my old hopes, dreams, and fears, and say to God, "I need to empty out all of what I thought I wanted, or needed, or been afraid I would (or woudn't) get. Would you help me clear out my mind, and soul, and fill me with what You want?"
And this morning (for some reason) I woke up early...just snapped awake at 5 AM. So I padded over to the computer to reflect what God would want in the posting I needed to do for my home church's email devotion list today...and this passage came to mind.
Now, I've been hearing the original King James version of this ever since I came back to faith, 14 years ago. And, God help me, there have been times that I have heard it (and said it) like this:
createinmeacleanheartogodandrenewarightspiritwithinme.(And I'm reasonably sure I'm not the only one who's ever done that.)
That's why "The Message" is such a gift to me - it says things in ways that just slaps me awake and says, "Do you hear what you're reading?"
Create a Genesis week in me from the chaos in my life, Lord. Start with the raw matter of my life - the mud and the gunk and the goo - and begin Creation all over again in me. Don't toss me out, like I sometimes feel You should, as the trash I certainly can become, most days. Blow the fresh wind of your Spirit through the stale air in the rooms of my heart.
In the gray light of a cold Monday morning, remind me of the beauty of your Creation. Fill me with Your vibrant color - the reds, yellows, blues, greens and purples of your living Rainbow - the sign of Your covenant with us.
Help me sail out onto the seas of life today, toward the unknown shores of Your plan for my life, filled with Your spirit, and not my own. Let there be joy in my journey today, Lord - that others might see You in me, and share in that joy. Amen.
(Only problem is, now I'm ready to go back to bed...figures.)