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Lent 2024 - Week 1: Repentance

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

 

“God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” (Romans 2:4)

 

Prayer Practice - Written Prayers of Confession

 

Confession may be good for the soul, but it can be very hard to do. We are invested in looking like good moral people…But this very appearance of goodness can be a way we defend ourselves against our sin. For when we can’t see our sin, we have nothing to confess.

 

The truth is that we all sin. Sin is anything that breaks relationships. Jesus is totally realistic about broken relationships. He experienced them. He was put to death by them. Yet Jesus taught that the damage done through sin was not the last word on life. Sin could be confessed. Sin could be forgiven. And sinful people could be set free.

 

True repentance means we open the bad in our lives to God. We invite him to come right in and look at our sin with us. We don’t hide behind being good, moral people or indulge in neurotic self-recriminations. We don’t pretend to be other than we are…We tell it like it is—without rationalization, denial or blame—to the only person in the universe who will unconditionally love us when we are bad…In the presence of the Holy One we give up on appearing good and fixing our sin. We lay down our ability to change by the power of the self. We turn to Jesus and seek forgiveness.

From “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook” by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

 

This week’s practice is to write our prayers of confession. Try to practice a few times this week…if possible make time to practice each day along with your daily Bible reading.


  • First, sit in a quiet place and take a moment to let yourself become still. Taking a few deep breaths is helpful! Remember that the Lord loves you.

  • Second, slowly review the last 24 hours, letting the day replay in your mind, asking: When was I cooperating with the work of God in my life and when was I resisting it? Who have I injured with my resistance to God’s work in thought, attitude, word or action?

  • Third, as you allow the Holy Spirit to reveal sins from the past 24 hours, write them down as confession before the Lord, asking for his forgiveness. Remember that confession is about walking more into freedom. The old is gone, the new has come.

  • Finally, as you confess to the Lord, allow this prayer time to lead to asking for forgiveness from others. Write an apology or make a phone call.

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