Psalms 51:1-12

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.

Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.


In His Presence

My Lenten experience is a journey of accepting responsibility for my transgressions as I stumble through the barriers that separate me from God’s presence.

The first commandment says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3 KJV)  This is an easy commandment to ignore and results in a detachment from God’s guidance.  The world is full of distractions…work, church, family, exercise, computer time, TV, social commitments, reading, etc. I am an expert at putting my agenda before time with God.  My actions are like a hummingbird, flitting from one flower to another; I dart here and there crossing items off my list.  It takes a conscious effort to spend time in God’s presence.

When I participated in a formational prayer class, I discovered a key to meeting God in my personal space.  I find a quiet spot, close my eyes and imagine He is sitting next to me.  I breathe deeply, slowly repeating to myself, “God is Love… God is… God…” until I can rest in His presence.  Then I listen.  I don’t ask; I don’t confess.  This silence is our time together.

It was hard in the beginning, and is still hard some days.  But ten minutes a day creates “in me a clean heart” and puts “a new and right spirit within me.” (Psalms 51:10) Renewed energy transforms my day.

Prayer:  Father, I am grateful for your presence.  I know that Lent is a season to process your gift of love for me through your Son’s life, death and resurrection.  I ask for forgiveness for the times I stray from your guidance.  I surrender to you and give you my times of silence to rest in your JOY.

Paula Rugen

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