God, Be Merciful to Me

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God, be merciful to me, On Thy grace I rest my plea

Tune: REDHEAD NO. 76
Confession Songs
Published in 43 hymnals

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Representative Text

1 God, be merciful to me,
on Thy grace I rest my plea;
plenteous in compassion Thou,
blot out my transgressions now;
wash me, make me pure within,
cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin.

2 My transgressions I confess,
grief and guilt my soul oppress;
I have sinned against Thy grace
and provoked Thee to Thy face;
I confess Thy judgment just,
speechless, I Thy mercy trust.

3 I am evil, born in sin;
Thou desirest truth within.
Thou alone my Savior art,
teach Thy wisdom to my heart;
make me pure, Thy grace bestow,
wash me whiter than the snow.

4 Broken, humbled to the dust
by Thy wrath and judgment just,
let my contrite heart rejoice
and in gladness hear Thy voice;
from my sins O hide Thy face,
blot them out in boundless grace.

5 Gracious God, my heart renew,
make my spirit right and true;
cast me not away from Thee,
let Thy Spirit dwell in me;
Thy salvation's joy impart,
steadfast make my willing heart.

6 Sinners then shall learn from me
and return, O God, to Thee;
Savior, all my guilt remove,
and my tongue shall sing Thy love;
touch my silent lips, O Lord,
and my mouth shall praise accord.

7 Not the formal sacrifice
hath acceptance in Thy eyes;
broken hearts are in Thy sight
more than sacrificial rite;
contrite spirit, pleading cries,
Thou, O God, wilt not despise.

8 Prosper Zion in Thy grace
and her broken walls replace;
then our righteous sacrifice
shall delight Thy holy eyes;
free-will offerings, gladly made,
on Thy altar shall be laid.

Source: Psalms and Hymns to the Living God #51

Text Information

First Line: God, be merciful to me, On Thy grace I rest my plea
Title: God, Be Merciful to Me
Language: English
Refrain First Line: Gracious God, my heart renew
Copyright: Public Domain
Liturgical Use: Confession Songs


Scripture References:
st.1 = Ps. 51:1-3
st.2 = Ps. 51:4,8
st.3 = Ps. 51:10-12
st.4 = Ps. 51:13-14,17,19

Based on Psalm 51, the best-known of the penitential psalms, “God, Be Merciful” is a collation from the complete versification of the psalm in the 1912 Psalter. Making various alterations, especially in stanza 3, Bert Polman (PHH 37) prepared the collation to provide a shortened version of this well-known psalm and tune for the Psalter Hymnal. Other settings of Psalm 51 are at 51 and 167.

Liturgical Use:
Service of confession and forgiveness; a sung prayer for renewal (st. 3); offering of gifts (st. 4). See also PHH 51.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988



REDHEAD 76 is named for its composer, who published it as number 76 in his influential Church Hymn Tunes, Ancient and Modern (1853) as a setting for the hymn text "Rock of Ages." It has been associated with Psalm 51 since the 1912 Psalter, where the tune was named AJALON. The tune is also known as P…

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[God, be merciful to me] (Miner)

REFUGE (Holbrook)



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Include 22 pre-1979 instances
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