In his message at TGC Chicago’s 2022 Regional Conference, H. B. Charles explains what happens in David’s heart during his prayer of confession in Psalm 51. Through this psalm, we learn that confession and repentance can lead us to joy as we follow David’s example.

First, David prays, “Forgive me,” which is essential to moving forward in our relationship with God once we’ve sinned against him. He prays based on God’s character—knowing God is full of abundant mercy. This confession allows David to take full responsibility for his sin and frees us to do the same when we’ve sinned.

Second, David prays for a “clean heart,” asking God to change him. This is a divine miracle of spiritual transformation, which is impossible without prayer and trust in the Holy Spirit’s power.

Last, David asks to be used for God’s glory. Grace and the power of forgiveness should be what motivates us to evangelism and care for others.

“The prayer of confession is intricately tied to the prayer of intercession,” says Charles. Closing with this challenge, he says, “Godliness is characterized by joy, but joy and sin cannot coexist.” If we’ve lost our joy, let us confess our sins and run to God in repentance and belief in the gospel of Jesus that saves us.