The title of this week’s post may seem kind’ve ominous, like there’s a dark secret I’m about to share, but really I just want to talk about the role of confession in prayer.
Recently I’ve been feeling unworthy to be in close relationship with God; consequently, I haven’t been. I’ve gone through seasons like this before, where the thought of sitting down and praying or studying the Bible feels so out of place in my life, like I’m so dirty I can’t enter into that space.
This time, instead of letting myself drift along aimlessly until I eventually (after quite a long time) drifted out of my “slump,” if that’s even the right word for it, I decided that I’m not okay with having a distant relationship with the Lord. So I sat down and turned to the back of my journal where, by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I remembered that I had left some “break the glass in case of emergency” instructions for myself.
Every summer, my mom and I do a Bible study together, and one year there was a lesson about how to regain an intimate love relationship with the Lord once you’ve felt that you’ve drifted away. These instruction were based off of 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, which says:
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
The first two instructions which I’m going to focus on today are to humble yourself and pray, and as I knelt down and began to really talk to God, not just talk in His general direction, I found that I was humbling myself by confessing.
As I repented, I felt the division that sin causes begin to close. I had never thought it through until that moment, but if sin separates us from God, it’s no wonder a lack of regular confession leads to a lack of intimacy with Him.
I had been blowing off the seriously difficult work of laying out all my sins before Him, at the most brushing it off with a “please forgive me.” But as I acknowledged all of the ways I had fallen short time and time again, I was overcome with how when I lowered my own position, I had a higher view of God.
Proverbs 28:13 says “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” I had thought I was doing everything right because I wasn’t intentionally trying to hide my sins from God, but I didn’t realize that hiding them by inaction was doing the same amount of damage. Just because I’m not pushing something further back into the shadows doesn’t mean I’m in the clear, I still need to get on my knees and do the work of pulling it into the light!
So, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
Repent and be refreshed!