Reflections On Confessional Prayer

King Solomon was a successful academic, judge, designer, entrepreneur.

The source of his success was not in doubt. Natural talent, wit, shrewd mind and creative talent aside, God himself had directly spoken wisdom, health and riches over this human life, a life which would make history within the pages of Holy Scripture, a life which twenty first century folk would read about with incredulity. All that gold, so much power and influence, grand designs, great art, elegant living.

Then, later in life Solomon disobeys the God who has brought him all this success, and allows his many wives to lead him to honour other gods. So, God removes the blessings he has lavished on Solomon as consistently as He has said He would, and we witness the rise and fall of this legendary character at the hand of a sovereign Deity.

There is something so modern about the setting of this story, and yet the plot is so ‘primitive’ to our ‘enlightened’ minds. We  (Christian folk) pray and sing about a God who ‘gives and takes away’, but for the majority of the time, we just get on with the business of self improvement, hard work, and using our “God given’ talents to make our way through life as best , and as happily as we possibly can.

I’m sure not many of us set out to ‘do it ourselves’, and Solomon probably did not either. The transition from dependence on God to self sufficiency is often an insidious, slow process. One where we don’t stop believing that God is sovereign, but that somehow doing things our way just makes more sense at this moment, in this circumstance, or for this period of our lives.

As humans, our ability to mentally hold that that image and belief of a sovereign God is fickle indeed. Our physical worlds are demanding, all -absorbing, even overwhelming.

I believe that the only way to live in the shadow of the sovereignty of God is to pray…regularly, daily at least.

I’m thinking of the ‘lost art’ of confessional prayer.

Most of us are comfortable with petitioning prayers. The list of things I ask God to do for others or myself never seems to reduce in size. But adoration and confession are integral, often forgotten, elements of daily prayer.

Confession brings me to my knees before God.

Confession opens my heart to God’s love and correction

Confession brings me to worship a Saviour who saves me from sin, from myself, from destructive ways

Confession frames my petitioning prayer, in God’s purposes.

Confession keeps my mind fixed on the sovereignty of God.

So. for the foreseeable future, I’m going to begin my prayers with this:

O Lord, correct me, but with judgement; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. Jeremiah 10.24; Psalm 6.1

I’m going to try to keep it real…not just a list of sins I think I may have committed…just in case, or general sweeping statements such as forgive me for “not living my life as I ought” but instead focusing on the real issues God lays on my heart, that need to change in me.

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