II Chron. 7:14 - "If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land."
Some weeks ago at a spiritual renewal weekend we heard the following prayer of confession, a prayer which continues to guide my thinking and quicken my conscience. It is a prayer offered in response to God's call to us in 2 Chronicles 7:14 to "seek my face and turn from your wicked ways.."
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Lord, we thank you for inviting us -- for urging us -- to "seek your face." We earnestly desire to respond to this call with whole-hearted obedience.
We recognize, Lord, that you are HOLY, and we are sinful. We cannot seek your face and at the same time cling to our sins. We come renouncing our sins, our disobedience, our rebellion.
We confess we have failed to keep the Two Great Commandments:
We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbor as ourselves.
"We are truly sorry and we humbly repent"
Because we have chosen ourselves as the center of our lives instead of you, our lives have fallen into decay and bondage, distractions and addictions.
Many times we have heard your Voice whisper to us, "No... Don't... Stop... Turn away -- and we have gone ahead anyway. We earnestly repent. We thank you for your Voice speaking to us. We know your Way is the way to our good and your glory. We repent of our willfulness.
Far too often and far too much, we have been living scandalously self-indulgent lives. Duties have been neglected. Marriage vows have been broken. Children have been neglected. We have given in to the desires and impulses of the flesh. We know little of self-control, of self-discipline. We hear the Apostle Paul speak of those "whose god is their belly." We repent of our self-indulgence.
Our feet have taken us where they ought not to have gone. Our eyes have looked upon that which they ought not to have looked upon. We have soiled our mind and our imaginations. We have entertained ourselves by means of the flesh and deprived ourselves of the good, the true and the beautiful -- those objects of meditation and thought that could have nourished our moral imagination and built us up in the Spirit.
Our tongues have spoken that which they ought not to have spoken. We have not consistently adhered to strict truthfulness. We have uttered half-truths and lies, slandered others, insulted others, gossiped, even borne false witness. Our word has not been our bond. We have broken trust. Oh Lord, we repent and we renounce these various abominations of the tongue.
The sins of the spirit have been rampant within us. We have envied, we have nurtured jealousy, we have raged with anger. We have thought ourselves superior. We have inflated ideas of our own importance. We have taken others for granted. We have withheld sympathy. We have failed to show compassion. Oh Lord, we repent and renounce all these attitudes and behaviors. We seek your cleansing.
We live in a rebellious world that speaks ill of You. Too often we have been silent, we have not stood for truth. We have taken on the color and hew of the world, seeking to blend in and not stand out. We have failed to be salt and light in an ever-darkening world. We want all that to change. We repent of our failure to bear witness to what we know is true.
Father, we come humbly, penitently, and with a heart desiring to truly "seek your face." We turn from our self-centeredness, our rebellion, and our sins that we might be made new, cleansed and forgiven.
We make this prayer of confession in the name of Jesus Christ our crucified and risen Savior and Lord, asking for your divine forgiveness.