Praying for Forgiveness [30 Days of Prayer]

Summer of Prayer Ads_Banner“And forgive us our debts” (Matthew 6:12a)

The fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer centers upon our relationship with God and with others. Specifically, it is a request for forgiveness. This request forces us to recognize that often we are not the sort of people we would like to be, others would like us to be, or God would like us to be.

Unfortunately, we are often dishonest in our lives, and this dishonesty can sometimes creep into prayer. Dishonest prayer does not lead us anywhere helpful, but inadequately hides us from God like Adam and Eve sheltering behind fig leaves. Jesus’ teaching on prayer, however, confronts us with the bare reality of who we are and who we are not.

When David was confronted by the prophet Nathan after his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah, he turned from hiding his sin to uncovering it before God. Psalm 51 is the record of that uncovering within prayer, which we call confession.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51:1-2)

This psalm expresses the cry of a heart that knows its debts and calls out for mercy. John the Apostle offers words that respond meaningfully to our confession of our sinfulness: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). So, let us run to Our Father, holy and merciful, uncovering our sinful indebtedness with boldness and humility in prayer.

Search through my soul, O God.
Reveal my hidden sin.
Cut through my self-deception,
and cleanse me from within.
Apart from You our souls are lost.
We’re blind to our wrong ways.
We trick ourselves to walk a path
that leads to our disgrace.
So lead me on the path of life,
and purify my soul.
I kneel before You;
I give myself to You.

[This post is part of the “30 Days of Prayer” devotional. Read other posts here.]

Great Prayers of the Bible

This coming weekend at Eastbrook Church we begin a teaching series entitled “Great Prayers of the Bible.” This series accompanies our Summer of Prayer at Eastbrook by examining great prayers from both the Old and New Testament so that we might grow in our life of prayer, individually and corporately.

Our life with God is shaped by the way we pray. Prayer is the basic communication with God in speaking and listening that is as essential as air, food and water to our biological life. Prayer is simple in the sense that every human being feels the pull to communicate with the divine, often whispering or shouting prayers unbidden. At the same time, prayer is complicated because we often don’t know how to approach God or what is okay to do.

In this series, we will spend the summer learning to pray through the examples of great prayers found throughout the Bible.

June 2/3 – “Prayer that Pleads for the Lost: Abraham” (Genesis 18:16-33)

June 9/10 – “Prayer that Intercedes for God’s People: Moses” (Numbers 14:1-23)

June 16/17 – “Prayer for Our Desires: Hannah (1 Samuel 1:10-20; 2:1-10)

June 23/24 – “Prayer of Repentance: David (2 Samuel 12:15-23; Psalm 51)

June 30/July 1 – “Prayer that Listens: Elijah” (1 Kings 19:1-18)

July 7/8 – “Prayer for Deliverance: Hezekiah” (2 Kings 19:14-20; 20:1-7)

July 14/15 – “Prayer of Dependence: Habakkuk” (Habakkuk 3:1-21)

July 21/22  – “Prayer of Renewal: Daniel” (Daniel 9:3-19)

July 29 – “Prayer of Dedication: Nehemiah” (Nehemiah 1:4-11)

August 5 – “Prayer of Surrender: Mary” (Luke 2:46-56)

August 11/12 – “Prayer in Weakness: a father of an afflicted boy” (Mark 9:22-25)

August 18/19 – “Prayer as Mission: The Early Church in Acts” (Acts 1:24-25; 4:23-31; 7:60; 13:1-3)

August 25/26 – “Prayer as Worship: Revelation” (Revelation 11:15-19; 15:1-4; 16:5-7)

||40days|| week three: turn from sin

Continuing our journey through Lent to the Cross with Jesus, we move from the focus upon acknowledging our sin last week to turning from sin – denying its power – this week.

It is one thing to face our sins – to name them for what they are – but that is merely one step in our journey toward maturity in Christ. The next step is to renounce – or turn away from – the sin in our lives. Each of us comes to a crossroads in facing sin. Our decision must be to change directions in order to follow Jesus. As Peter proclaimed in one of his earliest message in the book of Acts:

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. (Acts 3:18)

Here is a question for you to consider: what sin in your life can you identify yet have not fully turned away from? What would it look like even now to turn from that sin, to acknowledge it before God and ask Him for freedom and life?

Even now, each of us could pause in whatever we are doing and turn to Him. He is not far off, but closer than we realize.

||40days|| week three: turn

As we continue the ||40days|| journey through Lent, this week we will focus on the theme: ‘turn’.

Last week, we looked at acknowledging things in our lives: sin, fears, brokenness, and longings. Radical honesty to acknowledge things in our lives is the first step of the journey, but it does not stop there.

The next step is to turn from those things that we acknowledge in some way. To turn means to see something, and willfully move in a different direction. In our ||40days|| journey, we are talking about turning from sin and other things so that we might turn back to God. As we read in the book of Lamentations:

Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD. (Lamentations 3:40)

Here at the beginning of the week, ask God to speak to you and strengthen you to turn fully to Him in your everyday life.

||40days|| week two: acknowledge our sin

If you want a seed to grow, the first step is to plant it. You must open the soil, place the seed deep within, and bury it with dirt. With the right elements around the seed it will be nourished into fruitful growth.

The same thing is true of sin in our lives. If you want it to grow, the first step is to plant it deep within the soil of your soul. With the right elements around it, that sin will be nourished into fruitful growth.

The only problem is that most of us really do not want to have sin bearing fruit in our lives. Even those whoRead More »