Daily Word of Grace # 252 (May 31, 2021)
A particularly powerful prayer in the service of The Holy Eucharist in The Book of Common Prayer is the Collect for Purity: “Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen” (355). We pray this near the very beginning of the service because the truth is that our hearts need to be cleansed because as the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse—who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) and as Jesus stated, “Out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person” (Matthew 15:19-20). It is little wonder then that in the psalm we read every year on Ash Wednesday, Psalm 51, David wrote, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). We ask God to “cleanse the thoughts of our hearts” not just as an end in and of itself but also in order to enable us to love and worship God more genuinely. Moreover, this divine cleansing of our hearts is also related to healing, for the same Holy Spirit whose inspiration cleanses our hearts moves to heal them as well—“He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
Love and Prayers,