“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Don't Like Confessing My Sins Either!

Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything,

by prayer and petition,

with thanksgiving,

present your requests to God.

And the peace of God,

which transcends all understanding,

will guard your hearts and your minds

in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

In the post Is a Growth Spurt Contagious?, I began a conversation with a dear sister about prayer. She has given me permission to share our dialogue for the benefit of others. I have changed some details to protect her privacy.

I love that she is comfortable enough to share her feelings and questions that often go unsaid. Most would fear what others would think of them, but she is seeking the Lord with a pure child-like heart. And she will be blessed for it.

Dear Sheri

I don't know if you know this but before my husband and I got together I never stepped foot in a church, not once. I was very hesitant at first because -- what did I know about the Lord? I felt I had no right to be in a church, not only because of the things I have done but because I have never worshiped before.

I still struggle every day with knowing what is right. I have a lot to learn. I have not read the whole Bible but I am trying. I have a hard time understanding, my husband helps and I love to read your blogs. I guess I am just a child introduced into the church.

When we left church last Sunday, I asked my husband and step-child how it felt to feel the presence of Jesus. (Let me explain, a lady at church said the Lord convicted her to do something.) My step-child said, "You feel at peace." I believe that because I feel that is what my husband's parents have. I explained to them that I have seen his miracles at our home. I've seen money appear in the bank when we really needed it and didn't have it, I guess I just don't feel the peace. I'm trying to understand how to find that "Peace." (I believe I am getting into a whole other story, lol.)

I have read your A.C.T.S. blog and it was one that had stuck with me because I always thought I was doing it wrong. I have read in the Bible, I believe, not to repeat your needs to the Lord because he already knows what they are. I tend to find myself doing that a lot, once I realize that I get discouraged.

In your post you say...adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. I sin everyday and confession is the one thing I have a hard time doing and I don't know why. Don't get me wrong, I have asked for forgiveness many times and I understand that he died for our sins. I believe I don't deserve forgiveness.

I have daily problems that I ask the Lord to help. I get to the point where I just feel that the Lord doesn't want to help me and that I don't deserve his help because I am flawed. Like I said, I have a lot to learn.

And my response...

Dear sister,

I'm so glad that you feel comfortable enough to talk with me about this.

First and foremost! I don't like confessing my sins either! But by confessing them we are examining ourselves. We're able to ask God for help and perhaps see what is the real root problem. I've heard it said that most of our sins are because we are filling a legitimate need illegitimately. We're also acknowledging that Christ's death and resurrection occurred for a reason. To save us from our sin.

I guess you are right when you say you don't believe that you deserve God's forgiveness. No one does. It's a gift. We just need to receive it. I think we are harder on ourselves. God has offered us grace and life.

Again, your desire for peace has to do with learning more about the Lord. Growing. Now that you long for that peace... you can pray for it. I also think you could be experiencing it and not even realizing it. For example, have you noticed that there are times that you've handled a situation differently than in the past? Not quite as angry. Not quite as fearful. Not quite as nervous.

In regards to repetition of prayer, this always confused me, too. My understanding now of this verse (Matthew 6:7-8) is that God doesn't want us just repeating prayers without thinking about them. Just saying the words and not thinking about them. He calls us to intercede and that means we may be praying years for a lost loved one. We wouldn't just pray once, right? And it is true for the small things, too. (Read Luke 18:1-8 about the Persistent Widow.)

I'm so glad that you were open to the idea of coming to church when you were asked to. It must have been difficult. You are very brave.

I pray that you will find the peace you are seeking. I will be praying for you.

With much prayer and love,

“Should we all confess our sins to one another
we would all laugh at one another
for our lack of originality.” ~ Kahlil Gibran


Sherrie said...

As always, thanks for sharing this. I too, do not like confessing my sins, especially since I am one that feels I never do anything so terribly bad that it does need confession. So lately in my prayers, I make it a point prior to confessing prior to praising him. You see, I find that if you come to the thrown burdened by your transgressions, your praise time and fellowship is kinked..(like your hose story) So, even if it is not completely evident it always a much better prayer and devotion time if you begin with releasing that which binds you up. The prayer I use is simple;
"Father, I come to you this morning, and I ask your forgiveness on anything that was not pleasing or edifying to you." (then usually the Holy Spirit reveals to me the things that I did) We are not all going to do this the same way, but one thing I know for sure is that "My God will meet all my needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.." Philipians 4:19

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the verse and the wonderful comment.

Tammy said...

thank you for this wonderful post. Just what I needed to hear and thanks for stopping to check in on me. I have been busy adjusting to working full time and keeping home and heart in order. Led me to a blog post today.

blessings my friend

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Thanks for being there for your new friend. You are sowing kingdom seed into her heart.

Glad to hear about your starting the Esther journey. I know it will be a blessing to you as it was to me. We began Priscilla Shirer's "one in a million this past Tuesday"; I'm excited about where it's headed.

Have a great weekend. Keep me posted.


elizabeth embracing life said...

What a gift you have given this friend, and to those of us who get to look in. You know that whole "confess your sins one to another" is often skipped right over because I don't think any of us like to share the sin in our lives, but it's a blessing once freed from that which has bound us. Thanks for a terrific post.

Deborah said...

God is using you in such a mighty way, thank you for allowing Him to do that. Prayer seems to confusion a lot of folks. Am I praying enough, saying the right words, in the right order? When we get beyond all the traditions of prayer and just talk to Him, like He's sitting beside you, with His arm around you, saying....tell me about it and let me tell you about it...then, I believe we are praying.

a portland granny said...

Those wonderful verses from Phil. 4 are a great recipe for peace. Thanks for sharing your friend's letter. It could have been written by many of us.

Knowing how to pray is often overwhelming, I find. Some of the things you shared from the book by Bill Hyble (sp?) were really meaningful to me.

Ms.Daisy said...

What a powerful post! Your friend has been led to you for a reason as you have the experience to help her in many ways.
Have a great week!