We don’t like do-overs. Once and done; that’s our motto.
However, if we apply that persuasion to God’s protective requirement to turn around and receive everything He’s planned for us; we become pitiful paupers who leave the banquet hungry.
Repent is the word God uses to remind us what keeps us clean before God. It is a life-saver word. It is the way back to God's heart when we realize that our own decisions and perspectives, words and attitudes have taken us away.
But it is not a start-over word. God does not turn us around to start over; God mercifully invites us to start new.
These forty days are designed for us to take time before God and pray our prayers of repentance. Until we come clean before God about our waywardness, we can’t accurately understand what disturbs God about the waywardness in our nation, our world, our family, or anywhere else.
Daniel’s prayer (Daniel 9:4-19) is a convicting model for us. Daniel’s prayer begins with personal confession and he never uses the word “if.” Daniel puts himself in the circle of sinners when he prayed, “We have sinned” and “have not listened.” He didn’t compare sins. He didn’t excuse his own leanings. He simply wanted to come clean before God so that he could cooperate with the heart of God wherever there was godlessness, rebellion, or complacency.
At the end of his prayer, Daniel asks forgiveness for himself and for those who don’t understand their need for God’s mercy. He asks forgiveness not so that he can get what he wants from God. He asks forgiveness so that his life may be a cleared lens to accurately reflect the holiness of God.
These days before Easter are a time to enter the suffering that took Christ to the cross as he poured out his love for people who did not love him or his Father. The door we take to enter is repentance. We don’t sugar coat our own waywardness or rationalize our self-centered perspectives. We pray until sin, wherever we see it in ourselves or others, breaks our heart as it breaks God’s. We stop talking about them and start praying we.
For this week's scriptures and reflection questions, click here.
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