Psalm 51 is the obvious choice for prayer today, Ash Wednesday. It is King David's prayer of repentance after the prophet Nathan faced him with the fact of his adultery. David truly was crushed when he realized what he had done (let the bones you have crushed rejoice). But I find it curious that he says he has only sinned against God (against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight). Hasn't he sinned against Bathsheba and her husband Uriah? Because of David's position, Bathsheba had no option to refuse him. When she conceives David's child, David hatches a plan to have Uriah sleep with his wife so that Uriah would think the child was his. His plan failed and so he had Uriah killed in battle instead. David's sin kept multiplying, and it is a sordid tale even today.
Although David repented and God forgave him, he still suffered the consequences of his sins. God told David, again through Nathan, that the son conceived in adultery would die. Though David fasted and wept and pleaded with God, God's mind was not changed. The child died (2 Samuel 11 - 12).
So what is the key to understanding this Psalm, the story of David and relating them to our Lenten practice? Although God is merciful and forgiving, slow to anger and rich in mercy, it is better not to sin in the first place. It is from sin that we should fast.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.