The ACTS of Prayer II: Confession
Last week we went over the first step in the ACTS of Prayer which was Adoration. We learned why we should adore God in our daily prayers and we also went over some reasons why God is worth our adoration. Today we will be going over part two which is Confession.
What is Confession?
There are several definitions we can look at. First, in a courtroom it would be an admission of guilt to a crime. Another definition is an admission or acknowledgment that one has done something that they are ashamed of or embarrassed about. Although these definitions are all loosely similar we will be mainly focused on the third definition which is a formal admission of one's sins with repentance and desire of absolution.
We have many examples in the new and old testaments of people confessing sins to God.
Isaiah 6:5 in this passage Isaiah is being shown a vision of the Lord and in seeing the Lord his reaction is 5, Woe to me! I cried. I am ruined for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.
Upon seeing the Lord, Isaiah's first reaction is to confess that he has unclean lips and he lives with people with unclean lips.
What does it mean to have unclean lips? I think that it means he didn't have the greatest language or always talk about the best subjects.
Why do you think he acted this way? After seeing The Lord in all his Glory and Cleanliness it shone a light for him on his unclean ways and he felt unworthy to be in the Lord’s presence.
Luke 5:8 While in Jesus' presence some of the disciples had caught enough fish to almost capsize the boat 8, When Simon Peter saw this he fell at Jesus' knees and said "Go away from me Lord for I am a sinful man.
Again being in The Lord's presence and seeing his glory has compelled a confession. People in the presence of the Lord have always confessed their unworthiness. Let's look at Genesis 18:27
Genesis 18:27 Then Abraham spoke again saying "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord though I am nothing but dust and ashes.
We have just looked at examples of prophets or disciples confessing their sin in the presence of the Lord but is that the only way sin can be confessed? Who can confess sin and how?
Leviticus 5:5 when anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned.
This clearly puts responsibility of confession on the shoulders of the guilty party. Which means, We can confess our own sins individually
How would we go about confessing any sins we might have? Jesus gave us an example of how we can confess our sins and it is in an example prayer that he left us with.
Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
In this passage debt does not only mean an amount of money owed but is referring to moral debts. Anywhere we might come up short in our goal to live like Jesus.
Leviticus 16:21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task.
The "he" is Aaron The first high priest of the Israelite people and Moses' brother.
This passage shows that he has the power to confess on behalf of his people. Before Christ’s sacrifice priests would intercede to God on behalf of the people. AFTER CHRISTS SACRIFICE WE ARE ABLE TO GO TO GOD DIRECTLY.
Why do you think it is necessary for us to take our confessions of sin to the Lord? What are the results of confessing our sins?
We receive God's Mercy.
Proverbs 28:13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
We receive God's forgiveness
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
We receive Healing
James 5:16 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.
We become purified
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness
God already knows our hearts and knows our actions. He wants to forgive us but wants us to recognize that our actions are wrong and have remorse for our sinful actions. The way you would seek forgiveness from a human being would be to first apologize for any offense but before you can apologize you have to admit what you did was wrong. Confession is the first step to being given mercy and grace.
We see in the Bible a lot of people, including prophets, confess when in the presence of the Lord. Why is it important to not wait until we are in His presence? Why should we seek confession in our daily prayers?
We see in James 5:16 the benefits from sharing and praying with each other. Confessing to someone else also creates some accountability which can help break a sinful habit. Who are some people in your life that you can confess and pray with?
Write a prayer incorporating adoration from last week and adding a confession to take to the lord, seeking forgiveness.