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Thursday, 17 January 2013

Missing Prayers

   When I started using a prayer journal published by Barbour Publishing, I didn’t notice right away that it was missing something rather important.  It had sections for "new prayer requests," "ongoing prayer requests," answers to prayer" and "praises" but no room for "confessions." 
    When I was growing up, my dad would frequently include the request that God “keep sin far from us.”  But was I really taught that I needed to confess specific sins to God each day?  Not really.  In distancing ourselves from the Roman Catholic practice of confessing to a priest, maybe we Protestants started skipping any kind of confession.
   Well, that was not true of a relatively unknown believer named Samuel Ward, who was born in 1577 and lived in Britain. This man had a tender conscience and recorded his shortcomings in a diary.  While his name may be unfamiliar, he was the youngest member of the team of translators that prepared the King James Version.[1]
    After reading about Samuel Ward and hearing a sermon at a church I was attending only as a visitor, I began a notebook alongside my “prayer journal” for recording my own confessions.  By writing them down, I was forced to think back to ways I had offended God or the people around me.  I searched out what I had done wrong and ways I failed to do good, and brought them before the One who could forgive me.  Whether we record them or not, making confession to our Lord Jesus is an important part of our relationship with him.  When we become so familiar with him that we gloss over our faults in our push to have our requests granted, we will find a coldness settling into our spiritual lives.

[1] See July 19 devotion in On This Day in Christian History by Robert J. Morgan, 1997.

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