Confession

Once you begin praising God for who He is, you will begin to see yourself as you really are. Hmm. That's always a scary sight for me. We've got issues, don't we? That's where praise will lead us--right to God's feet and in full view of our need for him. But if we confess our sin (call it by it's ugly, honest name!), God clears our hearts for communication. Now our prayers can actually be heard and answered.
Psalm 32:5 (NLT) "Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, 'I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.' And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone."


A Confession of injustice


Dear Lord God,

You forgive us when we confess our sins,
and you give grace when we confess the sins of our ancestors--
of our family and our city and our country.

So I confess the great wickedness of our nation
at oppressing the poor,
marginalizing women, minorities, the elderly, and the ill,
enslaving the African-Americans,
red-lining poor communities,
indenturing and imprisoning the uneducated and underprivileged.

I confess our systemic white privilege,
even as I want to believe I am not a benefactor of it.
I confess our sins of racism and segregation,
even as I say that I have not overtly participated in any of it.
It is our heritage, and we are wrong to minimize its legacy.

I confess the church's sins of politicizing moral issues,
of drawing party lines through issues of compassion, grace, and mercy--
of using topics of mass incarceration, death penalty, immigration, life, and welfare
to divide party lines and provide ease and security for the privileged.
I confess these sins on behalf of the countless Christians who claim your name but do not behave like you did.

We do not touch the diseased,
help the prostitute,
protect the children,
shelter the foreigner,
or befriend the poor.

You condemned the religious rule-followers.
You called them serpents, dirty dishes, tombs.
You hated their sacrifices and their charitable donations and their prayers.
They made you angry.

We are them.
Oh, too often, we are them.
How angry do we make you
when we cry, "Lock him up!"
"Kill them all!"
"Take her children away!"

We do your name such injustice
when we prevent your creation from experiencing justice.

I confess it all.
I bear the blame.
May we all bear it,
and then, may we change.

Change us, oh God!
It's what you do best.
Instead of praying "Change them," change us!
and it's how the world will see that you are a God of love and justice.

Amen.

"Oh, Lord, we acknowledge our wickedness and the guilt of our fathers; we have indeed sinned against you. For the sake of your name, do not despise us; do not dishonor your glorious throne. Remember the covenant with us and do not break it. Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? Therefore, our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this." (Jeremiah 14:20-22)

I'm sorry I've been away

Lord,

I'm sorry I've been away for awhile.
I let my daily routines consume my time.
I let my mind fill up with lists and stresses.
I really just needed more of you.

Help me to seek you first and your righteousness.
You will take care of the rest.
Change my devotional time to reflect new priorities.

I long for your presence and for your Spirit.
Come to me, indwell me, change me.

I'm yours.
Amen.


What are my idols?

Dear God Almighty,

I want to sit in your presence and hear you speak to me.
But perhaps I'm worshipping something else,
something about me and for me,
instead of listening for your will
or obeying what I already know I should be doing.

I do desire clean hands,
a pure heart,
and a soul that's not idolatrous.

The truth is, worship of you only is hard.
I naturally drift toward self-centeredness.
Show me where I go wrong,
where I steer away from loving you completely.

What are my idols?
Are they people I love?
Success?
Acceptance?
Recognition?
Security?

Cleanse me of these desires
and give me a pure heart
that seeks only You.

You are my One and Only,
my Alpha and Omega.
my Beginning and End.
You alone.

And thank you for your patience with me.

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Psalm 24:3-4

When you hate someone

Have you ever felt disdain for someone? Hatred, even? Guilt that you should forgive an enemy, but you don't know how?
Maybe this will help.

Dear Lord,

You know my heart, so I can't pretend I don't feel this way.
I'm angry.
My pride is hurt.
I feel manipulated, or betrayed, or used
by someone.
I don't like that person at all.
I don't want to say "I hate,"
but I wonder if it's true.
Am I a person who could hate someone?

No,
I just don't trust him.
I just can't forgive her.
I just don't want to be with him.
We're just not friends.

These are the things I tell myself,
but you know they aren't true.
I hate.
I withhold forgiveness.
It makes me feel powerful,
or at least that's what I think.

It's not true.
It's a trap.
There's no freedom in hate and unforgiveness.

Seventy times seven.
That's what you said.
You forgave me,
so I need to forgive everyone else.
No one has sinned against me
like I have sinned against you.

Change my heart
and help me to love others like you love me.
It's hard to believe, but
you love us all the same.

