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Are Cleansing Prayers Biblical?

A few months ago, I was watching one of those HGTV shows where a young couple purchases a fixer-upper. This couple worked for weeks transforming this house. Just before moving in, they had a cleansing ceremony for their new home. They stated their purpose was to rid the house of any unclean spirits and negative energy.

I will admit, I thought this was crazy. But I took a moment to think about the practice of cleansing. In my Christian walk don’t I practice a cleansing every morning when I pray? What does the Bible tell us about cleansing prayers? Are cleansing prayers actually biblical?

What Is a Cleansing Prayer?

There are many definitions for cleansing prayer. In the Christian worldview, we define prayer as communication with God. To say a cleansing prayer, we have changed our objective. We want to communicate with God about the sinful nature of our hearts and minds. The purpose becomes one that makes our physical, spiritual, and emotional state clean again.

Cleansing is more than washing your dishes or achieving ‘Fung Shui.’ It is the process of clearing our minds of the filth of the world. It helps us to get our hearts and minds in the proper place. When we bow and pour out our hearts to God, we are revealing our need for repentance. This act reveals our determination to live a life that exudes Christ in every orifice.

Cleansing prayers also reveal our need for a Savior. They remind us that we have a creator God and redeeming God. With these prayers, we are asking God to forgive us. You are bringing your past to the feet of Jesus. The ultimate end to cleansing prayer is that you leave all that dirt and filth of sin at the foot of the cross. You do not pick it up and carry it back with you.

Is It Biblical to Say a Cleansing Prayer?

My belief is that cleansing prayers are very biblical. I believe that we should say them just as our ancestors did. To prove my point, consider these passages:

In 2 Corinthians 7:1, Paul says “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” Paul is writing to the people of Corinth. He considers them friends and desires for them to have a close, intimate relationship with God. In this verse, Paul is telling them how to have that close relationship with the Father.

Another passage to consider is 1 John 1:9. Here we read that if we confess our sins, God is faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we trust in Jesus, we can be assured that he will forgive us, but we must ask for forgiveness through repentance. God will do a work in us if we only allow him to use us. James 4:8 says that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. For us to be near God we must cleanse our hands, hearts, and minds.

A third passage for us to consider is Psalm 51:10. This verse says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” A pure heart can only be achieved by a process of cleansing. When the writer asks for God to renew a steadfast spirit in them, they are recognizing that cleansing is an ongoing process with God. This verse also reminds us that we are only responsible for our hearts. If we are not working to cleanse ourselves, then we cannot effectively do the work God has given us.

We can clearly see that God wants us to have clean hearts. He desires to give us a life of abundant joy and that can only be done if we confess and repent our sins to Him. We must cleanse our earthly filth.

Examples of Biblical Cleansing Prayers

Cleansing prayers are rooted in the Law of Moses and Abraham. The Israelites could not enter the temple without sacrifice and cleansing. While we no longer bring sacrifices to a temple, we still must cleanse ourselves before God.

Throughout Scripture, there are many examples of cleansing prayers and instructions for us to cleanse ourselves.

Prayers on Cleansing

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” Psalm 51:2

“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7

“Because on this day of atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you.” Leviticus 16:30

Prayers on How to Be Biblically Clean

“In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” 2 Timothy 2:20-21

“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.” Psalm 24:3-4

“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” John 15:3

“The voice spoke to him a second time, do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” Acts 10:15

Going through the process of becoming and staying clean is essential to the Christian faith. It is not always easy, but God has made it clear that we are repent of our sins and turn away from them. We can experience a transformation as we do this. The best instruction for how to become biblically clean is the one found in Romans 10:9. If we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, we will be saved. We will become clean. As we go through baptism, we are washing away all the filth from our lives. It is a chance to begin anew with a fresh, clear outlook on life.

Final Thoughts

The hymn “Are You Washed in The Blood” is based on Revelation 7:14 which says, “These are they who have come out the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Every time I hear this hymn and read this verse; I know I must be washed in the blood. I must be clean so that I may enter into the presence of the living God.

At first glance, the idea of a cleansing prayer may sound like something from a pagan ceremony. But, if we take the time to dig into Scripture, we can understand that cleansing is still essential today. It is our washing as we come before God in prayer. Each day we wake up we should be saying a cleansing prayer. We should always desire a clean and pure heart.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/olegbreslavtsev 


Ashley Hooker headshotAshley Hooker is a freelance writer who spends her time homeschooling her two children, ministering alongside her husband as he pastors a rural church in West Virginia, and writing about her faith. Currently, she is a contributing author for Journey Christian magazine. She has taken part in mission trips with the NC Baptist Men during the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey in Mississippi and Texas. In her local church, she has served on various committees focusing in the area of evangelism along with traveling to West Virginia and Vermont to share the Gospel. Her dream is to spend her time writing and sharing the love of Christ with all she meets.

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