A new and20. A new spirit

right spirit

“. . .  and put a new and right spirit within me.”    – Psalm 51:10b

“The LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being”  (Genesis 2:7).

We remember this as that second evocative creation story where God forms humanity out of the soil and then gives mankind the breath of life.   This breath, or wind (as in Genesis 1:1) signifies the very  spirit of God which punctuates several Old Testament texts.

Our story of this royal psalm, Psalm 51, had its beginning when the Lord told Samuel to go and  identify a new king for Israel.  Upon coming before David, the Lord said,

“Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.”  Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward.  (1Samuel 16:12-13)

How fitting it is that after David prays in the first part of this verse for a clean heart, he defines it further in part B by asking God to once again anoint him, and to put in him a new and right spirit.  It’s as though David was asking the Lord to form him anew out of the soil and to breathe life into him once more.

It’s no accident that one of the techniques of meditative prayer centers upon our breathing as we draw in the restoring, healing power of God.  Sometimes it’s simply [inhale]  “Jesus is Lord” [exhale] — repeat.  Or we might pray [inhale] “Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner” [exhale] — repeat.   Join me in the similarly structured breathing prayer below (inhaling before each line and exhaling after each line)  as we call upon the Holy Spirit to renew and cleanse  our lives.


Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.