Lord, forgive me, please.
I confess my sin.
Cleanse me of it.
Give me your love
and help me to see people the way you see them.
Show me something today about this person--
some hurt, some fear she has.
Show me his humanity--
the things that make us so similar.
Help that realization to humble me,
instead of it making me proud, judgmental, and defensive.

I worship you in all of my unworthiness.
I'm amazed that you love me at all.

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Confession from a Control Freak

Lord of Lords,

I want you to be present in my life.
I even want you to be in control--
so why do I chafe against life's constraints, against unwanted circumstances?
Why do I grumble about the time it takes for you to work in my life?
Why do I say I want your will, even while I plan and control my own destiny?

I worry about what will happen and what hasn't happened.
Although  I don't blame you audibly,
I find myself annoyed with my life
and avoiding my quiet time with you.
Because I've distanced myself from you.
My life is a testament to how and if and when I let you work.
My attitude reveals my heart.

I respect the beauty of your power, but not the impact of it.
It's like controlling the ocean, the surf, and the shoreline and thinking that would make the ocean better.
In essence, that would ruin the majesty of creation.

Lord, help me be willing to give you my whole heart.
Convict me when I don't.

Please forgive me. I want you to have all of me.

Amen.


My Confession to you

I read James 5:16 today. I think I should follow its commands.
It's a good, albeit humbling, cleansing method.

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." 

I am proud: I care what people think and want them to respect and like me.
I want to think I'm better than other people at the things I value.
I am petty: I worry and obsess over things that don't really matter in life.
I am unforgiving: I like harboring secret resentment toward people who have wronged me. I cover it up by being nice to them, but deep down, I know I don't want them to prosper.
I am selfish: I think of my own needs and desires first. Even when I serve people, I am often aware of what I'm "giving up." This is still being self-oriented.
I am forgetful: I focus on the present, to the detriment of the past and all You've already done for me.
I am faithless: I believe that God has great purpose for my life, but when I worry and freak out over the time and effort it takes to obey Him, I reveal how faithless I actually am.

I do not want to be this person. In my Spirit-filled moments, I am. But the rest of the time, I am fighting it. My spirit and my soul are at war.

Heal me, O Lord Jehovah, Rapha and Redeemer!
Only you can take someone as sinful as me
and make me into someone like You.
It's unimaginable, but I believe it's true.
Remind me of Your grace and love.
Pour out Your power on me
so that Your power can course through me 
and pour out on someone else.
You are that amazing! I worship You and adore You!
Amen.

Confessing someone else's sins

Lord God, the Holy One--

You are gracious and full of awesome power and purity.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.

I come today on behalf of someone else.
I want to pray for ________'s repentance,
so first I must ask you to forgive me of my wrong-doing and selfishness.
Convict and remove all the little pet sins I shelter in my life,
the things I say aren't a big deal.
Root them out.
I'll brace myself.
I know it will hurt a little to be honest with myself and change my will and behavior.
But when I do, I will have peace.

Forgive me, please.

So now I ask you to forgive __________. I confess on his/her behalf.
Forgive him/her for rebellion, selfishness, pride, and ignorance of Your laws and Your expectations.
Moses confessed for Israel, and even though they rarely repented,
You had compassion on them,
for Moses' sake.
You showed grace and mercy and lovingkindness.
Because someone cared enough to ask You for it.

Show Your lovingkindness to __________.
Put a wall of protection around _________,
not to keep him/her from consequences--
because sin always has consequences--
but to keep __________ from total devastation.
Insert someone into his/her path,
someone to speak truth,
to represent Your love authentically,
to dislodge the lies, the myths, and the willful rejection of Your plan for his/her life.

I confess it all and beg Your mercy and grace for _________.
Draw him/her to Yourself.
You are the only thing that satisfies.
You, the Holy One.

"In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.” The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked."
Amen.


Ezra 9:15-10:1
Num. 14:17-21


image by Barbara Jackson

Confessions of a critical tongue

Oh, Lord,

I did it again. I'm nit-picking and criticizing. I just can't stop myself. Or at least, I choose not to. I stand in front of people I love and I say unhelpful things with a big megaphone when I should just be listening.

Help me to choose edifying speech. I want to give encouragement to my kids and husband, to speak lovely things about extended family and friends, to notice the good in church, school, and community organizations. I want to be a blessing to others.

