Purpose of this Session
Relational prayers are all kinds of prayer are all interested in sustaining an intimate and vital relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Their primary purpose is intimately bound, not with the granting of a request, but with obtaining the active involvement of God in our lives.
As we discovered in Module 2, repentance is a foundational doctrine upon which a proper understanding and lifestyle are built. The prayer of confession and repentance is the first true prayer than any Christian must pray. It is the form of prayer that delivers us from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God.
“So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:19 AMP)
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom 10:9-10 NKJV)
As the human heart hears and grasps the amazing implications of the gospel message, repentance is granted as a gift of God’s goodness. (John 6:44; Romans 2:4).
When a person responds to this drawing, confession is made unto salvation. That confession is a commitment to change our mind and purpose, and wholeheartedly forsake anything that prevents us from uncompromisingly following the will of God.
The prayer of confession is then used throughout the Christian’s life to maintain a soft, uncalloused heart and a clean conscience before God.
John speaks of this kind of prayer in 1 John 1:9:
“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].” (1John 1:9 AMP)
Our own conscience and knowledge of the Word will lead us at times to feel ‘convicted’ by certain attitudes of heart, or actions we have undertaken. These can range from outright disobedience to the known will of God to subtle attitudes of heart which grieve the Holy Spirit:
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).” (Eph 4:30 AMP)
These things should be dealt with according to the principles of the prayer of confession. We are not here confessing that we are sinners, we are already born again and have a new nature. Rather we are confessing that we are saints, men and women of God’s nature, who have transgressed the law of our new heart and acted contrary to the One who now lives within us.
Sin always distances us from the presence of God:
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
(Isaiah 59:2 KJV)
Through the prayer of confession these sins are removed and we are restored to right standing with the Father (Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 44:22)
Jesus Himself encourages us to include this kind of prayer in our lifestyle of prayer, seeking God’s forgiveness and forgiving others. In fact He coupled our willingness live a life of forgiveness on every level with our ability to walk with God and see results from our prayers:
“and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
(Matt 6:12,14-15 NLT)
If we keep our hearts pure before God in this way, using the prayer of confession and repentance, the results and benefits for our lives are priceless:
“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation…”
(2 Cor 7:10)
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Heb 12:11 NKJV)
Holiness through the blood of Christ is an essential pre-requisite for fellowship with God (Hebrews 12:14). As such this kind of prayer should be regularly exercised knowing that it keeps the spirit and soul undefiled and prepared for every good work.
NOTE: The prayer of confession’ differs from ‘confession of the Word’, which is another principle revealed in scripture and which is used on a daily basis, especially in relation to the prayer of faith and the lifestyle of faith. We have touched upon this vital area in session Module 4: Operating In The Spiritual Realm, and we will be considering it in greater detail in Module 7, “Principles For Walking With God’.