Give Me a Clean Heart

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

God’s children are not called to come before God’s throne with a list of accomplishments, or merits or goodness; they are called, says Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 26, to come with the humility that “…offers nothing but our need for mercy.” Such a cry for mercy comes from our “dying-away of the old self” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33, Question and Answer 88) which expresses that we are “genuinely sorry for our sin and more and more…hate and run away from it” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33, Question and Answer 89).

The gifts of renewal and pardon come only “through true faith” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7, Question and Answer 20) and are “gifts of sheer grace, granted solely by Christ’s merits” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7, Question and Answer 21). The very act of faith is to plead for his mercy.

Additional Prayers

A Prayer for Lent
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, you forgave those who killed you. Forgive me too. I am not worthy, not worthy, not nearly worthy of all your blessings. I am soiled by my sin and stained by my past. I’ve got scorn in my heart, arrogance in my heart, contempt for people whose heart is purer than mine. So give me a clean heart, Lord, and I will follow thee. Amen
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Merciful God, we cannot stand before you
unless our hearts are cleansed and our spirits are made right by your redeeming.
Thank you for your merciful forgiveness,
and even more for your transforming love
made known to us in Jesus the Savior. Amen.

Tune Information

E♭ Major
Meter refrain

Musical Suggestion

Douroux wrote “Give Me a Clean Heart,” a beautiful, lyrical song of confession, in 1970. The tempo of the song should be moderate to slow. I’ve heard it sung with the pick-up notes taken much too fast by people who are not familiar with the performance practice of this piece. It needs to be sung almost like a long-metered spiritual. A good metronome marking is eighth note = 60. The song can be played effectively on organ or piano. I prefer organ because of its sustaining ability and the solemn and secure quality it brings to this composition.
Typical of this style, the refrain is for the congregation, and an additional solo part develops the theme. It can be sung with a soloist who is not afraid to improvise, a common practice with gospel music. The notes are written as a reference point. Two precautions—the soloist must improvise within the chordal and rhythmic structure. If you do not have a soloist with jazz or gospel singing experience, the notes that are written will be sufficient for congregational singing.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 54)
— Charsie Sawyer
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.