The Lenten Season (February 22 to April 7) is a time of repentance, self-examination, fasting and prayer in preparation for Resurrection Sunday (Easter). “Renewing our sense of who we really are before God is the core of the Lenten experience”. (Pastor Orville K.Littlejohn, my Pastor, “Our Focus for Ash Wednesday”). So today seek God with a repentant heart (See Joel 2: 12-24) and let us honestly search our hearts (Psalm 139:23-24). Here is an example of a prayer of repentance to help you get started in initating self-examination , prayer and a spirit of repentance. Then we will examine what is repentance and why it is important to our prayer lives and our relationship with God.
A Prayer of Repentance
Lord, I come humbly before You and ask you to cleanse my heart of my every sin. “Have mercy on me O, Lord according to your loving kindness and blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly of my iniquity and cleanse me of all of my sin. (Psalm 51:1-2) Lord create in me a clean heart. Please Lord renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10-11). Forgive me for thoughts I have had, words I have spoken and things that I have done that are not pleasing in your sight and do not glorify you. Father, forgive me I pray for my sins of_______(state them)________________________. I confess it is a sin and truly repent of these acts, words and thoughts. ( 1 John 1:9; Psalm 32:5 Proverbs 28:13, Psalm 51:6, 10). Lord search the inwards hidden places of my heart and reveal my sin to me that I may not see. (Psalm 139: 23-24). I seek to repent of everything that You show me Lord. I confess my sins to you in the full realization that you are faithful and just to forgive me of all my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.( 1John 1:9) I know that my sins are against You and You only. Grant me a broken, willing spirit and a contrite heart so I can offer it to You (Psalm 51:1-4, Psalm. 51:12, Psalm 51:17).
Thank you Father. I desire to obey your commandments and statutes. I choose to stop my sinful ways and to turn to walk upright. Help me, Lord God to bring forth fruits that are worthy of repentance (Luke 3:8). Lord I want to live a righteous, pure and holy life through your power (Colossians 1:11). I am determined to walk in the Spirit and in your ways and walk away from my sins by the power of the Holy Ghost. Grant me a godly sorrow that is not just full of regret because of the consequences of sin but sorrow that leads to true repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). Lord give me a tender heart that is sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit and the conviction of sin. Holy Spirit, thank You for convicting me of my sin. Forgive me for the ways I’ve ignored Your voice and quenched and grieved You. (John 16:8; Ephesians. 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Romans. 8:1-2). Lord I praise you, Father, for your goodness that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). Lord thank you for restoring my soul so that the times of refreshing my come (Acts 3:19). Amen.
It is important to note that a repentant heart is not limited to a special season or time of the year. If we want to have effective prayer lives which bring forth life transformation and healing of the land, repentance must become a part of our lifestyle. Despite the benefits of repentance, we are resistant to the thought of repentance. Repentance isn’t a popular word. Our culture encourages us to do whatever we want when we want. TV, music videos and movies very rarely show the consequences of our sins.
It is one thing to know that you have done something that is wrong . But it is another to be saddened and sorrowful about your actions and determine that you will turn away from that sin and never do the act again. To repent “I” or “we” must come to terms with and acknowledge that we have sinned and then turn away from such sinful behavior and be reconciled back to our loving Lord. Therefore, repentance is a change of mind that involves both a turning from sin and turning to God. Christ began his ministry with a call to repentance. (Mathew. 4:17). We must examine every attitude, every motive, every action and ever word of evil. Repentance means that you are deeply godly sorrowful and hurt about what you have done unto the Lord and that you are determined to do all that you can not to commit that sin again. “Repentance means we are sorry about our sin to the point of grief, and we have turned and walked away from it”. Stormie Omartian, “The Power of a Praying Woman” p. 40, Harvest House Publishers,(2002).
Charles Spurgeon writes:
Repentance is a discovery of the evil of sin, a mourning that we have committed it, a resolution to forsake it. It is, in fact, a change of mind of a very deep and practical character, which makes the man love what once he hated, and hate what once he loved.
J. I. Packer writes:
Repentance means turning from as much as you know of your sin to give as much as you know of yourself to as much as you know of your God, and as our knowledge grows at these three points so our practice of repentance has to be enlarged.
Before we can truly repent we must admit our sins and tell them to God. Confession means we recognize we have done wrong and admit it. We cannot hide from God no matter how we try. God knows what “I” have done and wants “me and you” to know and admit in detail what “I” have done. Dick Eastman, in “The Hour That Changes the World”, says, “Confession is a heartfelt recognition of what we are. It is important to God because it indicates that we take seriously our mistakes and failures. Of course, God does not ask us to confess our sins because He needs to know we have sinned, but because He knows that we need to know we have sinned”. Dick Eastman, “The Hour That Changes the World”,p.42 , Baker Book House, (1999). If we do not confess our sins one consequence is that our prayer life will suffer as God will not hear our prayers if we have iniquity in our hearts (Psalm 66:18).
God offers many wonderful results of repentance, including healing, restoring, freedom, joy and reconciliation. In Acts 3:19 the call to repentance invites you to “repent, then turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord”.
1. During the Lenten season I want to encourage you to join this or a 40 day Prayer Journey even if you are beginning at day 7 or whatever day. Just begin where you are. Determine to spend quality time with the Lover(God) of your soul every day. Decide to start out with half an hour and increase it slowly. Be diligent and be faithful. We can never grow or develop an intimate relationship with God unless we spend quality time with Him.
2. Confess any sin you may be guilty of against man and God. Ask God to search you and reveal any unconfessed sin.
3. Say or write a prayer of repentance out of your heart. Above is an example of a prayer of repentance. Your prayer need not be perfect, but sincere, sorrowful and heartfelt.
4. Have a journal. God has so much to speak into your life. It may not happen overnight if you haven’t been praying on a consistent basis. But remember He is right there. Don’t give up.
5. Leave a prayer request.
6. Listen to a corporate Prayer of Repentance and other prayers by Evangelist Rita Green and Missionary Minetta Hare on blogtalk radio “The New Voice”.”A Time to Pray” Click on http://tobtr.com/s/2822019 .
Linda Fegins, “The Prayer Leader” has served as Prayer Coordinator for over 13 years( later Director over the Prayer Minstry) for the Lydia Circle Christian Buisness and Professional Women. As part of the Lydia Circle she has lead over 8 prayer boot camps, and has lead prayer services and workshops in the Bahamas and in South Africa and was on the prayer team of two medical missions trips to Jamaica. She is also a member of the National Church Prayer Leaders Network and serves as the Prayer Leader of the Intercessory Prayer Team Ministry at her church.