Many feel guilty when they pray because they are truly guilty. The difference between an accusation of Satan and conviction from the Holy Spirit is this: Satan’s accusation is general, thus repentance is impossible. The Holy Spirit’s conviction is specific and leads to repentance. Confession of sin is not morbid self-introspection. Confession of sin is the result of the light of God shining in our hearts. He knows our ways. He leads us down the path of repentance into forgiveness. The great English preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “Repentance and forgiveness are riveted together by the eternal purpose of God. . . In the very nature of things, if we believe in the holiness of God it must be that if we continue in our sin and will not repent of it, we cannot be forgiven but must reap the consequences of our obstinacy.”
When there is sincere confession and true repentance, there will be a release of the rivers of grace upon the soul. As the soul of a man is flooded with divine grace, a new confidence begins to swell in his heart. There is a new boldness to approach God. He is clean and pure. And the pure in heart are blessed because they shall see God.
Prayer reaches a high level of intimacy. Love and gratitude flow from the heart that has been graced by God. The burden is lifted, and a quiet “hallelujah” is lifted from the lips of the person who walks and lives in the forgiveness of God.
–Adapted from The Prayer Factor by Sammy Tippit
Father, help me to walk in the freedom that repentance brings and not to allow the enemy to convict me and beat me up with guilt. May I understand the difference between guilt that is vague and conviction that is specifically designed by the Spirit to bring about my repentance. Help me to receive Your grace-filled forgiveness with joy and give me a deepening desire to walk in holiness before You.
Praise the Lord, the source of all song, and make music to his name. Thank God for his love in the morning and for his faithfulness at night (Ps. 92:1-2). Confess that you sometimes sing by rote. Commit yourself to focusing on what you sing. Ask to feel God’s presence through music today.
Pray that through the music, message, prayers, and sacraments, your congregation will feel one in body and spirit (Eph. 4:3-4) as it gathers to worship.
“We must try to converse with God in little ways while we do our work; not in memorized prayer, not trying to recite previously formed thoughts. Rather, we should purely and simply reveal our hearts as the words come to us.” —Brother Lawrence
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend