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Prayer lesson 3: When you pray confess sins to God.

Rev. Enoch Thompson | October 20, 2023 | Nehemiah 1:1-7


...I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. Nehemiah 1:6-7 (NIV)


It tends to be natural and normal for humans to shy away from admitting wrongdoing, owning our wrong behaviour, confessing our sins and where possible making restitution. It was the inability of Adam and Eve to accept the fact of their sinful choice in the Garden of Eden and to seek the forgiveness of a gracious God that landed all of us where we find ourselves today but for the intervention of God at Calvary.

The third lesson we learn from Nehemiah’s initial prayer is that when we stand before the holy King and bring our prayers to Him, we must be real enough and true to admit our sins, call them sins, own them, and ask for God to forgive us. Sin is anything that offends the holiness of God and makes us fall short of His standard expected of us.

To confess is to say the same thing God is saying about our thoughts, attitudes, words, actions, and inactions, that they are contrary to His expectations of us. We may call fun, pleasure, freedom, a modern mindset, or an alternative lifestyle that which God calls sin. Nehemiah prayed, “I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father's house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.” Nehemiah 1:6-7(NIV). He identified corporate sin, that Israel had sinned. He included himself in the sinfulness of his people. The self-inclusion in the confession gave it a genuine touch, a true identification with his people. He acknowledged that the sins he was confessing were done against God, for ultimately when we sin against our fellow humans we sin against God. Our sin is often a clear violation of the instructions written down for us in the Bible and often the teaching of godly leaders in the Church.


Do you want the holy all-powerful God to stand up for you and answer your prayers? Then learn to acknowledge sin, own up to your sins, confess and turn from your sins. There is a spiritual principle, in Prov 28:13 “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” NIV. Let’s keep a short account with God by a quick confession whenever we are prompted by the Holy Spirit of anything that is sinful.


Holy Father in glory I worship you for who you are, unblemished by any shadow or stain, and in a class of purity of your own. I confess my sins and those of the people among whom I live. I confess that your saintly Church lives sinfully and falls below your expectations.

Please make me sensitive to sin and give me a spirit that repulses sin and confesses truly and quickly. For Jesus’ dear Name’s sake, Amen.


SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!! ___ DAILY word study: CONFESS The Word confess is translated in Hebrew as"וּֽמִתְוַדֵּ֖ה" (Umitvadeh - Confessing): The Hebrew term "וּֽמִתְוַדֵּ֖ה" (Umitvadeh) is derived from the root "יָדָה" (Yadah), which means "to confess" or "to acknowledge." It implies an open admission or acknowledgement of one's sins.

In different sections of the Bible, it is employed to signify:

  • Acknowledgement and Repentance: The act of confession in the Bible involves openly acknowledging one's sins before God. It goes beyond mere acknowledgement to include a genuine sense of remorse and a turning away from those sins (Psalm 32:5, Proverbs 28:13).

  • Corporate Confession: In this context, Nehemiah is confessing not only his personal sins but also the sins of the entire community of Israel. Corporate confession emphasizes a shared responsibility and a collective turning back to God (Leviticus 26:40, Daniel 9:20).

From our exploration of the word today, we can derive the following insights:

  1. Humble Acknowledgment: Confession involves humility, acknowledging our shortcomings and sins before a holy God. It is an essential step in the process of repentance.

  2. Corporate Responsibility: Nehemiah's inclusion of the sins of the Israelites underscores the concept of collective responsibility. It prompts reflection on our interconnectedness and the impact of individual actions on the community.

  3. Repentance and Turning Back: Confession is not a mere verbal acknowledgement; it implies a genuine desire to turn away from sin and return to a right relationship with God. It is an integral part of the process of repentance.


How does the concept of confession impact your understanding of repentance, both on an individual level and as part of a larger community?

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