Lord, root out this spirit of criticism. I confess it. I know it comes from pride, and I confess it and pray against it in Jesus' name. Help me to learn your humility and your gentleness. Even when I see the wrong in something--even when I should take action against it or call it out--give me the grace to fight sin with mercy and understanding, to love sinners while hating sin. To give the Holy Spirit time to work in his own way and not according to my impatience.

Why is this so hard? I am such a sinner and a hypocrite. Please forgive me of my sinful arrogance and selfishness. I need you. Let my critical tongue remind me that I need you and only you to change me into your likeness. Help me to pause and pray every time I think a negative thought--I want to give the Holy Spirit time to stop me from speaking. I want time to remember your many blessings in my life, to erase my Pharisaical, entitled attitude and give me the attitude of Christ.

If I can learn that--then all my speech and all my actions would only bring you glory and bless others. May I long for that enough to change!

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

"Your attitude would be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God, did not consider quality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:5-8)

image by George Hodan

A prayer against shame

Dear Holy God,

You feel the ache I'm feeling.
You know the weight and sorrow of sin,
even another person's sin,
especially when it affects me.
Shame rolls in like a tidal wave,
wave after wave,
hitting the shores of my soul.

I want to cower and cover up
my sins and the sins of the people I love.

I chafe under conviction
(the very thing that seeks to release me)--
while I protect my shame
(the very thing that keeps me in bondage).

Oh, Father, give me the courage to welcome conviction for my sin
and the tenacity to fight the shame.
Your Spirit convicts,
but Your enemy shames,
because he knows that shame will make me hide in the shadows,
hide from the body of Christ,
and hide from You.

Lord, make us freedom-seekers!
Give us the desire to live freely in Your convicting presence,
in the holy of holies, where our souls are laid bare before You.
Help us confess our faults to one another
and pray for one another
so that we will be healed!
There is no limit to the power that will be unleashed when
righteous, shameless freedom-seekers seek the face of God and pray!

Amen.


"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (James 5:16)

(meme made in WordSwag)

10 Reasons You Should Fast and Pray

Here are 10 reasons you should fast and pray:

1. Jesus fasted (Mtt. 4:2).
2. Fasting accompanies fervent prayer (Ezra 8:23, Dan. 9:2-4)
3. The early church fasted before making decisions (Acts 13:1-2).
4. Jesus taught his disciples how to fast (Mtt. 6:16-18).
5. Jesus said his disciples would fast in his absence (Mk. 2:18-20).
6. Fasting accompanies worship (Lk. 2:37).
7. Fasting puts you in an attitude of repentance (1 Sam. 7:6, Neh. 9:1-3)
8. Fasting reminds you that nothing is an important as hearing from God (Jer. 36:6-9).
9. Fasting increases patience, which is a necessary part of praying (Psalm 35).
10. Fasting facilitates grief and wisdom in your response (Neh. 1:4)

Dear Lord Jehovah,
I am in awe of you. I confess my many sins, and I bring to you the sins of my loved ones and ask for your mercy on their behalf. Move in me, and move in them. Let your spirit pour over us and drown us with your presence. Lead us in your will and give us the courage to obey your call. Oh, Lord, build in me patience so I will wait on you, as I should. I sit here, waiting. I know you will come.
Thank you! I love you!
Amen.

image by Kevin Phillips

A prayer for blessing our nation

Lord of heaven, the God of the whole earth and of America,

We are a smug, selfish people. Forgive us, Lord, for asking for you to move in our nation merely because we want spirituality to be popular and sanctification to be easy. Forgive us for wanting laws that accommodate our spiritual goals rather than laws that motivate our spiritual fervor.

Bless us with your conviction and the power of your spirit! Manifest your patience and lovingkindness for our weaknesses! Continue to bless us--not with material wealth and extravagant living--but with the reality of your presence. May your presence go before us, go with us, and shield us from behind, as we deliver your message to a lost nation of peoples. Give us the courage to share your word, as it lives and breathes among us, transforming us to become more like you.

Make us into missionaries within our own borders! Bless us with courage and determination to share Christ rather than impose morality.

Give us patience and lovingkindness for others, as we desire for ourselves. May all your plans succeed in your timing and for your purpose. We are the people you have called and chosen--not to live prosperous and happy lives, but to share the good news with a nation that doesn't know who you are or what you've done for us.

Bless America through our testimony, and nothing else.

Amen.

"But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance."
--Psalm 33:11-12


image by Linnaea Mallette


David's Prayer of Confession

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
Renew a right spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of my salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51:1-4, 10-12


image from crestock.com