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The Cleansing Power of Prayer (Psalm 19)

Updated: Feb 24

“Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.”

-Psalm 19:12

I am so grateful that the Bible speaks to our intellect and answers our questions, but all of that knowledge does not profit us until we also pray. If the Bible exposes stains, it is prayer that removes them. True prayer is something much greater than listing off requests or sending our verbal thank-you notes up to heaven. To pray means to actually go to where God’s Word is pulling us. True prayer is like a man who is no longer content to study the properties of water; he finally pours some into a cup and drinks it for himself. He can feel it nourishing the thirsty fibers of his being. To pray is to pursue a direct line of communication and communion with God. 

Heartfelt prayer poses a dangerous threat to selfishness and sin. It deals a costly blow to complacency. In the presence of God, when we sincerely seek Him, we may discover more of our secret faults in one time of prayer than the prayer-less Christian finds in many years of church attendance. This is true in the same way that books and videos about the science behind light will not cast out darkness from a room. Only light itself can cast out darkness! We need the real thing, shining out from its source, if we want to watch the shadows flee.

If Jesus is the light of the world, then it follows that He is not only able to expose things as they are, but He is sufficient to cast out darkness. King David reveals our need for light, saying, “Who can understand his errors?” We cannot see ourselves clearly; we need the light of God’s Word to shine on us. David did not only pray, “Show me my secret faults.” He called on God to cleanse and to rid him of those faults, even the ones he did not know about yet. Someone might say, “Now, don’t get ahead of yourself; we will not be fully pure on this side of eternity.” Yet, the man after God’s own heart cries louder, “Cleanse me!” In other words, “I don’t care about a theological debate. I can't stand the filth of sin. I need to be clean ‘from every defilement of body and spirit’” (2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV).

Only a person who has taken time to adore the beauty of Jesus' face and receive the unmerited love of Jesus will have this kind of insistent cry from the` heart. It comes from tasting and seeing that He is good, so much that we despise what separates us from Him.

How do we kick the darkness out of the room of our souls? We turn the light on, and keep it on. Begin by keeping regular, devoted times with Him. Seek Him daily. Maintain a habit of showing up to seek His face. In the same way that we habitually show up to work, report to our bosses, spend time with our spouse and children, and so on, God wants an appointment with us.

When we walk away from that focused time with God, we should make sure we take Him with us! After seeking God privately, we do not need to walk around with the lights off in our spiritual house. We can keep the light of Jesus’ face shining on our souls all day long. Psalm 16:8 states, “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” We continually set the Lord before us no matter where we are. As you walk through mundane everyday life, doing the work God has called you to, having ordinary conversations, you can say with David, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Scripture states that, in heaven, there will no longer be any night. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This world will be dark, but our hearts can experience continual daytime through the cleansing power of prayer. Even in this life, we are invited to enjoy a foretaste of heaven, where “the Lord God will be their light” (Revelation 22:5 ESV).

-Pastor Alex

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