I thought long and prayed hard about what topic to cover on Day Two of the Prayers for All Seasons series.
One one hand, my “blogger brain” told me I needed to make it something appealing. Some clever concoction to keep our zeal fervent and our enthusiasm strong.
On the other hand, my “Christ-follower spirit” is aware that we don’t need clever concoctions conceived in human brains and worked out with human hands.
We need the power of the Holy Spirit.
I’m also very aware that prayers hindered are wasted prayers.
And nothing hinders our prayers quite like unconfessed sin.
So whether it’s popular or not…
and whether or not it appeals to my sometimes-lukewarm-heart…
it’s critical that we devote a day early in this process toward a focus on repentance.
I’m confident that it won’t be among the most-shared posts in this series.
It won’t be the most pinned or liked or tweeted.
And that’s okay.
Because at its very core, this series isn’t about any of that. It’s about you and me getting good and serious with God about prayer.
We need to get real with God.
Prayers of Repentance
1.)Thank God for His promise that if you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)
2.)Share with God that you are unable to discern the errors of your own heart. Ask Him to cleanse you from faults that you cannot see, as well as from sins you’ve committed intentionally. Pray that you would be free from the dominion of sinful strongholds in your life, becoming blameless and innocent. Ask God that the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart would be acceptable in the sight of your Rock and Redeemer. (Psalm 19:12-14)
3.)Remind God of His promise that if His people who are called by His name humble themselves, and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, then He will hear from heaven and will forgive our sin and heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14) Ask Him to do this very thing – to bring in your own heart a fresh awareness of the seriousness of your sin, and that this work would spread like wildfire among His people.
4.)Repent of any distance between you and the Lord. Tell God of your desire to draw near to Him, and claim His promise to draw near to you. Prayerfully seek His cleansing of your hands and His purification your heart. Spend some time searching your heart with seriousness and humility before the Lord. (James 4:8-10)
5.)Thank God for a godly grief that produces repentance that leads to salvation. Tell God that you will look for the fruits of this repentance in the hours and days ahead: “For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment!” (2 Corinthians 7:9-11)
My dear heavenly Father, you know the depths of my sorrow over my sin. Even though it’s painful, I know this sorrow is a gift of grace. I would far rather be aware of my sin and mourning over it, than to be oblivious of it and self-satisfied, because awareness of it is the first step toward confessing it, repenting of it, forsaking it, and turning back toward You. How I thank You for granting me a fresh awareness of my sin before a holy God! Not so I can wallow or berate myself, but so I can come to the cross for cleansing. I cannot improve upon the prayer of David of Psalm 51, and so I offer it to You now.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to Your steadfast love;
according to Your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in Your sight,
so that You may be justified in Your words
and blameless in Your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being,
and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that You have broken rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Your presence,
and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
and sinners will return to You.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare Your praise.
For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
You will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Do good to Zion in Your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will You delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on Your altar.
Having believed Your promise, I receive Your forgiveness, recognizing that You remove my sin as far as the east is from the west, choosing to remember it no more. There are no words to thank You for this grace. It’s in the name Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen.