In my earlier in my Prayer 101 post, I tried stressing the point that prayer was never about the beauty of the words nor the length of prayer. Prayer is really as simple as a hug to a father; you can not hug your father incorrectly. There is no right and wrong to it. Each of us must really work hard to resist the urge to complicate it.
Don’t take pride in well-crafted prayers. Don’t apologize for incoherent prayers.
– Max Lucado
It is really funny, when you hear about a new trend in prayer, or people coming up with new techniques for a prayer. However much thought was put into the crafting of these methods, it is just not right! Jesus deemphasized the importance of the length and eloquence of the words when He said, “they think that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matthew 6:7)
I ended the post with a small exercise of praying the Lord’s pray (Our Father) every morning and every evening. For today’s post I will try to add a small bit (actually a huge one) to the exercise. We’ll add repentance!
I posted about confession and repentance earlier in a couple of posts, here (where I focus on the power of repentance) and here (where I focus on the need to change before it is too late). This post will be to encourage us to put repentance in our daily routine; the same way we shower to clean our outsides, we should repent to clean our insides.
“You were not redeemed with corruptable things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your father, but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
I was redeemed by His blood alone, so it only makes sense to do the following three things in my daily prayer:
(1) Tell Him the wrong things I did (in other words, confess),
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
People often ask, if my sins have been forgiven on Jesus’ cross then what will be judged for on judgement day? well the answer is quite easy, the sins which we have not confessed! Confession is admitting that you did something wrong, something against God’s will, and something that would not match his character, traits, or actions. If you do not admit your faults then you will be judged for them.
The pharisee prayed and the tax collector prayed, one confessed his sins, while the other thanked God he was not a sinner, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.” (Luke 18:14)
Let’s not forget, the Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) … If is a conditional statement, so it will be forgiven only IF we confess them!
(2) Ask for His forgiveness,
“though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
After telling Him our sins, the next sensible step would be to apologize for our wrong-doings and ask for His forgiveness. We do not ask forgiveness to avoid eternal condemnation, we do it because we love Him, and would never want to see Him upset because of us. Just like a son would apologize to his father, it is not because the father will kick him out of the house, it is because knowing that he is upset kills us.
He promised and we know He is just,faithful, and honest, He will forgive! There is no sin that is unforgivable, God can and will forgive anything you did however big or small it is. Just ask and you will be given!
(3) Thank Him for His love that covers me however bad I am.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
When Jesus healed ten people with leprosy, only one came back and thanked Him. If you are into statistics, that is a ten percent probability that people will thank God for His daily protection, love, and care. Saving us from eternal condemnation desires a lot of thanking. Sometimes we take it for granted and leave it as a part of the past, not a part of our daily routine, just like sin is a part of our daily routine.
Just like sin is part of our daily routine, confession, repentance, and thanking God for His faithful love should be part of our daily routine.
Thanking God for his love, should not only be by words, but also through action. The same way God loved you, a sinner, you should love your enemies. “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45)
Let us add “praying out our sins” as a new practice to our daily prayers, and perhaps use this simple used by the Coptic Orthodox Church in all its prayers:
“Absolve, forgive, and remit, O God, our transgressions; those which we have committed willingly and those we have committed unwillingly, those which we have committed knowingly and those which we have committed unknowingly, the hidden and manifest, O Lord forgive us, for the sake of Your Holy name which is called upon us”