Prayers of Confession and Repentance

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught his followers to pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”  This is one prayer Jesus never had to ask for himself.  As the sinless Savior, Jesus never had to repent or confess sin.  On the other hand, we are fallen people desperately in need of grace and mercy, which is offered to us by the cross of Jesus.  Yet, on our end, the response to mercy is to repent of sin.  Repentance is much more than saying “I’m sorry” like a three year old who gets caught with their mouth filled with cookies they were told not to eat.  Repentance begins with a deep awareness of sin and godly sorrow over our own broknenness.  It includes pleas for mercy and forgiveness, and a turning from sin and self-salvation to Christ as the only Savior and only solution.  The Bible contains some magnificent models of prayers given by people who are seeking God’s mercy, grace, restoration, and forgiveness.  These ought to be in our prayer vocabulary, to be used often as we seek the same.

  • Psalm 51 – This, I believe, is the best prayer of confession and repentance in the Bible.  David had sinned by committing adultery with a woman named Bathsheba and then killing her husband in an attempt to cover it up.  God used a prophet named Nathan to expose his sin.  David’s response was deep sorrow and this Psalm as a cry of confession and repentance.
  • Psalm 32 – Another great confessional prayer from the pen of David.
  • Daniel 9:4-19 – The prophet Daniel prays a prayer of confession for the sins of the nation.
  • Isaiah 6:5 – the prophet Isaiah sees a vision of Jesus seated on the throne, and confesses his sin and depravity
  • Ezra 9:5-15 – Ezra confesses the sin of the Hebrew people and acknowledges her great need for God.

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