Most Powerful Prayers # 86 – Wash me Clean

Psalm 51.  (Directions) For the choir director: This is a psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan knows it.

And David sings unto the Lord

1 Have mercy on me, O Lord,
with your unfailing love.
with your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.

2 Wash me clean

Bible Commentarist, Alexander MacLaren², wrote that the “alchemy of the divine love can extract sweet perfumes of penitence and praise out of the filth of sin.”    This prayer, verse 1, Have Mercy on me….is just that.  David has killed Uriah so he can sleep with his wife and have a child.  David has broken several of the ten commandments and now realizes after the fact, Boy I’m in deep.  Oh yes, and 51.5 not part of this prayer says “Lord I am no good, I was born in iniquity¹ and…conceived in sin,” thus blaming everything on the past a though he was an automaton and could not stop this evil from taking over his life.

In verse 13 he realizes that maybe taking it a bit far as he admits that the Lord teaches wisdom and calls out for a “scapegoat” to clean away everyone’s tribe.  This of course is Jesus.


  1.  Iniquity means wickedness, evil and injustice.  It infers that one does not know wrong from right.
  2. Alexander MacLaren was born in Glasgow, Scotland to a non-conformist family, thus making him ineligible to enter either Cambridge or Oxford.  He had a 45 year tenure in Manchester, England.

    The last sermon noted in his register, #6860, was given on November 21, 1904, almost exactly 61 years after his first.  MacLaren died May 10, 1910. His body was cremated and his ashes were buried under a cross he had placed on the family plot years before. The cross bore the words he had chosen: “In Christo, in Pace, in Spe” – in Christ, in Peace, in Hope.

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