“The reason we must ask God for things He already intends to give us is that He wants to teach us dependence, especially our need for Himself.”
Erwin W. Lutzer
David wrote Psalm 51:10-12 in response to the prophet Nathan’s confrontation regarding David’s adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband Uriah killed in battle. For us today it points to five prayers God loves to answer. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
The first prayer we’re encouraged to make is, “Create in me a pure heart, O God.” David being truly penitent, begged God to cleanse him of his sin. He realized only God could clean his heart and get rid of any impurities. Our hearts control our will and if it’s pure then obedience will follow. Repentance, confession of sin and receiving God’s forgiveness not only creates clean hearts, but restores our relationship with God. When I pray, I ask God to purify the motives of my heart. I want His agenda to be my agenda.
“Renew a steadfast spirit within me,” is the second prayer God loves to answer. David wanted a consistent walk with God, one which caused godliness to reign. When circumstances are like an avalanche suffocating the life out of me and causing anxiety to grow, I need the Holy Spirit to be revived within me. I don’t want to waver in unbelief and doubt God’s will, but be resolute, determined and faithful to fulfill it.
The third prayer God loves to answer is found in verse 11. “Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me.” David was fearful of losing God’s favor and fellowship. Everything hinges on having the presence of God. I have to have His presence with me 24/7. It’s not an option. I realize I am nothing and can do nothing apart from the Holy Spirit being with me. It’s the Holy Spirit which directs me in the way to go and it’s His life-giving prophetic words that encourages and empowers me to obey His call.
Fourthly, we’re exhorted to pray, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.” Sin made David sad, while forgiveness made him glad. We forfeit joy by willful sin. Think back to when you first became a Christian, remembering your first love experience with Jesus and the joy which came with that encounter. Nehemiah 8:10 says our joy in the Lord gives us strength. I need His joy in order to have the energy to fulfill His destiny. It’s my joy in the Lord which keeps me following Him with steadfastness.
David finished the verse by asking God to “grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” David knew left to himself, he would sin again. Like David, I need God to give me a humble spirit, one that is willing to obey Him at all costs. Humility releases God’s grace to endure whatever comes to our hands. (James 4:6) The race we’re called to run is not a sprint, but a marathon and a willing spirit provides the needed nourishment to cross the finish line.
I’m encouraged to pray for: my heart to be made clean through repentance and forgiveness, my resolute to be revived through God’s Spirit, God’s presence to be present with me at all times, my joy in Him be renewed, and a humble, willingness to obey so there’s grace to endure. Those are the five prayers God loves to answer.