When King David committed his infamous transgression, he not only consumed what was not his to have, but he distorted and misused power for his own purposes. He took at least two things that were meant by God for good — the desire for closeness, and the use of power to bring about what is good and right — and employed them for selfish and evil ends. But gladly the story does not end there. As hideous as these sins were, David sought out the mercy of God and found cleansing and wholeness. And somewhere in this process he penned his memorable Psalm 51:

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow … Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”

In essence he was asking God to restore his innocence; to restore his heart to a state of goodness he had before his sin. I’m beginning to believe that is one of the most powerful prayers we can pray. I think this is a part of what Jesus meant when He said we need to become as little children. Not that we would be foolish, but that we would live without malice or fear (“harmless as doves”). And to be clear, going back to innocence does not mean becoming “less than” we are today. It is becoming more. It was the spoiling of our soul that made us less than we were meant to be. Restoring our innocence will make us more whole. And due to our weaknesses, I think we can pray this every day, not because we keep going back to square one, but rather so we can continue our forward movement into purity, as Paul prayed, “That you would be holy and blameless, before Him in love.” So we pray …

“Lord, restore my innocence. Restore my heart to what You meant for it to be. Back before I learned how to deceive and hate and despise another; back before I held someone in contempt or took revenge or maligned them when they were not around; back before I learned to be afraid of what I could not control; before I stopped trusting and believing in good; back before I failed to be what I wanted to be and hated myself for it. Make my heart clean, O God!”

“Restore my heart to innocence!”

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