And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and withthose who keep His commandments.” (Daniel 9:4)
Psalm 32:3 tells us how David felt when he failed to confess: “When I kept silent, my bones grew old, Through my groaning all the day long.” There is nothing that takes the joy out of life like unconfessed sin. Confession is a key principle of experiencing God in revival. It is a fruit of repentance. In Revelation 2, the church of Ephesus was to repent and to do her first works. According to Acts 19:18, her first works were confession of sin and revealing deeds. Many also burned their books on sorcery. As a result, the Word of God grew mightily and prevailed.
Confession is an experience God allows us to go through so we can walk in communion with Him. In revival, confession of sin becomes the norm. In Scripture, we are told to confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9), to confess our sin (1 John 1:9), and to confess our trespasses to one another (James 5:16). In the Greek, “to confess to God” means “to agree with God,”7 or “to say the same thing.” It means not merely confessing intellectually, but rather a confession wrought by the convicting of the Holy Spirit, knowing we have wronged our God.
Confession of sin is not easy. Our flesh fights against it. Our pride wants to hold onto our dignity or even our sin. To walk with God, however, we must learn to daily confess sin. E. M. Bounds said: “Revivals are among the charter rights of the Church. . . . A revival means a heart-broken pastor. A revival means a church on its knees confessing its sins—the sins of the individual and of the Church—confessing the sins of the times and of the community.”
We are not only to confess our sins to God but also to others. When my activity or attitude affects other people, I am responsible to confess to them. The sphere of confession is limited to the sphere of the influence.
Samuel was raised in a time when the Word of God was rare (1 Samuel 3:1). He had to learn to hear God speak and recognize His voice. We must do the same. We can learn to distinguish God’s voice by its content. The content will acknowledge the holiness of God, and the guidance of God always agrees with Scripture. Later, in chapter 7, Samuel instructed the people of God about how to return to God, serve Him, and prepare their hearts. One of the keys in returning to God and experiencing revival is honest confession. David tells us in Psalm 81:15, “The haters of the Lord would pretend submission to Him” (emphasis mine). Let us not be guilty of pretending submission.
Loving Father, I want to walk in peaceful communion with You all the days of my life. Yet, I know there are days when I must come before You in humble repentance over something that has tripped me up yet again. How patient and grace-filled You are to keep receiving me in my brokenness. As the Holy Spirit searches and then convicts my heart, may I obediently bow before You quickly in repentance. Thank You that I can just as quickly receive Your precious forgiveness through the blood of Your Son, My Savior, Jesus Christ.
–Adapted from Praying with Fire: Seeking His Presence through the Revival Passages of Scripture by Mark Partin. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Rejoice in God’s majesty, glory, and might. Thank God that in all things he works for the good of those who love him (Rom. 8:28). Confess any fear, worry, or anxiety you may be feeling about your present circumstances. Commit your day to God and rest in his good planning for your life (Prov. 3:5-6). Ask for his peace to remain with you throughout your day.
Pray that believers everywhere will walk in truth and unity. Ask the Holy Spirit to draw them closer to each other.
“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.” —Abraham Lincoln
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