God, Be Merciful to Me

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

Tune: REDHEAD NO. 76
Confession Songs
Published in 26 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Full Text

1 God, be merciful to me;
on your grace I rest my plea.
My transgressions I confess;
grief and guilt my soul oppress.
Wash me, make me pure within;
cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin.

2 Gracious God, my heart renew;
make my spirit right and true.
In your presence let me stay;
by your Spirit show the way.
Your salvation's joy impart,
steadfast make my willing heart.

3 So shall sinners be restored
and return to you, their Lord;
Savior, all my guilt remove,
and my tongue shall sing your love;
touch my silent lips, O Lord,
and my mouth shall praise accord.

4 Not the formal sacrifice
has acceptance in your eyes;
broken hearts are in your sight
more than sacrificial rite;
contrite spirit, pleading cries,
you, O God, will not despise.

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

Source: Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #623

Text Information

First Line: God, be merciful to me, On Thy grace I rest my plea
Title: God, Be Merciful to Me
Source: Psalter, 1912
Language: English
Refrain First Line: Gracious God, my heart renew
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



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]



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The Cyber Hymnal #1707
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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #255
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Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #622TextAudio
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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #255Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
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The Cyber Hymnal #1707TextScoreAudio
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Include 15 pre-1979 instances