Fervent Prayer: Repentance
"As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter."
2 Corinthians 7:9-11
The practice of repentance is a central discipline of the Christian life. One of the most consistent messages of Jesus Christ throughout His ministry was to call people to repentance. (Matthew 4:17). In fact, imploring people to “repent or perish” (Luke 13). As followers of Christ this isn’t an odd call because to come to our salvation one of our first acts of faith was to repent, but so often we do not make the act of repentance a consistent discipline of our Christian walk, which is a pity. In the same way greater victory is discovered in repentance at that moment when we come to Christ, victory can be found in the practice of daily examination and repentance.
Interestingly, Jonathan Edwards, who was the catalyst of the Great Awakening in the United States, established a list of seventy resolutions that aided his spiritual discipline. In resolution 37, he "Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year." Undoubtedly this consistent practice of self examination and repentance was a key to his spiritual growth.
During this week of prayer I would encourage you to pray prayers of repentance. There is no better example than David’s prayer in Psalm 51:
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Psalms 51:1-7