Last Sunday, I shared some about the spiritual practice of private confession, both to God and to fellow believers.
Confession in Prayer
Here’s what I gave you as my personal practice of confession. (You don’t have to put this into practice exactly like I do, but here are some ideas for your own personal time with the Lord.)
1. First, I pray for God to search my heart.
Usually I pray this scripture from Psalm 139:23-24-
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
2. I listen.
I simply sit quietly and allow the Holy Spirit to bring to mind any sin in my life – whether I was aware of it or not. (I admit that often during this time I will battle a bit and try to justify my behavior instead of simply confess and ask forgiveness. I am always relieved when I can admit to the wrong I have done or the sin in my heart and humble myself.)
3. I ask forgiveness.
I love to pray Psalm 51 when I am asking for forgiveness, especially if there’s a situation in my life I feel shame about.
4. I thank Jesus for his grace.
Being able to be free from guilt and shame is an amazing thing, and it’s because Jesus is all-merciful to us. I am always so thankful that He sets us free and loves us unconditionally.
5. After this, I am able to engage in Bible reading or prayer with much more clarity and freedom.
Confession to Another Believer
While we teach that we don’t need to confess to a person to receive forgiveness, sometimes it is healing to confess to another believer. A few times this is helpful might be:
1. When we have wronged another person.
The relationship may not be reconciled immediately, but it’s right to honor people in our lives by confessing we have done wrong when it’s applicable.
2. When we need accountability.
Sometimes we may continue sinning in the same way over and over again. In this case it can be helpful to tell someone we trust about this issue in our lives. This way, they can hold us accountable and continue to ask us how we are doing with the issue.
3. When we can’t accept forgiveness.
Sometimes we have lived for so long with guilt and shame that it’s hard for us to accept that we are completely forgiven. In this circumstance, it can be healing to tell another believer what is going on, and to let them reiterate to us that we are forgiven and whole.
And remember – although we are to love our fellow believers, we should be wise with who we practice confession with. You should consider someone who is:
– Trustworthy (You don’t want them telling your secrets!)
– Helpful (You want them to take you seriously)
– Willing to pray with and for you
Your pastors and staff at The Bridge are always ready to pray with you and we love to see you grow in your walk with God. While confession to a pastor is not necessary for forgiveness or salvation, we are happy to talk with you at any time about any of these things.
Be very blessed and thank you so much for sharing this Awakening series with us!