“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.” – Psalm 51:1-3 (kjv)
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” – James 5:16 (kjv)
The day I gave my life to Jesus was my biggest confession day. Even though I was just a little boy, I had many confessions to make. I confessed to God my evil thoughts, bad actions, wrong choices and many other things boys my age did. It was a thorough exercise as I didn’t want to leave anything unconfessed.
Today, many believers consider it strange to make confessions. They feel that they should confess only when they come to receive Christ for the first time. They think that once the first confession is made, there is no need for any confession in the future. The Bible teaches us that confession is part of the Christian life.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. – Matthew 6:12 (kjv)
Sinners confess their sins and begin a new relationship with God (Romans 10:10,13). Believers confess their faults or mistakes to maintain their relationship with God (James 5:16). The difference is clear. Just as two best friends may offend each other, we too may go against the word of God (Amos 3:3). Sometimes, we may allow the fear of men to make us lie or keep silent when we are supposed to speak the truth. When things like these happen, we tell God that we are sorry for disappointing Him (Romans 2:23-24). We also ask for the grace to overcome that part of our lives.
What is Confession Prayer?
Confession happens when you accept that you sinned against God through your thoughts words and actions. Confession comes immediately after the feeling of guilt or remorse for the wrong you have done. When you confess your sins or mistakes to God, you are being honest and sincere in your relationship with Him. You know that God sees all things and knows what you have done. By confessing your wrongdoings, you are mentioning the exact things God knows you did. This is a sincere way to show how sorry you are. None of us can hide our thoughts from God, let alone our actions. God sees what is going on in our daily lives.
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. – Psalm 139:7-11 (kjv)
Why Saints and Sinners Need Confessions
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. – 1 John 1:8-10 KJV
Many Christians have argued that the blood of Jesus took care of our sins. Therefore, believers don’t have to confess sins any longer. While there is some truth in that, we must understand that we are still in the flesh and live in a world filled with all kinds of strong temptations. We make mistakes because we still are humans.
Sinners have no life of God in them, so they need to confess their sins and accept Jesus Christ. We fully understand why sinners must confess, but people still struggle with that of believers. Christians need to confess to God in order to keep the relationship strong and unbroken. Paul the Apostle told us that even though we are saved by grace, we should not continue in sin. Grace is not a license to sin (Romans 6:1). He also explained that going back to the sins we left behind is like rebuilding what we previously demolished (Galatians 2:18). The most serious reason for which believers must make confessions when necessary is that our wrongdoings cause pain to Christ (Hebrews 6:6).
Steps to Confession
A thorough confession has 4 important parts every confessor needs to follow.
1. Acknowledgement of Sin
Everyone knows what they have done. If it is wrong, they know. If it is good, they know. Acknowledging what you did is a sign of sincerity. You have to indicate that you know the kind of sin you committed, and that you committed it, not someone else. You also show God how sorry you are for making Him unhappy with your misdeeds.
2. Confession of Sin
Even though God sees and knows all things, you have to tell Him what you did. This is no time for making excuses or blaming someone or something else for your mistakes. Accept your wrongs and tell God exactly what you did, without trying to play smart.
3. Repentance of Sin
Turn away from the sin or mistakes you made. Decide to move away from it without any secret desire or love for it. Shun it and begin to change your mind toward it. Remove your thoughts from it and take it off your heart, no matter how good it feels to do those wrongs.
4. Determination Not to Repeat Sin
Make up your mind to stay away from that sin or mistake. Decide that since what you did was wrong, you will never go back to it. Choose to do something better than what you did next time.
Sinners Who Made Confessions
The Bible contains examples of people who had no relationship with God but who made their ways right through confessions. There are also others who had left the way of righteousness and chose to return to their Creator through repentance. Here are some of them.
The Tax Collector
“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” – Luke 18:13 (kjv)
“And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” – 2 Samuel 12:13 (klv)
“And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord.” – 1 Samuel 15:24-25 (kjv)
Saints Who Made Confessions
Confessions are not only for sinners and those who want to return to God. Saints also confess their sins in prayer. Here are a few examples:
Nehemiah’s Prayer of Confession
“And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.” – Nehemiah 1:5-6 (kjv)
Daniel’s Prayer of Confession
“And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.” – Daniel 9:4-6 (kjv)
Simple Confession Prayer
For the Sinner
Father, I come to you knowing that I am a sinner who doesn’t deserve the least of your mercies. I have lived my life to please myself and had no regard for you. I did and said things I liked and did not care who it hurt. All my life had been given to the sins of the mind and body. I confess these sins to you because I am truly sorry for going against your commandments for many years. Lord, forgive me and change my life. Make me a new creature in Christ. Wash away all the sinful desires and thoughts. Fill me with your Spirit to help me live a life that pleases you. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
For the Prodigal Believer
Father, I am not worthy to be called your child anymore. I knew you loved me and cared for me. But I allowed my personal desires to lead me away from my Savior. Since I left your presence, I have had no true joy, peace or prosperity. Forgive me my sins and receive me once again. Make me a child who will never leave you ever again. Give me the inner peace and faith to abide in you always. Thank you, Dear Father, for accepting me. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
For the Believer
Our Father in heaven, I come to you in repentance, knowing that I cannot hide anything from you. You see my thoughts and watch over everything I do. I am sorry for disappointing you in ______. I know that I should have known better. Forgive me this sin and help me not to give in to pressure next time. Thank you, Father, for cleansing me. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9 (kjv).