Helping Broken People Treasure Jesus How a Broken Person Prays

May 23, 2021 | Buster Brown

"Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 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. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness." Psalm 51:9-14

Our desire is to “help(ing) broken people treasure Jesus”. 

David has been confronted by Nathan the prophet (2 Samuel 12) and his adultery, multiple murders, and deceit have been exposed. In the aftermath of this public exposure of David’s heinous acts, he writes Psalm 51.  

Three Elements to a Broken Person’s Prayer

1. “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (v.10a)

(In the battle between sin and grace in the life of the believer)…although the remaining sin, for a time, may prevail, yet, through the continual supply of strength from the empowering/sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part does overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, pursuing holiness in the fear of God.Westminster Confession, Chapter 13, Section 3

“These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.” Psalm 104:27-30

Create = to form by cutting or carving.

David is underscoring the fact that God must empower and sustain. 

“Give what you command and command what you will.” Augustine (d. 430)

2. Renew/repair an unwavering and durable spirit within me (v. 10b). And, restore/do it again the joy of your salvation. (v.12a)

“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.”  

Psalm 23:3

“Who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's?”  

Psalm 103:5 

“And he will turn (restore) the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”  

Malachi 4:6

The goal of this confession is not self-abasement but a deep desire for the renewal of the joy and gladness that faithful believers have before Abba Father.

3. Uphold (sustain unflinchingly) me with a willing (noble, ready and spontaneous) spirit. (v. 12b) 

“Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope!” Psalm 119:116

“Such a spirit is God’s own antidote to temptation; that positive delight in his will which David had largely lost in his prosperity.” Derek Kidner, Psalms, Vol. 1, p.210


1. Why is David able to go from despair to hope? (v. 7-9)

2. In Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, what did Christian discover regarding a fire burning against a wall in the Interpreter's house? 

3. What does the following statement mean: “Believers never lose the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, but can forfeit the comfort and empowering strength the Holy Spirit brings, because they have grieved him due to sin or indifference”? (Ephesians 4:30) 

“The Holy Spirit is not just something divine, or something akin to God, emanating from him, not some sort of action at a distance or some type of gift detachable from himself, for in the Holy Spirit, God acts directly upon us himself, and in giving us his Holy Spirit, God gives us nothing less than himself.” Thomas Torrance 

4. What are some ways we can lose our joy? (Note: Galatians 4:15a and the importance of Faith Alone in Christ Alone)

5. What is a “willing spirit”? 

New City Catechism

Question 38: What is prayer?

A: Prayer is pouring out our hearts to God in praise, petition, confession of sin, and thanksgiving.