“Father, hear my prayer. There is a need in my heart from the soil in my soul. Please cleanse me of all my sin.
Take away everything in me that does not confess Thee as my Lord, tha does not have Thy name on it, that is resistant to Thy Spirit, and unworthy of Thee.
Remove from me all attitudes and opinions and convictions that do not originate from Thee and conform to Thy will and every desire and motive and ambition in conflict with Thy purpose. Take away anything that runs and hides when You enter, that laughs when I believe, that squirms when I pray, and fears when I trust.
Whatever in me that does not give Thee joy, make Thee proud, or honor Thy name, I hereby give my permission for it to be gone.
Anything that holds me back, weights me down, cheapens my praise, dampens Thy fire within me, and threatens my future effectiveness, please remove.
By the precious blood of Jesus, purge my iniquity.
In the matchless name of Jesus, make me clean.
For the wonderful sake of Jesus, draw me to Thee.
Make me whole and holy and wholesome.
Make me right and upright and righteous.
Give me a heart that wants only to do Thy will, that answers only to Thy call, and serves only to hear Thy ‘well done, good and faithful servant.’
“We do not know how to pray as we should,” admitted the great Apostle Paul. We may say with confidence that if he didn’t, it’s a sure bet that the rest of us don’t either. And yet prayer to the Savior is our lifeline in this dangerous world. As the Apostle Peter watched the multitudes drifting away from Jesus because of His tough teachings, he confessed, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”
The prayer above is intended to encourage us all to face up to the matter of ingrained and entrenched sin in our lives. It’s so subtle, we often don’t recognize it; it appears to be part of us; yet it is foreign matter and needs to be excised.
This prayer is about uprooting every weed in my life, every tare put there by the enemy. It’s about belonging to the Savior and Him alone. Of being free of all that says ‘no’ to God’s ‘yes.’ Liberated from anything that puts the brakes to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. That keeps us earthbound when God bids us soar. That dampens our creativity, hinders our freedom, stifles our laughter, smothers our joy, and walls us in from one another.
God wants His children free to laugh and sing and serve Him. To love without fear, give without regret, and pray without doubt. He wills us to worship without limit, to witness without a thought to ourselves, and to know how precious we are to Him without undermining that knowledge by our own low self-esteem. To revel in the promise of glory while enjoying a touch of heaven now.
To be clean is a wonderful thing, but it’s only the first thing. If this prayer ended here, it would be incomplete and partial since the focus of it is only on myself. The reason we pray to be clean and pure and whole is so that then we can do two huge things God has on His agenda for us: give Him the kind of worship He is due and serve Him in this world.
A heavenly elder said to the Apostle John, “These have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God and they serve Him day and night in His temple.” (Revelation 7:14-15) Worship and service, there they are.
Being too human and terminally self-indulgent and lazy, we prefer to skip the washing. Stand by the exit of any public restroom and be horrified at the numbers who walk past the wash basins and parade out the doors eagerly going forth to share their germs with the waiting world.
Just inside the Pediatric ICU, the nurse informed us that before we would be allowed to approach the bedside of our new-born, premature granddaughters, we would have to wash. At a large sink operated by foot pedals, we scrubbed with sanitary brushes saturated with their own medicated soap. “Three minutes, minimum,” the nurse said. Three minutes seems like thirty when you’re standing at a sink washing your hands. “You’d be surprised how resistant germs are,” she commented.
How resistant sin is. We would be surprised.
The heart must be washed and purified, the contamination uprooted, nailed, cauterized, bleached, and destroyed. Tomorrow, we will require a fresh session of confession and cleansing once again. Sin is persistent.
Interestingly, the Scripture does not call sin black as we might expect, but red. “Though your sins be as scarlet,” God says, “They shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) Ask any mother what a red sock in the washing machine does to a load of whites.
A few years back, the church I was pastoring was preparing to dedicate its new sanctuary. As I approached the office entrance, I noticed a red dirt stain on the sidewalk. This would not do. It needed washing down with a pressure scrubber. “We tried that,” said the custodian. “That dirt was sealed in the concrete by the men who poured it. The only way you can get it out is to remove the sealer, scrub it down, then put a new sealer on it.”
“Father, I feel like that sidewalk. Open me and cleanse me deeply. Then seal me by Thy Spirit. Amen.”