The Important Role of Confession in Prayer

repentance in prayer

Confessing our sins is very important to receiving an answer from God in prayer.  Psalm 66:18-20

18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,Prayer to confess sins
the Lord would not have listened;

19 but God has surely listened
and heard my voice in prayer.

20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!

I remember when I just received Christ as my Savior that I would dread going into prayer when I knew that I did something wrong.  I would go before Him as a child waiting to be scolded.  I would think to myself that I couldn’t expect anything from Him because of what I had done.  My sins for that day would pile up until it became unbearable and I had to face my Father who already knew what I did.  There was no hiding.  I also found that I couldn’t praise Him in prayer if I had unconfessed sins.  It was as if He was saying to me “Are you going to get rid of the elephant in the room or do you want to continue pretending it’s not there?”

This is when I realized that the best way for me to start my prayer time is with confession.

Once I repented then I could praise Him.  After a series of these events I started thinking – why let the sins pile up?  Why not confess them as they happen?  If we offend someone and the Holy Spirit convicts us of this, apologize immediately…why wait?

What about those times when we sin and we go to ask for forgiveness and the person says they were not offended? Well, we need to realize that ultimately we sin against God though the action or our words may have been directed at an individual.  The person may not know the intent and motives of our heart but God knows it.  He wants us to acknowledge all of our sins even the ones that others are not aware of.

After going through these steps for a several weeks you may come to point where you feel like you have nothing to confess when you go before the Lord in prayer.  Now is the time to take the confession to another level.  Sit quietly before the Lord and ask Him to bring to your mind sins to be confessed.  Within 2 minutes you will know what they are and may even find yourself thinking that you didn’t realize you were sinning.

There is no greater feeling than coming before the Almighty God with supplications knowing that there is nothing standing in the way of Him hearing and answering.

The following is a list of scriptural sins to be confessed provided by Evelyn Christensen Ministries.  Be warned that this is not an easy thing to do.  You may want to print the list and take your time going through them. Remember that the Holy Spirit convicts us of sins He does not condemn us (Romans 8:1-4)

Every “yes” answer is a sin to be confessed.

“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17). [References are from the New American Standard Bible unless noted.]

1. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Do you worry about anything? Have you failed to thank God for all things, the seemingly bad as well as the good? Do you neglect to give thanks at mealtime, openly in front of others?

2. Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us…Do you fail to attempt things for God because you are not talented enough? Do feelings of inferiority keep you from trying to serve God? When you do accomplish something for Christ, do you fail to give Him all the glory?

3. Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Have you failed to be a witness with your life for Christ? Have you felt it was enough to just live your Christianity and not witness with your mouth to the lost?

4. Romans 12:3 For…I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think.” Are you proud of your accomplishments, your talents, your family? Do you fail to see others as better than yourself, more important than yourself in the body of Christ? Do you think as a Christian you are doing quite well? Do you rebel at God wanting to change you?

5. Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” Do you complain, find fault, argue? Do you have a critical spirit? Do you carry a grudge against Christians of another group because they don’t see eye to eye with you on all things? Do you speak unkindly about people when they are not present? Are you angry with yourself? Others? God?

6. 1 Corinthians 6:19 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?Are you careless with your body? Are you guilty of not caring for it as the temple of the Holy Spirit in eating and exercise habits? Do you defile your body with unholy sex acts?

7. Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth.” Do you ever use filthy language, tell slightly off-color jokes? Do you condone others doing so in your presence, in your home?

8. Ephesians 4:27 “And do not give the devil an opportunity.” Do you fail to see you are a “landing strip” for Satan when you open your mind to him through satanic music, occult electronic games, pornographic literature, computer chat rooms, yoga, séances, psychic predictions, occult movies and literature? Do you get advice for daily living from horoscopes rather than from God? Do you let Satan use you to thwart the cause of Christ in your church through criticism, gossip, non-support?

9. Romans 12:11 “Not lagging behind in diligence” (NAS) “Not slothful in business.” (KJV) Do you fail to pay your debts on time? Avoid paying them altogether? Do you charge more on credit cards than you can pay when due? Do you neglect to keep honest income tax records? Do you engage in shady business deals whether as an employer or employee?

10. 1 Corinthians 8:9 “But take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” Do you feel you can do anything you want to do because the Bible says you are free in Christ? Even though you were strong enough not to fall, do you fail to take responsibility for a weaker Christian who has fallen because of following your example?

11. Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking our own assembling together.”Are you irregular or spasmodic in church attendance? Are you skipping prayer meetings? Have you neglected family devotions?

12. Colossians 3:9 “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices.” Do you ever lie? Exaggerate? Do you fail to see “little white lies” as sins? Do you tell things the way you want them rather than the way they really are?

13. 1 Peter 2:11 “Beloved…abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.” Are you guilty of a lustful eye toward either sex? Do you fill your mind with pornography or sex-oriented TV programs, movies, books, magazines? Do you indulge in any lustful activity God’s Word condemns—fornication, adultery, perversion?

14. John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Are you guilty of being a part of factions and divisions in your church? Would you rather add fuel to a misunderstanding than help correct it? Have you loved only the ones in your church, feeling those of other denominations are not of the body of Christ? Are you secretly pleased over the misfortunes of another? Annoyed by their successes?

15. Colossians 3:13 “Forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” Have you failed to forgive anybody anything that person might have said or done against you? Have you turned certain people off? Are you holding grudges?

16. Ephesians 4:28 “Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor.”Do you steal from your employer by doing less work, staying on the job less time than you are paid for? Do you underpay your employees?

17. Ephesians 5:16 “Making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”Do you waste your time or that of others? Do you spend time watching TV trash, reading cheap books, procrastinating? Are you always on the internet and social media websites?  Do you check them constantly?

18. Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve God and mammon (riches).” Is your goal in life to make as much money as possible? Accumulate things? Have you withheld God’s share of your income from Him? Is money your God?

19. Matthew 23:28 “Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Do you know in your heart you are a fake, just pretending to be a real Christian? Are you hiding behind church membership to cover a life still full of sin? Are you faking Christianity for social status, acceptance in your church, community? Do you smile piously during the Sunday sermon but live in your sin all week? Are you the person in your home you are trying to impress people you are?”

20. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, … honorable, …right, …pure, …lovely, …of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” Do you enjoy listening to gossip? Passing it on? Do you believe rumors or partial truths, especially about an enemy or your competitor? Do you fail to spend time every day reading the Bible? Do you fail to think on the things of God—only good and true and pure things—always?

You  can go through this list every few months to see how you have grown in these areas.  It will also be an indication to you of the things that are strongholds in your life.  Surrender them to God and ask the Holy Spirit for the grace to change.

God Bless You.

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