I thank you, my dear God,
that I have learned not to begin faith by my own efforts,
nor attempt to destroy my sin with my own repentance.
I might do this before other people
and be acceptable to the world and its judges.
But with you, O God, there is an eternal wrath
which I cannot satisfy,
and before it I would despair.
Therefore I thank you that Another
has seized and carried my sins
and has made atonement for them.
With joy I wish to believe this.
It seems so very right and comforting to me.
But I cannot believe it by myself,
and I find no power in me to convince myself.
I cannot comprehend it as I ought.
Lord, lead me, help me.
Give me the power and the gift to believe.
I plead, as did David:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.”
I am unable to create a new and clean heart: it is your work and creation.
I cannot create the sun and moon
and make them rise and shine brightly in the heavens
any more than I can make the heart clean and give myself a right spirit,
a strong and firm frame of mind that is unbending and unwavering
and that will not doubt or mistrust your Word.
Help us daily to increase in faith.
Though the world should topple and all conspire against us,
and though the devil were to destroy every creature,
grant that I may not fall.
By your divine help let me remain in the Gospel.
Martin Luther, 1483 – 1546, German Reformer
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.