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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 36 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Playable presentation: Lyrics only, lyrics + music
Audio files: MIDI, Recording

Song available on My.Hymnary

Representative Text

1 God, be merciful to me,
on your grace I rest my plea;
your compassions overflow,
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 your grace
and provoked you to your face;
I confess your judgment just,
speechless, in your mercy trust.

3 I am evil, born in sin;
you desire all truth within.
You alone my Savior are,
teach your wisdom to my heart;
make me pure, your grace bestow,
wash me whiter than the snow.

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

5 Gracious God, my heart renew,
make my spirit right and true;
let me not abandoned be,
let your Spirit dwell in me;
your salvation's joy impart,
steadfast make my willing heart.

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

7 No attempted 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.

8 Prosper Zion in your grace
and her broken walls replace;
then our righteous sacrifice
shall delight your holy eyes;
freewill off'rings, gladly made,
on your altar shall be laid.

Source: Christian Worship (2021): Psalter #51D

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
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)



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The Cyber Hymnal #1707
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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #255
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Christian Worship (2021) #51D

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Trinity Psalter Hymnal #51C

Include 16 pre-1979 instances
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