A Prayer for Pardon
Do you ever feel that your prayer of confession is hollow? As if the phrases: “I’m sorry… please forgive me… help me not to do this again” fall flat? Your words sounds to you like quoting a well-rehearsed rhyme or song and your heart stays cold. It doesn’t seem like you’ve done business with God.
You know that your acceptance by God is not dependent on a certain set of words or length of confession. Your relationship with God is secure through the blood of Jesus, his Son. When we sin, our fellowship with the Father is broken, not the relationship. And this fellowship can be restored by simply praying: “Forgive us our debts” (Mat. 6:12).
Time spend in God's presence, meditating on his Word, sprinkled with unhurried expressions of heartfelt sorrow for sin and desire for holiness in prayer.
But our sorrow over sin must be such that we are willing to give it up. And for this to happen, longer periods of soul work are needed. Not to earn forgiveness, but to learn how to hate our sin. Time spend in God’s presence, meditating on his Word, sprinkled with unhurried expressions of heartfelt sorrow for sin and desire for holiness in prayer.
Slow and mindful reading of Scripture soaked prayers are helpful. They drive the pegs of sin-consciousness and Gospel-grace deeper into our souls. When you pray Scripture, you unleash the purifying power of God’s Word into your heart and mind. Many of the Psalms are well-suited for this purpose. The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers and meditations is a good resource too.
But you can also use Scripture words to write your own prayer or use the prayers others have penned. Here is one example. I compiled this after reading through some of the Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel in my devotions over a period of a few months.
"Lord, I confess that I have not feared your name (Jer. 5:24). I have been arrogant in my sin and you cannot tolerate such obstinance (Jer. 50:31). My acts and my attitudes have been detestable (Ezek. 20:8). I admit, I have been hard-headed and hard-hearted (Ezek. 2:7). My promiscuous heart and my idol loving eyes have led me astray (Ezek. 6:9). I’ve piled sin on top of sin (Is. 30:1), finding temporary pleasure in my sin (Is. 47:10). I have rebelled against you, while knowing that the rebellious live in a parched land (Ps. 68:6). I rejected your ordinances, even though I know that the person who does them will live (Ezek. 20:19,21). A great amount of bleach can’t wash the stain of my iniquities away (Jer. 2:22). Teach me to sigh and groan over my sin (Ezek. 9:4). It is evil and bitter to abandon you (Jer. 2:19).
But I take comfort in knowing that you don't deal with me according to my sins (Ps. 103:10). You deal with me for the sake of your glorious name (Ezek. 20:44) for you are a merciful and gracious God (Ps. 103:8). Your arm is not too weak to save (Is. 59:1). You crushed your Son in my place, for my iniquity (Is. 53:6,10). I hear you say: “return to me, faithless children, I will heal your faithlessness” (Jer. 3:22). Besides you there is no Savior (Is. 43:11) and so with joy I draw water from the wells of salvation (Is. 12:3).
Make your face shine on me and save me from myself, dear Lord (Ps. 80:3,19). Break off my yoke; tear off my chains (Jer. 30:8). Give me a heart that knows you so that I will return to you with all of my heart (Jer. 24:7). Put the fear of you in my heart so that I will not turn away from you again (Jer. 32:40). I want to follow your commandments so that my peace will flow again like a river (Is. 48:18).
For the sake of your name and in Jesus name, Amen."