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The (Often) Missing Element in Prayer

Today’s reading: Nehemiah 7:73-10:39

My selection: Nehemiah 9:1-2

Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads. 2 And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.

My reflections: Here is a notable example of God’s people confessing their sins corporately in worship before the Lord. Notice that they do not merely gloss over their sins but go into thorough detail about their own sins and the sins of their nation down through the years.

There is a well-known acrostic for prayer: A-C-T-S. It stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Yet as popular and widely known as this acrostic is, I wonder if there is a not a lack of serious confession of sin by believers today.

In public and private prayer, confession should not be hurried or minimized but neither should specific requests for forgiveness and assurances of forgiveness based on the Word of God.

Old Testament believers knew that they needed to confess their sins and that their forgiveness depended on the Messiah who was still to come. How much better is our hope, no longer based on a future atonement but on the offering of Jesus Christ for the sins of His people.

My challenge: Be sure to take regular time to confess sin, ask forgiveness and be reminded that “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” Ephesians 1:7.

It gives God joy to forgive you for Christ’s sake, fellow Christian, so may the joy of the Lord be your strength.

Tomorrow’s reading: Nehemiah 11:1-12:47

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