Perking Up Our Prayers with Confession

In our past thoughts on prayer we looked at the value of adoration language in our prayers.  We saw that in describing God’s awesome qualities we come closer to appreciating Him.

There is another way to make our prayers more meaningful and powerful. There is deep benefit to confessing our sins and admitting our need for strength and guidance from the Father. The second naturally follows the first.

Confessing our sins and short fallings helps us to empty our pride and make room for God’s guidance.  Confession does not always come easy. It requires admission of imperfection and exposes our frailty.  Don’t we avoid exposing our sins? Many of us build elaborate covers to hide what we don’t want others to know about us. The truth is, God already knows.  Remember what the Psalm 90:8 says, “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.”  It is foolish to believe otherwise (Isaiah 29:15), for God knows the secrets of man and He knows our hearts and intentions (Acts 15:8; Hebrews 4:12).  Telling God what we have done wrong is the beginning of cleansing and renewal (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9).

Confessing specific sins and failures helps us to identify clearly where we need help.  Exposing the problem brings the realization of needed change.  Change will not happen until we see our need to change.  Most any twelve step program for addicts include the need for confession.  No one works on a problem until they recognize that they have one.  King David is the prime example of hiding his sin so well that even he was blind to it until Nathan’s “You are that man” speech (2 Samuel 12:7).  After that recognition David’s heart softened and he confessed his sinfulness and sought God’s forgiveness (Psalm 51).

There is quite a bit of pain involved in confession that leads to repentance.  So much so that it is often described as “crushing” or “breaking” (Psalm 51:8; 34:18).  We are not going to find it easy to come face to face with the enormity of the consequences of sin.

Hearing our own call for help with a struggle will anchor us in our humility.  Recognizing our weakness drives us to the realization that we cannot overcome sin without God’s help.  None of us are able to live sin-free (Romans 3:23).  No one can live sinless and worthy of heavenly reward.  Confessing to God that we are relying on His grace, strength and help is a powerful key to finding God’s help in the time of trouble (Psalm 46:1).  We should all remember these comforting words:

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).
“For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?” (Deuteronomy 4:7)
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you… (James 4:8)

And perhaps most appropriate to our thoughts here…

“Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up” (Hosea 6:1).

Confession is good for the soul.  It strengthens our connection to God and is an important aspect of prayer.

Joseph D. Chase
Missionary to Jamaica
1813 LeSage Ct
Denton, TX 76208
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