A Prayer of Confession

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I crave a simpler time. Don’t get me wrong, I love the conveniences of modern times. I like that we have options. Boy, do we have options? 

We used to make fun of The Cheesecake Factory for its massive menu. We’d study the pages and pages of unhealthy but delicious food, only to order the exact same thing every single time. We spend over a thousand dollars on new cell phones only to continue using the same exact apps, to call the same people, and to distract us from the life we are meant to live. And it has made our lives anything but simple. 

Even our most basic needs have become complicated. Every person needs water. Besides tap water, in the US alone, we have over 80 bottled water brands to choose from. Worldwide, there are 4000 mineral water brands. 

What happened to just drinking water from a hose outside the house because your mom locked you out until lunchtime? 

I know there are mineral issues in our water, like lead, arsenic, and mercury, and we need other minerals, like calcium, fluoride, and potassium (to name a few). But at the end of the day, we need water because it is a source of life for the human body. I can convince myself that my soda and fruits and vegetables have water, but there is no comparison to an unadulterated glass of water that brings refreshment and health to my body.

The same things can be said for the act of prayer. 

A quick search on prayer books and resources pulled up 272 MILLION results. “Book on prayer, devotionals on prayer, teaching on prayer, group resources on prayer, podcasts on prayer, prayer retreats, prayer journals, conferences on prayer…” At some point, it can all be overwhelming. So we then convince ourselves that praying for our food at dinner or saying “Jesus help me” in a rough patch somehow equals unadulterated time with God. 

The truth is that prayer can be as simple as you want it to be or as complicated as some have made it. The deeper truth is less about how you go about it and more about how you and I actually engage in it. 

“The whole reason why we pray is to be united into the vision and contemplation of God to whom we pray.” – Julian of Norwich.

So, let’s ask ourselves the question, “What keeps me from engaging in prayer with God?”

I’m sure the answers will vary from, “I do engage with God in prayer” to, “I just don’t want to engage with a God that I’m not even sure exists.” 

Then there’s the nuance of our honesty in between. “I just get busy, and God knows my heart and my situation.” “I don’t know where to start, I don’t know what to say.” Or maybe a big one that I’m sure most of us face, “I feel like a fraud when I try to engage God in prayer.”

We are starting 2023 in a big way. United in prayer. If you find yourself like many of us, unsure where to start in prayer, let me direct you to Psalm 51 and King David’s prayer of Confession.

The beauty of the Psalms is that they show us how to pray in every situation—through every emotion, through good and bad times. So, let David’s words be a guide to us in how to pray through our slip-ups. There is not one person reading this who is exempt from failure, who has no ounce of guilt or shame cowering in a dark corner of our hearts. So, right now, let’s make David’s confession our own wherever you are and whatever you’re hiding. 

Confession prayer: 

Read Psalm 51 and follow this guide.

First, as David does, let’s acknowledge who God is– He is gracious, loving, and merciful and stands ready and eager to forgive.

Now, name your sin– Sin wants to stay hidden in the dark. God can’t heal what you don’t bring to the light. Ask the Spirit to examine your heart. What do you have in your thoughts or actions that you have hidden that you would be horrified to have displayed before this room? Confess what you’ve been hiding and name it as sin. 

Ask God to forgive you, heal, and cleanse you. 

Receive God’s forgiveness through Jesus. Jesus has already dealt with this sin on the cross, purchasing your forgiveness and right relationship with God. 

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Thank Him for His forgiveness and freely receive this gift. End where you began- the character of God. We can trust Him to forgive, cleanse us and restore us to Himself. It is His joy to do so! 

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Speaker: Carlos Ortiz