Invitation to Prayer (remember the Lord delights to be with you)
“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.”Psalm 27:10
Praying with John the Beloved Disciple:
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:8-9
Last night at session we had a heartwarming conversation about the beauty of confession and repentance in our lives. The elders were rejoicing that as Christians we are able to confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness. (The spark of discussion was from an article by Paul David Tripp that can be found here: Paul Tripp Blog)
So often we hide parts of ourselves or our behavior, because we fear if others saw this about me, they would judge me, they would think less of me, they would reject me. It would be too humiliating. So many people unwilling to bring their sin into the open, hide it and it becomes a heavy burden that weighs them down.
But because of Jesus we have good news. We are not rejected by God. God who examines our hearts and motives and from whom nothing is hidden has declared he loves us, and that he has chosen us to be his forever bride. He loved us while we were yet sinners, and his love is the reason that God sent his one and only son to earth to lay down his life on the cross as a sacrifice of atonement for us. When we believe in Jesus our sins are washed away, we become a new creation, we are confident that there is now no condemnation for those of us in Christ.
It is a privilege of the followers of Christ to confess our sins to God, our sins of the past and current sins. Sins that cause us deep shame, and sins that we try to justify as not as bad as what someone else does. We cannot remove our sins from ourselves, they stain and ruin us. But the blood of Jesus cleanses and purifies us! Let that be our joy each day.
Arthur Bennett compiled prayers from the Puritans and put them in his book The Valley of Vision. Here is a Puritan prayer to stir our imagination in prayer:
“Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman,
that my being may be a tilled field,
the roots of grace spreading far and wide,
until thou alone art see in me,
they beauty golden like summer harvest,
thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.
I have no master but thee,
no law but thy will,
no delight but thyself,
no wealth but that thou givest,
no good but that thou blessest,
no peace but that thou bestowest.
I am nothing but that thou makest me,
I have nothing but that I receive from thee,
I can be nothing but that grace adorns me.
Quarry me deep, dear Lord,
And then fill me to overflowing with living water.”
- What in your life are you avoiding confessing to God?
- During Lent how has Jesus assured you of his undying love?
- Would you pray for tender hearts that would be quick to repent of sin?
- Do you have a hard time receiving Christ’s forgiveness? Why?
- Pray for God’s Spirit to grow our congregation deeper in him and wider to embrace all those who return or come for the first time.
Praying with you,